American payments major Visa has made a strategic investment in a local start-up LISNR, which utilises ultrasonic data transmission to facilitate mobile payments.

The two companies also agreed to a commercial partnership to utilise the ultrasonic technology for retail payments this year.

Subsequently, Visa and LISNR plan to expand the usage of the technology to mobility, transportation and ticketing verticals.

With LISNR’s data over audio technology, merchants and payment providers can accept mobile payment data across several touchpoints. It includes scan-and-go, store pickups, pay zones, POS, home-based e-commerce and voice-enabled purchases.

LISNR CEO Eric Allen said: “LISNR is a better method vs. alternatives like NFC or QR codes for mobile payments globally, it decentralises payment scenarios across a wide range of payment moments with advanced data protection, ability to transact at a distance and concurrent transactions – all which are designed to accelerate payments overall.”

LISNR was formed in 2012 to develop a device and platform independent protocol for transmitting short communications.

Building on this idea, the company developed the ultrasonic platform as a payment medium. Currently, LISNR plans to make this medium a new payment standard from next year.

LISNR is located in Oakland and Cincinnati. Besides Visa, it counts Intel, Jump Capital, Mercury Fund, R/GA, and Synchrony Financial as investors.

Last week, Visa partnered card issuing platform Marqeta to support its expansion in the Asia Pacific region. The collaboration will allow Visa issuers to build, test and launch digital-first card programmes in 10 Asia Pacific markets.