Visa Names Its New PayPal-Like Digital Wallet Service “V.me”
The brand that consumers will see when Visa’s digital wallet launches early next year won’t be the Visa logo.
The payments company will be using the name V.me to differentiate it from its more well-known services found at thousands of retail locations around the world.
Consumers will be able to fund the digital wallet using a variety of sources — a Visa, MasterCard or bank account.
It will be used to check out online using a user name and password, rather than having to key in the 16-digit number each time. The idea is similar to eBay’s PayPal, and to services by Amazon as well as e-wallet services being developed by American Express.
It will also be useful for checking out while shopping from a browser or application on a mobile phone or tablet. Later next year, Visa plans to roll out mobile payments to the register, where consumers will be able to tap and pay using near field technology.
The digital wallet is in a closed beta today but will be coming out in early 2012, after the holidays.
Jennifer Schulz, Visa’s head of product, strategy and innovation, said the wallet is intended to be open and funded through sources outside of Visa, and therefore “we wanted [the brand] to evoke Visa, and link to it, but without saying Visa.”
To accelerate the adoption of Visa’s payments services, including V.me, Schulz said Visa is unveiling a new developer program that will give anyone, including retailers, merchants and start-ups, access to its payments services.
The tools give mobile developers easier ways to accept payments on the phone, and help game developers that want to sell low-priced digital goods. There are also tools for big-box retailers.
American Express is also trying to woo developers, but rather than focusing on opening up its platform to developers, it has created a $100 million fund to invest in digital commerce opportunities.
Visa’s developer center brings its subsidiaries — including Authorize.Net, CyberSource, Fundamo and PlaySpan — together under one roof.
“We are announcing the Visa Developer Center, which is our platform for engaging developers globally with our Visa payment solutions,” Schulz said. “It provides us with a platform for engaging an important set of constituents.”