Visa Europe has acquired a 15% stake in m-commerce company Mobile Money Network (MMN), a further signal of its intent to become a dominant force in mobile payments.

MMN is the company behind the Simply Tap mobile checkout app that we reviewed yesterday.

Simply Tap allows users to purchase goods via a smartphone using QR codes and image recognition technology.

As part of the agreement, Visa cardholders will get access to exclusive offers and savings through the app.

One of the issues we raised in our review was the need to encourage more merchants to sign up to Simply Tap to make it more appealing to consumers, and with Visa’s backing this should become a whole lot easier.

Visa has already said that it intends to trial a number of m-commerce initiatives in the UK this year to take the mobile shopping solution to a mass market.

The company’s European chief executive Peter Ayliffe said the agreement is another step in the delivery of Visa’s mobile payments strategy. 

Our investment in the Mobile Money Network will support our aim to deliver a wide range of secure and reliable mobile payment services that help our members tap into the potential of m-commerce.”

There are currently 130m Visa cards in circulation in the UK, and £1 in every £3 spent is carried out on a Visa card.

By 2020 the company expects more than half of all its transactions to be carried out on a mobile device.

Visa Europe will take a seat on the MMN board, which is chaired by former Marks and Spencer CEO Sir Stuart Rose.

Until now Visa’s mobile strategy has focused mainly on NFC technology.

Last week the company announced a deal to offer Vodafone customers a mobile wallet based on a prepaid account system, while in January it certified Samsung, LG and RIM smartphones as safe to use its payWave NFC technology.