Customers of U.K.-based Nationwide Building Society now have Visa’s digital wallet as a payment option when shopping online.

Nationwide says it is the first U.K. financial institution to offer, which allows registered users to make online payments with participating merchants by using just a username and password.

Visa has positioned as an asset for banks because it offers a more secure and faster method for online transactions by eliminating the need for consumers to enter card account numbers, billing and shipping information for each transaction.

Nationwide says it will make the service available to its 6.5 million credit and debit card customers. Customers can load up to 10 different cards to the wallet at registration.

More than 1,400 online merchants already accept, including Clark's, Curry's and PC World. Visa and Nationwide project the number of participating merchants to grow to more than 4,000 later this year.

In 1997, Nationwide was first to offer Internet banking to U.K. consumers and the move to add illustrates how the financial institution continues to seek ways to improve the customer experience through technology, Graham Beale, Nationwide's chief executive, states in a Nov. 26 press release.

Nationwide says it has beaten another launch partner in Royal Bank of Scotland to the punch with its full-scale roll-out. RBS first initiated trials of the technology in November 2012.

Visa says banks representing 80% of all consumers in the U.K. have already committed to the offering By 2020, the card scheme claims, one-third of all European consumers will be using the wallet.

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