Visa: Pioneering a Cashless Revolution

Craig Hinkley, CEO, VisaCraig Hinkley, CEO Every morning, Nicole Smith takes a brisk walk from Illinois subway to the Divvy station. With a simple swipe of her Visa card, she then unlocks her Divvy bike and rides the last mile to her workplace. This environmentally sustainable bike sharing system creates an efficient network with several possible combinations of start and end points. The bikes are $1,200 and they do not take cash. Here, electronic payments are used to receive a ride code to unlock the bicycle and the trip ends when the bike is securely returned to any Divvy station. This also insures against theft.

Over thousand miles away from Chicago in Metepec, Mexico, Maria Porcayo is on the move to connect her grocery store to the global economy. Maria chooses an easy and customer-friendly method to serve new clients every day. Mexico is home to thousands of small-scale grocery stores and represents half of the retail commerce in the country. To enable thousands of these stores to accept electronic payments for the first time, Visa partners with the largest bakery in Mexico. Embracing diversity and serving millions across the world, Visa the global payments technology company works toward enabling consumers, businesses, banks and governments to use digital currency effectively.

Having started the first online transaction with a pepperoni pizza order in 1994, today nearly 29 million online transactions take place all over the world through Visa. Being an integral part of the history of online commerce from the very beginning, this public company uses innovative products to bring about a positive change. Visa serves as a payment product platform used by banks to develop debit and credit cards programs for their individual and business clients.

A Cashless Revolution

Visa’s simple and unwavering vision can be traced back to 1958, the year that Bank of America introduced the first consumer credit card program for middle-class consumers in the U.S. However, it did not take long for the company to grow. The firm expanded internationally in 1974 and established its first debit card in 1975. By 2007, businesses around the world were merged to form Visa, Inc and the firm went public, the following year. Today, the company operates in more than 200 countries and territories with payment solution available on any device. Visa’s innovative array of solutions for merchants, including Visa Checkout, Visa Ready and Visa payWave, makes it easier for merchants to adopt new payment solutions that meet Visa standards.

VisaNet: The Global Payments Network

The advancement in digital technology has welcomed several trends in the financial landscape over the years. e-money accounts with linked debit and payment cards are available as a popular alternative to traditional banking. According to The Nilson Report a newsletter covering the payment systems the total payment cards in circulation worldwide will exceed to 20.56 billion by 2017.

The promise of Visa is that we provide reliability and security and payment guarantee for every single transaction. Behind the promise is a network

The shift to electronic payments has driven to an increased economic growth, thereby connecting commerce and customizing it to the consumer needs using VisaNet. Being the most advanced electronic payments network, VisaNet is dedicated to providing consumers, businesses, and governments with a user-friendly way to pay and be paid. VisaNet connects more than two billion cards processes over 150 million transactions every day. “Visa harnesses the power and reach of VisaNet to deliver a promise of security and innovation by connecting over 14,000 financial institutions, with over 36 million merchants, which does not include an estimated five million mobile point of sale that exists across the world,” explains Charlie Scharf, CEO, Visa. VisaNet also supports all aspects of the electronic payments including access and acceptance, transaction processing, and business intelligence. It is a scalable solution that not only serves as a catalyst for a whole economy, but also drives growth and enables control.

In addition to offering reliability, adaptability, and innovation, this flexible and dynamic payments network offers the freedom to customize products and services and features so that businesses, banks, and nations can create payment solutions.

A Pathway to Economic Empowerment

With the ongoing access to Visa innovations, companies have powerful opportunities to build competitive advantage. Organizations can drive growth with the power of VisaNet by using the network to not only streamline and simplify spending, but also to stimulate sales through new services like real-time offers. As a result of transaction on the network, extensive data is available enabling companies to gain greater spend visibility and business intelligence. This in turn improves decision making and customer service.

Visa’s technology expertise and drive to bring the convenience of electronic payments has helped the company to connect thousands of financial institutions worldwide. With multiple synchronized data centers around the world and thousands of secure end points on every continent, VisaNet also ensures economic empowerment. “If you think about VisaNet and the number of individuals that it touches every day, the best opportunity that we have for the future is to be able to take up that raw capability and push it into some of the new emerging channels, whether mobile or ecommerce,” says Una Somerville, Global Head of Client Support Services, VisaNet.

With increasing number of mobile online shoppers, companies today are also beginning to use biometric technology including finger print scanning and facial recognition. According to Juniper Research, there will be 770 million biometric authentication apps downloaded annually by 2019. This technology not only brings convenience but also proffers unique forms of security and identity verification.

Visa has incorporated a mobile wallet feature in their devices, in association with Apple. Using this, Visa cards can also be used by connecting it to the iTunes account or even Apple watch. With a simple touch, users can simply check out the Visa card both in-store and mobile wallet apps. “Visa check out is a fast, simple, and intuitive payment experience that allows consumers to pay for goods online on any device with just a few clicks,” says Scharf.

Connecting Merchants across Time Zones

In a single second, 13,000 global transactions flow across Visa’s global network, connecting millions of people and merchants across time zones and cultures. “The promise of Visa is that we provide reliability and security and payment guarantee for every single transaction. Behind the promise is a network,” says Manny Trillo, Head of Global Transaction Services, Visa.

"Visa check out is a fast, simple, and intuitive payment experience that allows consumers to pay for goods online on any device with just a few clicks"

Over the years, Visa has helped several financial institutions solve their challenges and achieve their dreams through their nimble solutions and services. For instance, a large financial institution based in the Middle East recognized that its premium customers had a strong need for reliable execution of card-based cross border transactions. The customer was also seeking to minimize on invalid declines on such transactions. In order to solve the challenge, the client engaged Visa Performance Solutions an advisory business arm of Visa to review cross border debit and credit transactions and developed an updated authorization strategy. Visa’s solution approach included reducing authorization hold time instantly, implementing a real-time fraud score-based decline process, enabling biller notification messages during product upgrades and expanding credit card shadow limits. As a result, the client achieved an eight percent increase in credit and nine percent in debit approvals. This translated to improved customer experience and incremental purchase volume.

By improving the lives of people across the globe every day, the company believes that more people can benefit from what Visa has to offer. “This space is all about innovation and collaboration and we have only begun,” Scharf asserts.

“I believe we have the potential to bring financial services to huge chunk of the world’s population and if we can achieve a portion of that goal, we would have done something innovative for economies on a large scale,” exclaims Rick Sewell, Operations Manager, Visa. Moving forward, Visa will continue to work with partners to monitor the progress with innovations in payments. Committed to improve performance and profitability of each of its financial institution partners, the firm is also focused on shifting to innovation in mobile, biometrics, and other ways in which the customer is authenticated.

In November this year, the company also announced that it is excited about acquiring Visa Europe thereby creating a single global economy with unmatched scale, technology, and services. “Overall, it’s a multi-year process and that’s certainly what’s to be expected,” concludes Stephanie Ericksen, VP of Global Risk Products, Visa.

- Aishwarya Kannan
    December 11, 2015