Two of the many stumbling blocks in the way of NFC-based mobile payments becoming popular are the availability of retail hardware needed to interface with our smartphones, as well as the back-end infrastructure for processing these payments. Today Visa addressed some of these issues, outlining its strategy for modernizing its retail payment systems.
The bulk of Visa’s announcement deals with the stepped-up deployment of credit cards with chips for two-way communication with card readers, but the implications directly affect NFC-based payments. NFC is considered one of these chip-based technologies, and to encourage their adoption, Visa is taking steps to see that retailers get the hardware needed to interface with them. In a few years, if fraud goes down and a retailer hadn’t upgraded to accept chip-based payments, they’ll be liable for the charges.
By 2013, Visa wants the middlemen doing credit transaction processing to be able to support the extra data fields used by all these chip-based systems. As they upgrade their systems, more retailers will be able to support maybe via NFC. It looks like a long, slow roll-out, but Visa seems committed to seeing this through.