Visa to let users send money using only recipient's email address or mobile number

International credit and payments company Visa Inc. on Wednesday announced eligible U.S. customers will be able to send funds to each other's Visa accounts, whether credit, debit, or prepaid, with as little information as their e-mail address or mobile phone number.

This new personal payments service was made possible by "technical enhancements" to Visa's global payment processing network, and the creation of a new transaction type. When the service goes live, it will compete with the likes of PayPal and Square.

Visa on Wednesday said this program will be able to expand to include any banks utilizing the Popmoney and ZashPay Person-to-Person payment platforms from CashEdge Inc. and Fiserv Inc.

"Working with Visa allows us to deliver payments to even more consumers, more quickly and deepens the relationship that member financial institutions have with their customers," said Erich Litch, division president, Digital Channels, Fiserv. Five hundred banks and credit unions are already using ZashPay, and more than 700 have signed up to offer it.

Visa customers will be able to send funds directly from their bank account to a recipient's Visa account simply by entering the recipient's 16-digit Visa account, email address or mobile phone number. Visa did not say in its announcement on Wednesday how much each transaction will cost the user.

ZashPay, for example, costs the user 75 cents per transaction, but Popmoney does not currently have any user fees.

Visa Personal Payments will go live in the second half of 2011 for U.S. customers.

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