Visa Extends Tokens Service to Auto Industry

Visa has made its Visa Token Service available to car manufacturers, in a move it says will make in-car payments easier and quicker in the near future.

The payments behemoth is demonstrating car-based commerce proof-of-concepts at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Working in partnership with Honda, Visa has showcased a fuel app concept, which allows drivers to pay at the petrol station in one click, without leaving their car. The company says the app can calculate the quantity of petrol needed to fill the tank as soon as the car pulls up at a pump, and can also facilitate the buying of goods from the gas station shop.

Another proof-of-concept demo shows Visa working in partnership with parking app ParkWhiz. The app is designed to prevent over- or under-paying for parking – once the driver gets back to the car at the end of a parking session, the elapsed time and charge is shown on the cars app, with the driver having to press a button to make the transaction.

“The notion of transforming a car into a platform for payments is not as far off as some may think, and we have made a great deal of progress since first introducing the idea one year ago,” says Jim McCarthy, executive vice president of innovation and strategic partnerships at Visa.

“Working with Honda to test these prototypes gets us another step closer toward commercial reality, which we think provides exciting opportunities to everyone who plays a role in the payments and automotive ecosystems.”

The companies say they expect to test the concepts this spring, with the fuel app getting a trial in Northern California and the parking app being tested in New York City.

DSC_0089Tim Maytom writes: Ive just visited the Visa stand at Mobile World Congress, and was curious why they had a car parked on the edge of it, and how it related to the work they are doing with the Visa Token Service. They told me that the connected car is the next natural step for their digital payments infrastructure, along with expansions into wearables.

The work they are doing with Honda expands on similar concepts the firm unveiled last year, with Bluetooth beacons enabling cars to communicate with retail locations and process payments, but now brings in the tokenisation technology that aims to improve security. However, new prototypes will still require a mobile phone, both for user identification and to provide some of the computational power behind the solution.

According to Visa, while the prototypes will begin testing in New York and Silicon Valley within the next few months, commercial deployment of the technology will likely not happen until 2018. However, consumer demand for such technology may speed up the time frame, in the same way that public demand for CarPlay and similar solutions pushed up the timetable of the first wave of connected cars.