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U.S. Bank To Test Visa payWave Contactless Payments

Bank will issue contactless payment microSD chips that fit into smartphone devices and allow mobile payments.

Minneapolis-based U.S. Bank ($291 billion in assets) and Visa are partnering with DeviceFidelity, FIS and Monitise to provide mobile payments to consumers. U.S. Bank customers will be able to make payments by waving their phone in front of a Visa payWave contactless payment terminal. U.S. Bank is one of the first major card issuers in the U.S. to pilot this technology; employees in multiple states will begin testing this month. (Bank of America has begun testing this contactless mobile payment technology with Visa in New York City.) Plans are underway to introduce it to select customers next year.

"Our customers have told us that they want to mobilize their accounts with us -- they want to make payments with their mobile device and this is a natural extension of our existing banking relationship," said Dominic Venturo, chief innovation officer for U.S. Bank retail payment solutions, in a statement. "As their trusted financial services provider, we're already offering convenient mobile account access. Now we're adding contactless payment capabilities to their existing mobile device."

Issued by U.S. Bank, a DeviceFidelity In2Pay microSD is inserted in the customer's mobile phone or within a specially-designed iPhone case (In2Pay iCaisse). Visa and DeviceFidelity recently introduced the patent-pending In2Pay microSD based mobile contactless technology and the associated In2Pay iCaisse solution. FIS and Monitise developed the application that enables customers to make mobile purchases and access account information as part of the U.S. Bank pilot.

The solution conforms to the industry standard for memory cards, microSD, and fits into the memory card slot found in many existing mobile devices. U.S. Bank will be testing with several market leading mobile brands. This mobile payment solution is password protected and uses security technology to uniquely identify each contactless transaction. As is true with a lost or stolen card, the chip can be immediately disabled by the bank as needed.

"Consumers worldwide are embracing mobile as a convenient way to engage with and manage their daily financial lives. The ability to link an existing payment account to a mobile phone is transforming how consumers pay and how merchants get paid," said Bill Gajda, head of mobile innovation at Visa. "The solution developed in collaboration with DeviceFidelity will do just that and has the potential to accelerate the adoption of mobile payments in the U.S."

"U.S. Bank is leading the way through the early adoption of contactless microSD solutions, and we are excited to be part of their efforts to bring mobile payments to the U.S.," said Amitaabh Malhotra, chief operating officer at DeviceFidelity. "With the In2Pay solution, we aim to bring the speed, interactivity and security of mobile contactless payments to a user's preferred device, and collaborating with such enthusiastic, innovative partners such as U.S. Bank, Visa and Monitise is a huge step towards realizing that goal."

Last month, U.S. Bank launched a mobile banking solution with bill-pay capabilities for prepaid cardholders, which the bank says is the first of its kind in the prepaid marketplace. It was also the first large American bank to test the Visa Money Transfer person-to-person mobile payment service, and has partnered with Visa to give cardholders on-the-go access to account alerts, offers and a locator service with the Visa Mobile application. In addition, U.S. Bank was one of the first banks to test the Visa Micro Tag, an early contactless mobile payment device.

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