Visa's 60 million users based in the U.K. will be able to use Visa's V.me "digital mobile" services by June, making it easier and quicker to shop online, according to the Financial Times. V.me, launched by Visa in 2012, allows its users to store payment and shipping preferences in a V.me account - via mobile or tablet - and shop on any website where V.me by Visa is accepted without having to enter card details for each checkout.
At the beginning of 2015, Visa Europe formally announced a plan to invest an additional 200 million euro into developing its digital payment technology as a response to company reports that contactless and digital payments had grown in 2014, especially in Europe.
To roll out V.me in the U.K., the card provider had to secure commitment from 55 percent of the U.K.'s largest banks, as well as big names in the retailer industry such as the Arcadia Group, owners of Topshop, Topman, Dorothy Perkins, Burton, Wallis, Miss Selfridge, and Evans. Commitment has also been secured from other leading online services including Iceland, bathstore and Costco.co.uk.
Wendy Martin, executive director of V.me, said the launch of the wallet “responds to the huge growth of online payments,” noting that the sector is expanding three times faster than face-to-face payments. “The experience of paying in store and online is far from ideal, as you constantly have to enter details,” she said. “The key online shopping trends are that people are looking to spend on mobile and tablets and that more are doing it on the go.” In fact, from a retailer’s perspective, V.me's leitmotif is to reduce the high number of abandoned sales during the online checkout process, currently estimated to be over 68 percent.
While Visa Europe claims that the mobile service is secure because it shields card details from the retailers, concerns regarding security and fraud are mounting. Financial Times reports that Thomas Bostrøm Jørgensen, CEO of Encap, an authentication software provider for banks, said Touch-ID, a fingerprint identity sensor used on iPhone and iPad, was hacked less than a month after introduction. Visa's Martin says V.me has a number of security layers, one of which includes not sharing card details with merchants. “V.me also has a sophisticated fraud engine, which looks at patterns such as whether a consumer has used this device for payment before. It allows us to make a better set of risk decisions,” she said.
According to Barclays' latest survey on m-commerce, people are set to spend £53.6 billion a year via mobile by 2024, and £32 billion by 2019. In 2014, Barclays said, about 3 percent of all retail sales (based on value) were made with a mobile device; by 2019, that figure is expected to rise to 9.1 percent.