Visa Mobilizes

Kyle is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.

Progress Report: Visa (NYSE: V), mentioned on numerous occasions, most recently 2/16/12 at a closing share price of $113.80, currently trading around $117 per share (intraday, 2/28/12 – “We Are in the Midst of a Bubble Bubble”). The stock was also mentioned 2/3/12, with a closing price of $107.03 per share (“Quality Versus Quantity”).

Mobile World Congress 2012 kicked off this week, just in case you missed it, and if your company was on the bubble and failed to make the tournament, my sincere condolences. Visa did make it, thankfully, and brought with them a man-purse full of announcements that leads me to believe we are fast entering a world shifting away from checks and cash and into plastic (debit and credit), and mobile commerce. So whenever you experience the joyous event in your grocer’s express lane, next in line as Nana whips out her checkbook, carefully registering the transaction for three cans of cat food as if it were real-time, making sure to borrow from the tens column, marking the numerals accordingly, please be patient. It won’t be much longer.

Since I have yet to receive my press pass and e-ticket for the journey to Barcelona, I have to report the exciting news from the trading table. Visa announced they have joined forces with Intel (NASDAQ: INTC), to create mobile commerce options for Intel’s Atom-based smartphones and tablets.  With a public display of affection that was not at all creepy, Intel’s Smartphone Reference Device solution will enjoy Visa certification with payWave and NFC (near-field communication) devices.

For you shareholders of Vodafone (NASDAQ: VOD), don’t get your skivvies in a bunch, you haven’t been left out of the Visa love-fest. The entire population of Vodafone’s loyal customers will be a part of what has been called the biggest partnership venture, currently, in a union of mobile provider and global payment processor. The eventual marriage will be larger than “My Big Fat Greek Wedding," initially landing in European countries England, Germany and Spain, to name a few (not Greece), sometime this year.

Now before you married traders start clamoring, “Wait a minute, what’s in it for Visa?” just take a deep breath, because their European satchel had another announcement tucked away in the side pocket. If you have the uncanny ability of recall, you probably picked up on “NFC” somewhere, and not in reference to the National Football League. Visa is entering a venture of its own, recognizing that even folks that have Blackberries should realize the feeling of belongingness, and is directing this idea at mobile network providers and financial companies. The ultimate goal is to take Visa accounts and basically make your smartphone a payment device. That’s right, NFC devices will have your Visa account information, safe and secure, if you so desire. Anyone that drools at the thought of a digital wallet, and doesn’t have a single share of the companies mentioned, I suggest you do a little bit of homework.

So at some point in the future, when we realize some healthy returns, eventually we will be able to go ahead and hand the cashier our phone; Nana, your cats’ dinner is on us today. Let’s move it along now, I’ve got more homework to do.


Motley Fool blogger Kyle Metivier has long positions with Visa and Intel, and owns no shares of Vodafone. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Intel, Visa and Vodafone Group Plc (ADR). The Motley Fool owns shares of Intel. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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