IBM and Visa IoT platform will let you pay for things with nearly any device

17 Feb 2017

Cars could become payment devices at petrol stations using the new IBM and Visa platform. Image: rasika108/Shutterstock

IBM and Visa have launched a new IoT platform that will allow developers to put mobile payment technology in any connected device, from a ring on your finger to your car.

While the numbers vary, the estimated number of internet of things (IoT) devices on the market in the coming decades is estimated to be in the tens of billions, both at home and in industry.

One area that has really interested businesses is wearables, and the potential for using them as a means of contactless payment, such as the Apple Watch.

Now, IBM – using its Watson IoT platform – and Visa have announced a new partnership that will allow developers to put contactless payment technology in pretty much any connected device.

IBM and Visa said that developers could approach IBM to access the platform, which will be connected with the IBM Cloud in addition to Visa’s payment services.

The idea is that developers will no longer need to apply directly with individual IoT or banking providers to get access to mobile payments on their device, rather they can use a ready-built platform.

The pair also claim that security of a user’s banking details has also been taking into consideration, so that instead of relying on existing payments methods through a card’s 16-digit code, each device would come with a unique digital identifier.

Pay for petrol with your car

Potential benefit in the automotive industry is huge, where cars are rapidly becoming connected to the internet for entertainment, analytical and safety reasons.

Citing Gartner’s estimate that there will be 380m connected cars in the world by 2021, the team envisions that car owners will use the IoT platform to buy insurance on the go, or pay for petrol through a direct interaction between the car and the petrol pump.

“IoT is not only driving a more connected world, it’s changing the way we live, shop and pay, by moving data and the point of sale to wherever the consumer wants it to be,” said Jim McCarthy, executive vice-president of innovation and strategic partnerships at Visa.

“With the power of Watson’s cognitive technologies and IBM’s leadership in IoT and security, they are the ideal partner to help us deliver secure payments to ‘virtually anywhere’, and on the enormous scale of the IoT.”

Cars queueing at a petrol station. Image: rasika108/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic