Visa Facilitates Global Contactless Payments with New Specification

Visa Facilitates Global Contactless Payments with New Specification

Provides Greater Flexibility and Ensures Cross-Border Interoperability

PARIS, 15 November 2005–Visa International announced today the release of a global contactless payments specification that will ensure Visa cardholders can use their contactless cards worldwide while still providing issuers with the flexibility to customize programs to meet local market needs. The specification also provides additional security options and enhanced performance for faster transaction processing.

The new framework is compatible with existing Visa contactless card programs in the market and in development. Cards can use magnetic stripe functionality or follow the more enhanced chip or smart card functionality enabled by the global EMV standard. The specification also supports all payment platforms – credit, debit and prepaid.

“With millions of contactless cards worldwide, Visa has developed a global contactless platform built on the experience of implementing programs in multiple countries and regions,” said Gaylon Howe, executive vice president, Consumer Product Platforms, Visa International. “This new specification will allow card issuers and vendors to implement contactless solutions that are globally interoperable while providing flexibility, security and enhanced performance. It means that no matter where the contactless card is issued, it will benefit from the same level of acceptance and convenience worldwide.”

Visa first published a contactless specification in 2002, primarily to focus on local market implementations and requirements. Following extensive experience with numerous programs around the world, Visa has updated the specification to provide an effective roadmap for financial institutions and vendors to move to interoperable programs. The specification provides flexibility by allowing issuers to choose the options and features that best meet their local market needs while ensuring global interoperability. It also provides enhanced security options to enable greater card and data protection.

Another major feature of the specification is that communications between the card and terminal have been streamlined to provide faster transaction processing. This makes contactless ideal for both low-value environments where speed is of the essence, such as parking garages, quick service restaurants, and convenience stores, and high-value environments where the use of PIN or signature still offers convenience and customer security.

To date, Visa has worked with member financial institutions to implement contactless programs in the United States and Asia.

Notes to Editors: For members of the media interested in further information about the Visa global contactless specification, there will be a media briefing with Visa spokespeople at Cartes on Tuesday, 15 November, at 11:00. The meeting room will be at Reunion 5, Room 515B.

Guido Mangiagalli, Head of New Channels, Visa Europe, will also be speaking about the contactless specification at Cartes on Wednesday, 16 November, at 16:45. Please see Cartes program materials for location information.

About Visa

Visa connects cardholders, merchants and financial institutions through the world’s largest electronic payments network. Visa products allow buyers and sellers to conduct commerce with ease and confidence in both the physical and virtual worlds. As an association owned by 21,000 member financial institutions, Visa is committed to the sustained growth of electronic payment systems to support the needs of all stakeholders and to drive economic growth. For more information, visit

Contact: Sandra Chu, Visa International, Tel: +1 650 432 2154 at