Visa Europe has launched two new services to help consumers manage their money and make payments using their mobile phones, one of them to rival PayPal.
The Visa Mobile Person-to-Person payments service allows registered users to transfer funds to any Visa cardholder in Europe from their mobile phone. The app makes it easy to send money to an address book contact, to a mobile phone number, or to a specific Visa card number - whether or not the recipient is registered with the service.
The service could be seen as a rival to PayPal, with the added bonus that the recipient of the cash, unlike with PayPal, not having to be a member of the scheme.
The other service launched is Visa Alerts, which notifies registered Visa cardholders "on a real-time basis" whenever their card has been used to make a purchase or to withdraw cash through Visa Europe's payment network.
Banks like the Halifax, for instance, already offers an alerts system to its Halifax Mastercard customers. Visa reckons its alerts will be faster than other systems but that will depend on the customer banking systems they are integrated with.
Visa Europe chief executive Peter Ayliffe said: "We are already seeing early adoption of mobile payments, and in the coming months we will see the arrival of mainstream NFC (near field communications) technologies, advanced loyalty and e-commerce services, and the launch of a new digital wallet [from Google]."
The services will be commercially available to Visa Europe's member banks from next month, but only bank customers equipped with Android smartphones will be able to use the payments service. Visa said other mobile operating systems will be supported in the future.