Visa Inc.’s certifications of various smartphones to support its payWave contactless payments helps to free up a major obstacle to development of a mobile-payment acceptance at the point of sale.

The card brand has added six new mobile devices¬–the Samsung Galaxy SII, LG Optimus NET NFC, BlackBerry Bold 9900, BlackBerry Bold 9790, BlackBerry Curve 9360 and BlackBerry Curve 9380¬–to its list of payWave-compliant products available for commercial deployment by financial institutions, the card brand announced Jan. 10.

This certification is a step in the right direction, says Nick Holland, a senior analyst at Yankee Group.

“NFC payments will need to be industry-grade, and one of the largest barriers we are seeing to mobile payments comes from fear of security compromises,” he says. “Both consumers and merchants are likely to have more faith in NFC if payment entities such as Visa are certifying handsets.”

Yankee Group predicts the value of NFC-based transactions will grow to $40 billion in 2014 from $27 million in 2010.

The new devices certified by Visa host the payWave application on a SIM card and feature NFC technology, the short range communication standard that enables mobile phones with NFC chips to securely transmit information to payment terminals with similar chips, and vice versa.

“This is an important step for Visa, its financial-institution partners and the mobile industry,” Bill Gajda, Visa global head of mobile product, said in a statement. “In addition to issuing plastic magnetic stripe or chip-enabled payment cards, financial institutions can now consider offering their accountholders a way to transform their smartphones into fully functional mobile payment devices.”

Visa’s certification paves the way for mobile-device manufacturers, mobile operators and retailers to partner with financial institutions to offer Visa mobile-payment functionality to consumers globally, the card network says.

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