If you click on a link to a story on the All Things D blog about Visa’s new digital wallet, you may first see an ad for PayPal. That just underscores how crowded the digital payments space is getting these days.
Visa’s wallet, dubbed V.me, has been in beta for about a year while the company signed up a couple dozen big-name e-commerce merchants, along with some 50 banks and credit unions. The latter are important because Visa is counting on the bank issuers to market the service to their customers and possibly incorporate the registration service into their own e-banking sites.
V.me reportedly works a lot like PayPal, allowing consumers the option of preloading it with cash or tying it to a credit card, even a competitor such as MasterCard, American Express, or Discover.
That’s just one e-wallet, though. Back in May 2012, MasterCard launched its PayPass Wallet Services. American Express came out with its Serve online payment service in March 2011.
These services have the potential to become a big hit with the parents of college students. Parents are understandably nervous about handing off a credit or debit card to a young adult who’s just starting to learn how to manage money. E-wallets enable parents to easily underwrite college purchases while maintaining some control and avoiding worry that their progeny’s card may get lost or stolen.