Visa’s bringing its payment expertise to Internet of Things devices

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The allure of the billion-dollar Internet of Things industry continues to prove irresistible to firms big and small, and Visa’s no exception. At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the credit company announced an plan to supply manufacturers of “wearables, automobiles, appliances, public transportation services, clothing, and almost any other connected device” — every IoT category under the sun, practically — with an integrated, secure payments solution.

The program’s an expansion of the company’s Visa Ready Program, Visa’s eponymous digital transactions platform. Think of it as a mentorship program for Internet-powered point-of-sale: Visa collaborates with partners to get payment processing up and running on their respective products and provides continuous guidance on best practices. In addition, it supplies members with tools such as Visa’s Token Service, a token technology that, like Apple Pay, Android Pay, and MasterCard’s MDES, substitutes the personal information found on credit cards with a unique identifier

Coin, Fit Pay, and Samsung are among the first IoT firms to join the program. Visa says it will coordinate with its existing hardware partners, including Chronos and Pebble, to start supporting secure payments on devices that it has certified.

“More and more, consumers are relying on smart appliances and connected devices to make their lives easier,” said Jim McCarthy, executive vice president of innovation and strategic partnerships at Visa, in a statement. “By adding payments to these devices, we are turning virtually any Internet connection into a commerce experience.”

Visa’s been progressive in the mobile payments arena lately. In early January, it added Starbucks, Walgreens, the NFL Shop, the Home Shopping Network, and Match to Visa Checkout, a cloud-based offering that saves your credit and debit card information for one-tap payments. And ahead of this year’s Super Bowl, it upgraded the point-of-sales systems in Santa Clara’s Levi’s Stadium with smartphone- and smartwatch-compatible NFC terminals.

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