Visa to bring wireless payments to Apple iPhone users starting this summer

invisibleSHIELD case for iPadVisa Inc. and DeviceFidelity, Inc. are working to allow Apple iPhone users to make payments by simply waving their iPhone in front of a contactless payment terminal. The new technology, developed by DeviceFidelity and certified by Apple, combines a protective iPhone case with a secure memory card that hosts Visa’s contactless payment application, called Visa payWave. The technology will work for both iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3G devices.

iPhone users will be able to make Visa mobile payments in retail stores, at fast food restaurants, in taxis, during sporting events (such as at baseball games), and also make purchases at vending machines that have contactless payment terminals. Thousands of merchants throughout the U.S. have already upgraded their payment terminals to allow consumers to make Visa mobile payments. The technology will also work with a majority of smart phones that have a slot for a memory card. By simply inserting the card into the memory slot on their phone, mobile users can transform their existing mobile phones into a Visa payment device. Visa has already rolled out a similar technology in Malaysia and Japan, where consumers can make mobile payments in stores and restaurants.

The mobile payment application can be password protected and utilizes advanced security technology to uniquely identify each contactless transaction.. In addition, all Visa mobile payments are backed by Visa’s global processing network and analyzed for potential fraud in real-time. If a mobile device is lost or stolen, account holders should contact their issuer, as they would if their card was lost or stolen. The issuer can immediately deactivate the account. Market trials of the payment-enabled iPhone are scheduled to start this summer.

Source: Visa and DeviceFidelity

MacDailyNews Take: The quote below grows ever eerier:

This device, able to be made today with current technology, would easily be “The Device.” Running Mac OS X or a mobile variant, it would allow the user to communicate via text, audio, and video. It would snap digital photos and organize them, do email, and browse the web. It would sync automatically with your desktop or portable Mac…. It would absorb the iPod by playing AAC / MP3 audio and interface with iTunes, but it would also play feature-length MPEG-4 movies, too, in full color… McDonald’s Drive Thru’s would accept payments via Bluetooth from “The Device.” And, of course, it would have the basics like any PDA; your date book, to do list, calculator, etc. I figure a form factor about the size or a Newton or a bit smaller would do the trick. This would be “The Device.” iDevice?? And only Apple, in concert with a partner like Verizon, Cingular, or Sprint, has everything in place to make “The Device” a reality today. I wonder if they are close, yet, or still far away from fruition? I really hope they are building it. Everything seems to point to it or am I just wishing too hard? I’ll tell you one thing, if Apple can produce it, they’ll really change everything this time, and they’ll never be able to make enough. Nearly everyone would have an Apple device in their pocket…SteveJack, MacDailyNews, December 10, 2002

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dirty Pierre le Punk” for the heads up.]


  1. I don’t mind the concept, but the implementation sounds like a deal-breaker, as this relies on a chip inside a special case for your iPhone. How lame is that?

  2. Now I just need a digital copy of my driver’s license on my iPhone and I don’t need to carry around a stupid wallet. I can’t wait to dump my wallet, just have my tricorder – I mean iPhone – with me.

  3. For the SteveJack dream to come true, Apple needs to expand to all major carriers. They are tied to AT&T;and I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve heard “I would get an iPhone if it was on Verizon/T-Mobile/Sprint.” Differences in technology between the major carriers or the lame talk and data at the same time argument. If Apple wants this device to explode even more than it has, get it out there!

  4. As with cptnkirk, I really hope the existence of this case doesn’t rule out an rfid (that’s what it is isn’t it?) chip in the next iphone – because I’m not putting any stupid case on it.

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