Wells Fargo & Company and Visa USA announced the launch of an extensive mobile pilot to test consumer mobile payments and services.
The pilot has three phases to help Wells Fargo and Visa better understand how consumers will use mobile payment and service options on mobile devices equipped with Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. Options to be tested include secure, over-the-air delivery of payment account information to the mobile device; mobile payments in stores and restaurants accepting Visa payWave technology; receiving and redeeming mobile coupons; and account management services.
"Mobile devices have become an integral part of everyday life, just as electronic payments have," said Peter Ho, product manager in Wells Fargo's Card Services division. "Our customers expect the flexibility and convenience that mobile payments and services provide. Visa's mobile platform delivers what we need to develop secure, mobile solutions."
Three Phase Approach
* Wells Fargo and Visa completed the first phase of the pilot with a group of employees in April 2007, testing the use of mobile payment and mobile banking applications in the Wells Fargo Customer Experience Research Lab. Results were extremely positive; participants said they would use the technology.
* Wells Fargo and Visa expect to launch the second phase this summer with 30 to 50 Wells Fargo employees testing mobile payments at merchants that accept Visa payWave-enabled products. The test will allow pilot participants to securely download the payment account information over-the-air, make mobile payments in stores and restaurants using Visa payWave technology, store and redeem mobile coupons, and access account management features to monitor credit or debit account activity and manage funds.
* The third phase will expand to a public trial with 300 to 500 Wells Fargo Visa cardholders, and will include additional pilot partners. In this phase, expected to launch in the fourth quarter of this year, Wells Fargo and Visa will build on learnings from previous phases and expand to a larger user base.
Visa's Mobile Platform
Visa's mobile platform is supported by leading mobile technology providers that enable Visa, its issuing banks, and mobile operators to engage in trials and develop mobile payments and services. Built on years of experience in mobile payments and developed in partnership with mobile technology companies, Visa's platform includes handset manufacturers, chip suppliers, mobile applications developers, over-the-air (OTA) service providers and mobile messaging providers. Visa's mobile platform complements the infrastructure of carriers and financial institutions.
Visa's platform makes it easier for issuers, mobile operators and technology providers to deliver one consumer-friendly application, integrating mobile contactless payments, remote payments, person-to-person payments, mobile coupons, and account management services.
"We're pleased to partner with Wells Fargo as we continue to develop the right solutions for mobile payments and services," said Pam Zuercher, vice president of product innovation at Visa USA. "This important road test of mobile payments and the Visa mobile platform will help us validate the technology and understand how consumers will use these advanced services."
Additional Wells Fargo Mobile Testing
Wells Fargo launched wireless banking in 2001, becoming the first major U.S. bank to offer mobile banking nationwide. Wells Fargo is now piloting several approaches to mobile banking including mobile browsers, SMS or text messaging and downloadable applications. With these different approaches, it is currently evaluating the ease-of-use for customers to view their account information, make transactions such as money transfers, and connect with Wells Fargo. Since early 2006, it has offered mobile alerts to all Wells Fargo customers. Customers can choose to have alerts for their checking, savings and credit card accounts emailed to their mobile devices.
Wells Fargo introduced the CEO MobileSM service to select commercial customers on April 30, 2007, becoming the first major U.S. financial services company to offer mobile service for business. The initial version of the CEO Mobile service delivers key treasury reports through a secure browser session. After gathering customer feedback, Wells Fargo plans to add more functions later in the year, including wire approvals, image positive pay exceptions, and administrative tools such as password resets, allowing Wholesale customers to do business instantly from mobile devices when and where they wish to do so.