Visa to launch 'wallet' for phones, online buying

May 11, 2011 By PETER SVENSSON , AP Technology Writer

(AP) -- Visa Inc. is making a virtual "wallet" that can hold people's card account information for faster checkouts at online shopping sites and real-world stores.

The "wallets," coming this fall, are one step in the process of updating today's system for credit and . They'll work with new smartphones equipped with chips that can talk to some credit-card terminals already in stores.

Visa doesn't issue cards, despite its logo on them. Rather, it processes payments for that issue Visa-branded cards. It said banks that support the "" strategy include U.S. Bancorp, TD Bank Group, BB&T Corp., PNC Bank and Barclaycard U.S.

Visa had already signaled that it would promote an "open wallet" model for payments using cellphones. That would let consumers add any compatible card to their cellphones, then tap them to pay.

Competitor MasterCard Inc. and a consortium formed by phone companies T-Mobile USA, AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless have plans for their own "wallets." It's not clear yet whether MasterCard holders will be able to use Visa's system, and vice versa.

In extending the "wallet" model to online shopping, Visa would compete with eBay Inc.'s PayPal and Google Inc.'s Checkout, both of which allow users to add multiple cards and use them to pay on various sites. However, Visa has a much larger network of sites that accepts its cards.

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