Say Hello to V Pay

It looks like the days of Visa Delta are numbered, as Visa Europe has quietly taken the wraps off its new debit card brand, V-Pay, in Germany.

The first banks to issue the new V-Pay cards will be Germany's DZ and WGZ co-operative banks in the New Year, says Visa, with the V-Pay brand being designed to compete head-to-head with MasterCard's Maestro debit card brand.

The gameplan with V-Pay is to make the card brand a lot stronger than Delta, with V-Pay becoming as popular, if not more popular, than Maestro on a global basis.

The branding is also expected to be used for the Visa Wave generation of RFID cards, which Visa is planning to roll out in the UK and across Europe during 2007.

A key feature of V-Pay will be the ability to use the debit card in any of the Euro countries on the same basis as at home, with cardholders able to spend and use ATMs without surcharge.

This is a major step for debit cards in Europe, as even Maestro cards tend to be surcharged on an out-of-home-country basis.

Although Visa isn't saying, it's logical to assume that the V-Pay brand will be supported by a new European Visa debit card infrastructure that allows transactions to be processed in real time.

To do this will take a lot of fancy footwork on the part of the transaction processing networks, but Visa claims that, from January 1, 2008, the V-Card brand will make all but the smallest cash transactions redundant across most of Europe...