V.me, like MasterCard PayPass, allows users to input their card information and store it securely for faster online checkout. Right now, online shoppers at Visa`s partner Buy.com are given the option to use V.me, with a button on the checkout page that lets users sign up for V.me. The technology works like PayPal, another competing digital payments service, and any online shopper might wonder why they would sign up for V.me when they already use PayPal to make secure online purchases. However, each of these digital payment options is only offered on certain sites. V.me accounts are invitation-only unless you are making a purchase on Buy.com, and the payment service isn`t accepted anywhere else yet.
Digital Wallet vs. Mobile Wallet
A digital wallet is any service, like PayPal or MasterCard PayPass that stores payment information and allows people to make purchases without entering the information again. A digital wallet isn`t necessarily a mobile wallet, though there can be confusion about the difference.
MasterCard recently expanded their PayPass service into PayPass Wallet Services, using Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to allow customers to tap, wave, or scan their mobile phones to make payments. V.me is lagging behind but will likely have NFC technology in place by later this year, bringing it up to speed with its competitors.
So Many Platforms
With all of the different digital and mobile technologies out there, it can be hard to keep up. Which credit cards can be used with which system, and what stores or websites accept which payment platforms? The answers so far are somewhat complicated – Amazon doesn`t take PayPal, Google Wallet doesn`t take American Express, and V.me can only be used with Buy.com – so far. In time, some of these platforms may have to battle for dominance, and as far as credit card users are concerned, it may be better for just one platform to persevere.
As Visa catches up to the rest of the pack, they`ve also launched an initiative to remind consumers of the importance of security when utilizing digital payment services, whether they are digital wallets or mobile wallets or both. Their “best practices” system is called “Just LOK It” and here`s what it stands for:
- Lock it down – Use passwords to secure your account information on any device, whether a laptop, desktop, or mobile phone.
- Only you access sensitive information – Don`t tell anyone else your passwords, account numbers, PINs or other information used to access accounts.
- Know who to call – If your digital accounts are compromised, know who to call and have it physically written down somewhere, not just stored in the contacts of your phone. What will you do if your phone is stolen?
NFC: The Next Frontier
Once Visa has gotten V.me out of beta testing and is comfortable with the digital wallet concept, they will roll out their NFC technology and become fully mobile, competing with Isis Payments, Google Wallet, MasterCard PayPass Wallet Services, and the rest of the mobile payment industry. It`s then that we`ll see who emerges, victorious, in the bold new frontier of digital wallets and mobile payments.