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Visa to work with industry body to define secure payment mechanisms for wireless devices

SAN FRANCISCO, September 28, 1999 - Visa International has become a member of the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) Forum, a cross industry organization developing global standards for the secure delivery of information and services through wireless devices, such as mobile phones, pagers, and personal digital assistants.

The development of the WAP standard will enable Visa member banks to offer their Visa cardholders a variety of new services using mobile devices, including the opportunity to purchase goods or services over the Internet via a mobile phone.

"Our participation in the WAP Forum demonstrates our commitment, on behalf of our member banks, to establish global standards in areas which will enable banks to offer new, secure and convenient services to their cardholders," said Philip Yen, senior vice president of Emerging Technology at Visa International. "The rapid growth in mobile phones and other wireless devices, together with the Internet, has opened up a whole new environment in which banks can use their Visa payment cards to truly provide their customers with anytime, anywhere access to a wide range of services and products. Banks can use this new technology to differentiate themselves from their competitors and retain and attract new customers. But it is imperative that a global standard exists to ensure compatibility of devices and the highest level of security."

In representing the interests of its member banks, Visa's participation in the WAP Forum will be to ensure that secure mechanisms are developed to enable payment transactions and other applications using mobile devices.

Gregory Williams, chairman of the WAP Forum Board of Directors, said: "Visa is the first payment association to join the WAP Forum and its experience in both electronic commerce and chip technology will provide a significant contribution to the work of the Forum."

Visa will conduct a pilot of wireless application technology with MeritaNordbanken and Nokia in Sweden. The pilot, announced in June and scheduled to start next summer, will allow bank customers to make payments over the Internet, or at a merchant location, from a mobile phone as well as being able to download applications securely to an EMV compliant bank card. It will use the world's first fully compliant WAP phone with security provided by WAP. The payment card will use the Open Platform, developed by Visa, and security for Internet transactions will be provided by SETTM Secure Electronic Transaction.

Visa is also participating in an alliance of cross industry organizations in Asia aimed at harnessing the power of smart cards and mobile phones. The Asia Mobile Electronic Services Alliance (AMESA) is building an infrastructure to support secure mobile electronic services in Hong Kong, Singapore and other Asian markets. It will also use the Open Platform.

Visa is the first payment association to join the WAP Forum. Other members include wireless industry leaders such as Ericsson, Motorola, Nokia and Phone.com.

Colin Baptie
Visa International
1 650 432-4671
[email protected]

About Visa

As the 'World's Best Way to Pay', Visa is the leading payment brand and the largest consumer payment system worldwide with more volume than all other major payment cards combined. Visa plays a pivotal role in advancing new payment products and technologies to benefit its 21,000 member financial institutions and their cardholders. Visa has more than 70 smart card programs in 33 countries and on the Internet, with 23 million Visa chip cards, including over eight million Visa Cash cards. Visa is pioneering SET Secure Electronic Transaction™ programs to enable and advance Internet commerce. There are more than 850 million Visa, Interlink, PLUS and Visa Cash cards, which generate nearly US$1.4 trillion in annual volume. Visa-branded cards are accepted at more than 17 million worldwide locations, including at over 500,000 ATMs in the Visa Global ATM Network. Visa's Internet address is www.visa.com.