At an event today at MWC, Visa announced a partnership with Samsung that will result in its payWave mobile wallet app getting installed on the "next generation" of Samsung smartphones. PayWave will work with the NFC chip on those devices to enable mobile payments, but Visa says it's agnostic about exactly which credit cards get used with the app. It's part of the "Visa Ready Program," which lets all sorts of companies connect to Visa's network of payment systems — not just banks, but manufacturers and carriers as well. In that vein, Visa says that it's offering future Samsung customers the ability to hook up any Visa card to the secure NFC element in their smartphones for mobile payments.
PayWave is actually able to accomodate cards other than Visa cards, a technology that the company had actually licensed to both Google for Wallet and ISIS, even though had Visa suggested that the other major credit card companies would be on their own when it comes to getting their payment solutions on to Samsung's phones. Google Wallet, by comparison, currently allows users to use any card with its app.
Probably not coming to the US
Asked about whether it would be available on all carriers during an earlier event, Visa demurred to say. That likely means that we'll see companies like Verizon opt out of using payWave in favor of their own solution — just as Google Wallet was blocked on the carrier. Instead, Visa is looking to gain traction in markets that have less "heavily operator subsidized models" — a phrasing that wins the award for most roundabout way to say it's not likely to come to the US.
Of course, Visa wouldn't give specific details on exactly which next generation Samsung phones we're discussing here other than to say they're coming later this year. The presumption is that the Galaxy S IV is one of the phones that will have payWave on deck. Samsung will be unveiling it on March 14th, so we won't have long to wait for an official confirmation.