Visa is launching a global payment system that would let people pay for goods through their cellphones, the credit-card company said Monday.
The new system, announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, is aimed at Visa credit-card issuers and cellular phone service providers.
Visa says it believes the new product will help spur the development and delivery of the so-called electronic wallet.
"Visa has long realized the importance of the mobile channel to the future of payments and as a medium to deliver to consumers," Patrick Hauthier, Visa's senior vice-president of innovation, said in a written statement.
The first stage of Visa's plan will let people make payments by passing their cellphones near a special reader.
Unlike a credit card, the system would eventually enable users to make mobile payments without any physical interaction with the vendor. Similarly, the system will let people make payments remotely, perform direct person-to-person exchanges and enable vendors to offer digital coupons on cellphones.
Visa said it would make contactless payment, personalization of mobile services, coupons and marketing features available at launch, and would roll out the full set of functions over time.
The payments company teamed up with a long list of partners to create the payment system, including IBM, Nokia and Verisign.
There was no immediate word on when the system would be up and running for consumers.