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Visa launches 'Checkout' for quick and easy payments from any device

Matt Hamblen | July 17, 2014
Users see an image of their credit card to click, then insert a username and password to pay.

Visa on Wednesday announced a new simplified digital payment service called Visa Checkout, which is designed to allow customers to pay quickly for goods online on any connected device.

The service won't require loading a digital wallet on to a smartphone or tablet as with mobile payment methods, like Google Wallet, do. "Visa Checkout is simpler than any other method," said Sam Shrauger, senior vice president of digital at Visa. "People don't want a wallet; they want to pay and be done."

In a demonstration during a press event that was Webcast from a new Visa technology center in San Francisco, Shrauger showed how he could use a mobile device to pull up an image of his own Visa credit card to pay for a pizza from Pizza Hut directly on the Pizza Hut website.

With his name and other credentials previously stored with Visa, all he had to do to approve the online transaction was to click on the image of the card, then enter his name and a password. His user name could be either a phone number or email, he said.

The event was attended by officials from several companies planning to use the new service, including Pizza Hut, United Airlines, U.S. Bank and Staples.

Tom O'Toole, senior vice president of marketing and loyalty at United, said the airline "fully expects to have Visa Checkout in our onboard portal," which passengers can use to make onboard purchases for media, food, drinks and future travel.

Officials didn't discuss how Visa Checkout will directly affect in-store purchasing, especially as it relates to technologies like near-field communication, which is used in other forms of mobile payments. But Baron Concors, chief digital officer at Pizza Hut, said that he envisions a smartphone user on a subway ride would be able to quickly order and pay for a pizza directly on the phone, then pick it up at a nearby Pizza Hut store.

"When people come to our site, they are not looking to see what we do. They have a specific need to get that pizza as soon as possible," Concors said. Visa Checkout will speed up that process, he said.

The chief value to merchants and financial institutions that back credit cards in having a faster, easier checkout is to reduce the drastic number of customers who abandon purchases when they get to the checkout portion of a purchase. Often, they are required to insert a credit card number, address and other information, sometimes on multiple screens. That cumbersome process results in up to 86% of mobile users and up to 68% of online desktop users, deciding not to make a purchase, Visa said.

 

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