Visa has entered agreements with more than 40 Australian banks to offer customers the V.me digital wallet for online shopping a mere three months after MasterCard debuted its MasterPass digital wallet in Australia.
Participating banks will make the digital wallet available to consumers before the Christmas shopping season, Visa stated July 9 when unveiling V.me in Sydney.
Currently, 37 U.S. merchants accept V.me and 82 card issuers in the U.S. offer V.me to consumers, Visa spokesman Lee Mokri says. An additional 180 merchants have signed up to accept V.me payments and will go live in the coming months, he says.
After nearly a year of testing the product, Visa launched V.me in the U.S. in October of 2012 with its first bank partner, PNC, and various merchants.
Launching V.me in Australia follows the successful adoption of Visa's contactless PayWave technology in that country, Mokri says.
V.me doesn't work in brick-and-mortar stores, but "we see V.me as complementary" to PayWave, Mokri says. "As smartphones use Visa PayWave to make face-to-face payments easier, we see V.me making remote payments from desktops, tablets and mobile phones much easier."
Visa is focused on scaling V.me to additional markets around the world, Mokri says. V.me works online with Australian merchants such as JB Hi-Fi, Cotton On, City Beach and Lorna Jane, Visa says.
In Australia, V.me will help merchants alleviate the problem of consumers abandoning online purchases, Greg Storey, Visa's head of V.me for Asia Pacific, Central Europe, Middle East and Africa, states in a press release.
A V.me account stores a shopper's shipping address in addition to credit or debit card details, and this information can be passed directly to the merchant. Consumers provide merchants with a V.me username and password, and then select the pre-enrolled address and card of their choice.
V.me represents "a digital manifestation" of what a consumer carries in a physical wallet, Storey says. Consumers will not need a Visa card to activate V.me, which can carry other brands' credit or debit cards.
Visa research indicated that 72% of Australians had shopped online at least once in the past 12 months.
Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., National Australia Bank Ltd., St. George Bank, GE Capital Finance Australia and Bank of Melbourne are among the banks and credit unions preparing to offer V.me.
In March, MasterCard earmarked Australia as the first country to launch the MasterPass digital wallet to consumers.
In the same manner as V.me, the MasterPass wallet can hold other card brand products. MasterPass can also be branded for specific banks, merchants and other third parties.
MasterCard plans to support Near Field Communication, QR codes and other mobile payment methods for MasterPass next year. MasterCard's recent pact with Web.com makes MasterPass an option with "tens of thousands" of online merchants, MasterCard said last month.