Bank tests mobile Visa payments

US bank Wells Fargo is to begin testing Visa’s mobile payments system with 50 of its own employees.

Introduced earlier this year, the system allows customers to buy goods using mobiles equipped with special chips that can be swiped over retail scanners.

Wells Fargo will first use its own staff to test the innovation, before deciding whether the platform can be rolled out to its customers.

If staff tests, which will begin in the autumn, are successful, the bank will offer the payments method to 300 to 500 of its bankers.

Visa and Mastercard have been leading the way in mobile payments solutions, with Visa particularly interested in the potential for citizens in developing nations to send and receive money wirelessly.

People in Africa could receive money from relatives working in London direct to the phone, for example, Visa says, saving days on paper-based transactions.

Visa also invested an undisclosed amount in the Dublin-based dotMobi domain name registrar in April.

But few retailers and few phones are yet equipped with the technology to make mobile point-of-purchase payments popular – according to Visa, just 32,000 of the 5m American stores that accept its cards.