Wells Fargo to run NFC field trial

US financial services giant Wells Fargo & Co has become the fourth bank to reveal that it is to take part in Visa‘s series of NFC trials. And Visa could be ready to launch commercial NFC-based services from early 2011, according to a Reuters report.

In June, US Bank was the first to say it would take part in Visa’s trials of DeviceFidelity’s microSD-format NFC device. Last month, Bank of America became the second US bank to confirm it was to take part in the tests and Turkey’s Akbank also announced it would trial DeviceFidelity’s In2Pay device with Visa.

Other banks are also being lined up for the trials, according to Reuters:

Visa is also working with other banks to test the technology, Bill Gajda, Visa’s head of global mobile products, said in an interview on Wednesday.

“We want to be commercially ready early in 2011” to let consumers use their cellphones to make purchases in stores, he said.

Visa partnered with DeviceFidelity in February this year, with the aim of running a series of trials of microSD-based NFC technology before the end of 2010. DeviceFidelity’s In2Pay product includes both an antenna and an industry standard dual interface contactless smart card chip that can be loaded with a certified payment application — such as those from Visa or MasterCard — using standard bank card personalisation and card issuing systems. This allows banks and other service providers to offer NFC services to their customers with minimum amendments to their existing infrastructure.

Once an In2Pay microSD card has been personalised with a cardholder’s details, it can be inserted into one end of a specially designed plastic ‘card’ which can then be distributed to customers using a standard bank card mailer.

When the customer receives his new device in the mail, he simply detaches the card from the carrier, removes the NFC microSD device from the card and inserts it into his mobile phone. Software then installs and a prompt appears on the screen instructing the customer to enter a password on the phone’s keypad. Once that has been done, the customer’s handset is NFC-enabled for whatever applications the bank has chosen to install on the In2Pay device.

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