Visa expands its digital wallet service in the UK

By Nicole Miskelly | 6 May 2015

As the shift towards mobile payments gains speed, Visa Europe plans to make online shopping easier for people in the UK by expanding its digital wallet service.

The FT reports that Visa has partnered with a number of large high street banks and retailers including Iceland, Topshop and Costo  have signed up to Visa’s digital payment service which is available to use in June.

Visa’s wallet, which enables consumers to make online purchases without needing to input their card details each time, was initially launched with Nationwide in 2013. allows card holders to save all credit, debit and pre-paid cards from all issuers and once users add their cards to the application, they can then shop online from any mobile device. uses similar attributes to PayPal and means that when paying with Visa’s wallet, the user’s full card details are shielded from the website they are paying. According to Visa, the wallet helps to save time and effort when shopping online because it only requires users to enter an email address and password, it also said that because of the shielded card feature, it is more secure.

Wendy Martin, executive director of said the launch “responds to the huge growth of online payments” which she said is growing three times faster than face-to-face payments.

“The key online shopping trends are that people are looking to spend on mobile and tablets and that more are doing it on the go,” Martin said.

According to research by Barclays, by 2024 people are set to spend £54bn a year using phones and tablets compared to £9.7bn spent last year. The research also showed that almost 42 per cent of retail sales will involve a mobile device.

“The size of the retail opportunity is clear for all to see. The question every retailer should be asking themselves is what they are doing about it to not only satisfy today’s consumer but, also tomorrow’s,” said Richard Lowe, managing director at Barclays.

The Visa announcement comes at a time when competition is heating up between technology companies such as Google and PayPal which are also creating digital wallets. While these new payments systems are exciting for retailers and customers, they are also causing security and fraud concerns.

The FT reports that retailers who are signing up to new payments systems are providing additional entry points for hackers and that even biometric authentication is at risk. However, Martin says that “ also has a sophisticated fraud engine, which looks at patterns such as whether a consumer has used this device for payment before,” which allows for better risk decisions.


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