Visa Is Coming For Your Car, Partnering with Sirius XM to Tap In-Car Digital Payments

January 9, 2019, 1:03 AM UTC
Visa Card Payments Disrupted Across Europe
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 01: In this photo illustration a selection of Visa cards are laid out on the table on June 1, 2018 London, United Kingdom. The Visa network has been disrupted across Europe, with payments failing while withdrawals still appear to be working. (Photo illustration by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
Leon Neal — Getty Images

First cars became computers on wheels. Soon they’ll be wallets on wheels, as well.

Visa, the world’s largest credit card company, wants to be among the first to cash in, announcing a partnership with Sirius XM at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week to allow drivers to perform a wide range of transactions from their seat.

Scheduled to roll out to automakers later this year, the e-wallet uses software from both Visa and SiriusXM to locate and pay for coffee, gas, parking, movie tickets, and more in a seamless transaction that doesn’t distract the driver from the road.

“My goal is to bring you these conveniences and keep your hands on the wheel at the same time,” Olabisi Boyle, vice president of IoT platforms at Visa, told Fortune.

The partnership will help Visa plant a flag in the digital payment ecosystem, establishing virtual payment systems across its network of retailers. In-vehicle commerce represents the next profitable growth area for Visa as it learns how to scale and commercialize the technology, Boyle said.

Meanwhile, Mastercard said on Monday it would remove its name from its logo in order to position itself as a payment company and distance itself from the idea of a physical card.

Visa will provide the financial infrastructure and authentication for the e-wallet. SiriusXM will aggregate data and personalized content across its network.

The goal is to create a payment system that’s as easy to use as a smartphone, Boyle said. “To have drivers saying to themselves, ‘You know what, I’ll just use my phone,’ is exactly what we don’t want people to do in the car.”

The credit card company said that its expertise in security will help drivers feel safe making digital transactions. Visa will use biometric authentication, like voice and touchscreen commands, and its Visa Token Service, which allows an extra layer of security for payments.

“We already have that security DNA that we have to protect people’s plastic cards,” Boyle said. “Now we’re moving that into digitization.”