Visa has announced a new payments system, called mVisa, that essentially enables peer-to-peer transactions between merchants and customers.
The system is based primarily on QR codes. When making a purchase with mVisa, a consumer uses a smartphone to scan a QR code, which triggers a transfer from the consumer’s bank account to the merchant. It also works with feature phones, letting consumers enter numerical codes instead of scanning QR codes.
Visa says the system functions regardless of the customer and merchant’s respective banks, and that it operates independent of their MNO services. It also complies with EMVCo’s newly published QR Code Payment Specifications.
The mVisa platform could thus prove highly appealing to merchants looking for a cheap and easy means of enabling mobile payments for their customers. Visa says that support for the platform is already widespread in India, Kenya, and Nigeria, and that it is now working to extend the service in 12 additional countries including Cambodia, Egypt, Ghana, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Rwanda, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda and Vietnam. Meanwhile, rival Mastercard has also been exploring a mobile, merchant-customer P2P solution, suggesting that this could become a burgeoning new front in the mPayment wars around the world.