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Visa, NeuStar Embark on Mobile Payments Alliance

Perhaps Visa (San Francisco) has found a solution to the mobile payments dilemma of how to allow everyone—including banks—to get a piece of the fee revenue here.

The payments giant entered into an alliance with NeuStar (Sterling, Va.), an interconnection service provider to many of the world's wireless network operators. The companies claim this partnership will combine the reliability, scale and security of Visa's global payment network with NeuStar's carrier grade infrastructure. NeuStar provides interconnection services to global network operators and their partners to enable the delivery of mobile services to consumers worldwide.

According to a Visa spokesperson, this alliance offers an opportunity for all stakeholders to participate, and provides Visa a single point of connection to mobile network operators around the globe. It also directly supports Visa's global strategy to extend its products and services to the mobile channel.

"The alliance benefits stakeholders by enabling new channels through which Visa's financial institution clients can reach their customers when and where they are ready to use mobile financial services," the Visa spokesperson told BS&T. "It also enables delivery of mobile financial services to consumers in geographies with low penetration of payment products and financial services and will improve time to market for mobile financial services by providing standardized and scalable infrastructure along with best practices for mobile money applications."

NeuStar serves as a neutral intermediary to facilitate the transfer of data between mobile operators and other collaborating parties in the delivery of mobile services to consumers. NeuStar will add value by providing a single point of contact for all services, simplifying the task for mobile operators and their partners to connect and offer new services to their subscribers.

NeuStar also operates the GSMA's PathFinder service, which provides a common global addressing and service discovery mechanism for traditional communication services, and is extensible to emerging services such as mobile money transfer. PathFinder also provides a key enabling foundation for the collaboration between operators and their chosen trading partners, including other operators and financial services providers, such as Visa.

The collaboration will also enable the transfer of money to mobile accounts using the Visa network. The companies also say the combination of Visa and NeuStar technology may also make it possible for operators to provide pertinent data regarding handset capabilities. Visa could then detect phone make, model, screen size, browser type, and multimedia capabilities to intelligently tailor the user experience for that handset.

According to Visa, its mobile strategy supports an array of payment options. "This offers merchants, mobile operators and Visa-issuing banks the opportunity to choose the solutions that can be tailored to meet the needs of regions and their businesses," the spokesperson comments.

"Visa is collaborating with mobile operators, handset manufacturers, software developers, financial institutions and merchants to develop, test and launch commercially viable Mobile Payments, Mobile Money Transfer, Mobile Alerts and Mobile Marketing Offers," the spokesperson explained. "Commercialization of these services will vary by market, depending on the existing infrastructure for financial services and wireless telecommunications, as well as consumer demand. In the United States we have already commercialized Visa Mobile, a suite of value-added services, providing consumers access to transaction alerts and mobile offers that enhance the consumer payment experience when using their existing Visa accounts."

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