Visa is extending its contract with mobile payment technology provider Upaid to December 2005 in order to extend its mobile payment solution across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
The extension to the agreement follows a successful trial of the service in Morocco, which began in October 2003. The solution allows users to top-up airtime on their own or someone else's mobile phone from their Visa account using SMS messaging.
The service is based on a 'plug and play' solution for participating banks and mobile phone operators. According to Upaid, once customers have become familiar with the platform a much wider range of payment applications will become possible. The mobile market in the EMEA region is expanding quickly and is predicted to be worth up to $10.5bn by next year alone. Visa claims that while the Moroccan pilot is still at an early stage it has been well received and that it expects to be in a position to announce further schemes shortly.