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InfoMerchant - Universal Commerce

The convergence of industry, technology and communications has plunged us into a dynamic economic environment. New e-commerce and mobile commerce capabilities are bringing us closer together and empowering individuals as never before. At Visa U.S.A., we see these changes as heralding the emergence of "u-commerce" - universal or ubiquitous commerce, where the traditional barriers of time, geography, currency and access will erode and eventually cease to exist.

U-commerce is not a trend that will occur some time far off in the future. Rather, it is real-time change that is happening today. U-commerce is the natural evolution of e-commerce and mobile commerce from "point of sale" to "point of convenience" - whether a transaction occurs in a store, in your home, on the street or even on an airplane.

In some ways, the future is closer than you may think. In the not-too-distant future, you may wake up in the morning and as you drink your coffee, a touch screen on the kitchen counter reminds you that a bill for some new furniture is due the next day. You hit several keys and transfer the required funds to make payment. Driving into work, the screen on your mobile phone tells you only a few vacant parking spaces are left at the garage where you work, so you reserve a space and pay for it at the same time. At lunch, your wireless personal digital assistant (PDA) pays for a hamburger at a local fast food restaurant. As you finish your meal, you use the device to scan movie listings for that evening. The foreign film everyone has been talking about is finally playing, so you use the PDA to reserve a ticket, feeling pleased that if the 7 p.m. show sells out you will still have a seat. On the way home that night, you're low on change for the bridge, so you insert your smart Visa card into the slot at the bridge tollbooth. And to make all this possible, Visa has developed the payment infrastructure that will link devices, banks, merchants, and consumers, serving as the underlying mechanism behind all of these kinds of transactions.

Sound farfetched? So did booking an airline reservation online several years ago.

While the changes that lie ahead are impossible to predict, many analysts believe we are only beginning to comprehend how expanding connectivity will change our lives. What we now call the Internet is perhaps the tip of the iceberg, with far greater changes to come in the decades ahead. Just as Visa responded to the needs of the marketplace when the promise of new channels of commerce emerged in the past, so it stands poised to continue to ensure that opportunities afforded by expanding connectivity and increased mobility are realized by providing a safe and secure environment for commerce. - Visa Newsroom


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