CI First Look – Visa V.me Payment Solution

W. Douglas Miller by on Nov 28, 2012

visa_logoVisa recently announced the public release of its V.me integrated payment solution. The first iteration of V.me, which is similar in many respects to Google Checkout, is for online payments. Later rollouts of the service will focus on the mobile payment space.

How It Works
Users who create an account will be able to save credit and debit card information to their V.me account, including payment addresses and shipping details. When a client then shops online, they’ll be able to import the information from their V.me account directly into the participating retailers’ checkout process.

v_me_checkout
V.me Checkout

Advantages
V.me is designed to both save users time and protect their personal account information by eliminating the need to manually input card information directly on a retailer’s website every time an online purchase is made. The service also holds advantages for those clients making purchases from a tablet or mobile browser. Here, the propensity for typos when entering card numbers or addresses via virtual keyboards is replaced with the ease of pressing the V.me logo in the payment sequence. While users still need to enter a username and password to port their payment information into the retailer’s site, the potential for billing errors should be greatly reduced.

v_me_platform

V.me Partnerships
The new service works with both Visa and non-Visa payment accounts, and was launched with a variety of retail and financial partners on board. When the service exited its beta trail and became publically available in early November, it sported close to two dozen online retailing partners, including buy.com and 1-800-Flowers.

As we first reported in the Credit Card Monitor Update (client login required), the most prominent partners on the financial side are PNC and U.S. Bank. Each firm has put out press releases about the new service and their respective collaborations with Visa. PNC’s press release announced the availability of the service for clients of its Virtual Wallet account bundle, with further rollouts set for 2013, while U.S. Bank’s releaseemphasized that all of the bank’s clients will be able to enroll their payment cards in the new service. Interestingly, any U.S.-based consumer can sign up for a V.me account directly via the V.me site, regardless of whether their financial institution is currently a V.me partner.

Future Outlook
The ultimate goal, according to Visa, it to have V.me work seamlessly as an all-purpose digital wallet, supporting mobile payments along with e-commerce and m-commerce purchases. Visa has not been forthcoming, however, about what design in-store mobile payments might take. With the marketing muscle Visa and its partners hold, it’s almost certain that V.me will become a key competitor to payment platforms such as PayPal, though its success or failure will ultimately be determined by how well – and how exactly – it works.