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V.me: A new payment option from Visa

By Kathleen Winkler

Scheduled for release early in 2012, Visa's "V.me" standard is a new PayPal-like online and mobile payment service that will allow customers to use a single account to pay participating merchants using any major credit or debit card linked to the service.

online-shopping

Consumers will be able to transact business through MasterCard, American Express or Discover, as well as through Visa cards without re-entering the data or sharing it with the individual merchants -- all at the click of a "V.me" button.

Visa will process the routing and delivery of payments from the consumer's V.me account to participating merchants' accounts. Transactions will be protected by multi-layer authentication and bank-level encryption, with payment card industry (PCI) data security applying to all financial institutions, Internet and retail vendors.

The V.me service lets users keep and manage all of their personal information in one secure account, so they don't have to set up an extra account each time they conduct business at a different online store.

In addition to security, customers will benefit from speedy checkout. If an online merchant supports the service, shoppers will click the "V.me by Visa" button, enter a username and password and select the card they wish to use to fund the transaction.

According to Visa, retailers who use V.me will also have access to an online dashboard that will include reporting and visualization tools to give them access to data on sales, including daily and monthly reports, information on purchase categories and revenue totals. Participating merchants will be able to enable V.me payment processing on their websites by adding a few lines of Javascript to the appropriate page on their site.

The Global ".Me" Factor
The designation ".me" is a domain that works like ".com," ".net" and so on. According to Heather Clifton, Visa's head of global marketing initiatives and innovation, "Using the word 'me' as part of our new digital wallet brand emphasizes the personalized nature of Visa's digital wallet." The Nov. 30 press release introducing the V.me service goes on to explain that using the ".me" registry is part of Visa's continuing efforts to expand the company's reach around the world.

The online destination for .me domain services is www.domain.me. The site includes names of companies that are already using this relatively new, premium domain, as well as information about costs and how to apply.

An unproven service
While V.me is a catchy name, it remains to be seen how much traction the new service will gain in the global e-commerce marketplace. The niche for safe online payment systems is large, with well-ensconced, major participants active worldwide.

Visa also has yet to say what its fees for its new service will be, although they promise costs will be "straightforward," according to a Dec. 12 article by Kenneth Corbin on eCommerceBytes.

To help stimulate its V.me rollout, Visa is encouraging software developers to access their APIs, software sandbox and documentation to build new and exciting payment options and apps that will fit seamlessly into their own environments. Visa also plans to add mobile services and will eventually allow users to send and receive money as well.

See related: Square updates Card Case, reinvents retailing; A new way to accept credit cards -- with a webcam

Published: January 3, 2012

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