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Visa Brings Its Tap to Phone Payments to U.S. Merchants in a Pilot


Kevin Woodward June 16, 2021 Acquiring, Competitive Strategies, Marketing, Mobile Commerce, Near-Field Communication (NFC), Point-of-sale, Transaction Processing


Visa Inc. is bringing a point-of-sale payment-acceptance application that uses commercially available consumer smart phones on tour to U.S. small businesses, it announced Wednesday. Using a smart phone from ZmBizi LLC loaded with the POS app, 50 small businesses in Washington, D.C., will be able to accept payments without having to use a dedicated point-of-sale terminal. For the introduction, Visa is giving 500 small businesses the device along with a Visa prepaid card. It’s starting first in Washington, D.C., and will travel to Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Miami later with a focus on small businesses. Visa has piloted the Tap to Phone technology in 30 countries already. U.S.-based ZmBizi sells the devices for $296 or in four installments of $74. The Android smart phones operate on the AT&T and T-Mobile networks in the United States. ZmBizi developed the POS app for the devices, Visa says. The ZmBizi phones also can be used for voice calls, texting, and with other apps.

“The way we shop and pay has forever changed. During the pandemic, tapping to pay and contactless checkout became more commonplace and are now expected,“ Mary Kay Bowman, Visa global head of buyer, seller, core, and platform products, said in a statement. “With our technology, networking and community resources, we’re hoping to empower small businesses everywhere to meet their customers in the next phase of digital-first commerce.” POS applications that can operate on off-the-shelf smart phones are seen as a way to expand merchant adoption of electronic payments. The PCI Security Standards Council developed a standard, often known as PIN-on-mobile, to accommodate the practice. Other PIN-on-mobile developers include MagicCube Inc., which, in 2020, received a security compliance allowance from Visa, which also invested in the company. Processor Global Payments Inc. markets its app, called GP tom, in Europe. Mobeewave Inc., which Apple Inc. acquired in 2020, also developed the technology.

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