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    Several New Developments Advance Mobile Wallets

    Three announcements made in less than 24 hours could forever change the payments landscape.

    BARCELONA, Spain -- The past two days are certain to be important when looking back at the history of mobile wallets and Near Field Communication (NFC) acceptance.

    The Mobile World Congress, taking place in Spain's second-largest city, has been the forum for several developments around the advancement of mobile payments. The first came from Visa Inc., which announced a new service intended to provide financial institutions and mobile network operators with a "one-stop solution" to securely download payment account information to smartphones enabled with NFC.

    The unnamed Visa solution -- a collaboration with Oberthur Technologies -- can link Visa payment accounts to smartphones while offering a method to manage those accounts post activation.

    "In the same way we have enabled the secure provisioning of payment cards for decades, we are now using mobile technology to securely provision mobile payment accounts over the air," said Bill Gajda, head of mobile products, Visa. "Financial institutions, mobile network operators and even transit operators now have a simple, secure process to activate payment applications at scale and make mobile payments part of everyday life for consumers around the world."

    At the same event, VeriFone Systems Inc. announced the launch of its PAYMEDIA Universal Acceptance Platform (UAP), a suite of services and software designed to allow mobile network operators (MNO) to manage mobile wallet acceptance at merchants. According to VeriFone, the PAYMEDIA UAP can deliver the benefits of advanced mobile payments, promotions and couponing applications to millions of consumers and merchants worldwide.

    "The missing element in MNO's mobile wallet plans has been the lack of focus on how to provision, integrate and manage wallet and value-added acceptance apps [applications] at merchants' systems," said Paul Rasori, VeriFone's senior vice president of marketing. "VeriFone's PAYMEDIA UAP bridges that gap in the NFC ecosystem by managing the complexities of mobile commerce acceptance and ensuring a seamless buying experience no matter what wallet, app or program consumers bring to stores."

    In other mobile wallet news, Isis announced deals with three banks, which will enable consumers to make payments via their mobile phones. Isis said it has agreed to terms with JP Morgan Chase, Capital One and Barclaycard -- a move that will allow consumers to purchase products and make payments using their mobile phones.

    Isis is a joint mobile payment venture among Verizon Wireless, AT&T Inc. and . Its top competition is expected to be from Google Inc., which is attempting to launch its Google Wallet through a partnership with MasterCard Inc. and Citigroup Inc., according to various reports.

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