Viewpoints

Visa’s Blog – Visa Viewpoints

PERSPECTIVES ON DIGITAL CURRENCY

Jun 17, 2013

Fundamo

Enabling the Future of Payments Through VisaNet

Technology continues to transform payments and it is changing the way consumers all over the world shop, pay and get paid. The advent of the Internet, mobile phones and social networks has started an unprecedented expansion of the payments ecosystem and ignited a series of innovations. From eCommerce and cross-border remittances, to mobile wallets and acceptance devices, consumers never before had so many options on how and where to transact.

As the consumer shopping experience evolves, so does the backbone technology that enables transactions from all over the world to be authorized in less than a second and settled to the penny every time. VisaNet, our global payments network, is an integral part of this backbone. It connects more than two billion debit, credit and prepaid accounts to nearly 15,000 financial institutions and 36 million merchant locations in more than 200 countries around the world. In its data centers, more than 82 billion transactions in 175 currencies are processed yearly, representing US$6.5 trillion in total volume.   

For more than 50 years Visa’s network has played a key role in reducing cash spend across the globe. When we started as a pilot in Fresno, California, in 1957, we could not imagine that electronic payments would turn into one of the best success stories of the 20th century. Today, it is hard to imagine a world without them. From a cup of coffee to a refrigerator, we pay for nearly everything with payment cards. They stimulate economic growth, reduce inefficiencies and benefit consumers, businesses and governments around the globe.

To stay one step ahead of the global adoption of electronic payments, we’ve continuously expanded and enhanced VisaNet. We have built and acquired secure payment gateways, such as Cybersource and Fundamo that enable merchants, financial institutions and mobile network operators to more easily connect to Visa and offer consumers innovative new ways to pay. From mobile offers and transaction alerts delivered via SMS text message, to mobile payments on the go and at physical retailers, the pace of innovation in the payments industry is exciting. However, we have an obligation to innovate responsibly, and ensure that the core attributes of security, reliability and trust in Visa payments applies to new forms of payments. Our goal is simple: Continue to be the best way to pay, for everyone, everywhere.

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Posted by: Matt Quinlan, Chief Technology Officer, Visa Inc. on June 17, 2013 at 1:51 pm

Feb 22, 2013

Visa Showcases Mobile Payments at Mobile World Congress 2013

Next week, Visa heads to Barcelona, Spain, for Mobile World Congress 2013, the world’s premier mobile industry event, where we will showcase the latest Visa offerings in mobile payments and digital wallets.  The event in Barcelona always proves to be a stage for true mobile innovation – and at Visa, we continue to collaborate with mobile operators, financial institutions, device manufactures and technology providers to transform the way people shop, pay and get paid.

We are truly making mobile payments and digital wallets a reality for consumers around the world.

Our schedule is listed below so please stop by the booth (Fira, Hall 6 – Booth 6E40) and view the latest technology offerings, or join one of our events.  We’ll also be tweeting and blogging (and posting videos) from Mobile World Congress, so send along your questions or comments on trends in mobile.

Visa Press Conference
Monday, February 25, 4:30 p.m. CET
Fira, Hall 6 – Stand 6E40
Visa mobile initiatives are scheduled to be announced during the press briefing, which will be streamed live.
http://livestre.am/1hLDm

Building the Ecosystem for NFC Services
Bill Gajda, Head of Global Mobile Products, Visa Inc.
Monday, February 25, 2:00 p.m. CET
Fira, Hall 4, Conference Village, Auditorium 3
Visa’s Head of Global Mobile Products will discuss the current state of NFC, as NFC services are continuing to be rolled-out by mobile operators, payment providers and handset manufacturers across the world.

Visa and GSMA to Launch mWomen Research
Aletha Ling, Chief Operating Offer of Fundamo, a Visa company
Tuesday, February 26, 12:00 p.m. CET
Fira, Hall 4 – Conference Village, Room CC1 – 1.5)
Visa and GSMA will release a new five-country study, “Unlocking the Potential: Women and Mobile Financial Services in Emerging Markets,” offering insights on how mobile financial services can better support the complex financial lives of women at the base of the pyramid.

Retail Therapy; Enhancing the Shopping Experience through Mobile
Sandra Alzetta, Senior Vice President of Mobile for Visa Europe
Wednesday, February 27, 4 p.m. CET
Fira, Hall 4 – Conference Village – Auditorium 3
Visa’s Senior Vice President of Mobile for Visa Europe and industry experts will discuss the latest uses of mobile technology in the retail environment.

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Posted by: Lucas Mast, Visa Corporate Relations on February 22, 2013 at 1:58 pm

Dec 11, 2012

Empowering Women through Mobile Financial Services: Stories from the Field

Today, half the world’s adult population (2.5 billion) lacks access to basic financial services – the majority of which are women.[1] With the rapid spread of cell phones, mobile financial services offer a unique opportunity to help close this gender gap.

At Visa we’re working with banks, governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to provide the financially underserved with secure, reliable and affordable financial services at scale. To that end, Visa has partnered with GSMA’s mWomen Programme (GSMA) and Bankable Frontier Associates (BFA) to understand the wants and needs of women for mobile financial services in Indonesia, Kenya, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, and Tanzania.

Mobile technology in the hands of women can provide access to life-enhancing services, but studies have shown that there is a demonstrated gender gap in mobile phone ownership and usage. In Pakistan, for example, only 12 percent of the total population has a bank account, and those who do are primarily men. In contrast, mobile phone usage hovers around 70 percent. This research will identify how to bridge that gap – connecting women to the mobile financial services they desperately need to enter the financial mainstream.

To learn more about women’s banking experiences in Pakistan, watch this video from the field and visit Mobile Payments Today for a guest contribution from Fundamo’s Aletha Ling and GSMA’s Chris Locke.

To read more about Visa’s commitment to financial inclusion and its mission to be the best way to pay and be paid, for everyone, everywhere click here.


[1] Half the World is Unbanked, Financial Access Initiative

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Posted by: Douglas Sabo, Visa Corporate Responsibility on December 11, 2012 at 8:52 am

Nov 15, 2012

The Economist Delves Into the “War of the Virtual Wallets”

Hailing the recent commercial availability of V.me by Visa as “another milestone on the journey to digital cash” the Economist provides an overview of the major players and landscape in the digital wallet space in “War of the Virtual Wallets“, including perspective from Visa’s global head of eCommerce, Jennifer Schulz.

While noting that the competition in the virtual wallet space is white-hot, the article asserts that Visa is well-positioned as the battle intensifies.  Some Visa-specific statistics noted in the article to support this prediction include:

*More than 2.3 billion Visa cards in circulation

*Over $8 billion in total Visa credit, debit and prepaid transactions processed in 2011

*Significant technology investments and acquisitions in developed markets, including V.me and Square

*Strategic investments in developing and emerging markets, including Monitise and Fundamo (a Visa company)

*Strong relationships with large member banks, including 50+ supporting V.me

Please click here to read the entire article.

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Posted by: Ryan Donovan, Corporate Relations on November 15, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Nov 12, 2012

Open Mobile Summit: One Minute With Visa’s Michele Janes

This week, luminaries from the mobile industry met in San Francisco for the annual Open Mobile Summit.  From 4G to mCommerce to the future of mobile devices and mobile advertising, a broad range of topics were debated by some of the leading representatives in the mobile space.

One topic that  was covered in great detail was the future of mobile payments.  Continuing a conversation that held recently at Money2020 Visa’s Michele Janes joined panelists from PayPal, American Express, Google and Home Depot to provide perspective and strategies for addressing this important subject.  Moderated by analyst Greg Sterling, the panel titled “Wallet Wars: Mobile Payments From Theory to Practice” discussed a wide variety of issues including important elements for mobile payments adoption and how companies like Visa are working with mobile operators to offer solutions to reach the world’s unbanked.

We caught up with Michele following the conference to get her insights into Visa’s efforts to bring mobile payments to consumers in emerging markets.

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Posted by: Lucas Mast, Visa Corporate Relations on November 12, 2012 at 8:46 am

May 9, 2012

Celebrating 10 Years of Banking the Unbanked

Ten years ago today the world’s first mobile financial service in a developing economy went live. Launched by Celpay in Zambia in 2002, and powered by Fundamo, a Visa company, the pioneering service ushered in a movement that has revolutionized the way financial services reach unbanked and under-banked populations.

As the mobile financial services community celebrates 10 years of banking the unbanked, we wanted to take a moment at Visa to recognize the progress that has been made. In 10 years, 100 million people have been newly “banked” using mobile technology. That forecast is expected to double over the next two years.

Celpay International now provides mobile financial services to consumers and corporate customers. Since its launch, Celpay has processed in excess of $2 billion in mobile payments, expanded into Zimbabwe and Uganda, and counts global brands such as SABMiller, Total and BP as customers.

Those numbers underscore the importance of the work Visa is doing in developing economies to expand the opportunities mobile offers. Visa and Fundamo now offer consumers new payment types and services that are secure and interoperable with existing closed-loop mobile money services. New payment types included global and domestic remittances, eCommerce purchases, and ATM withdrawals.

Most importantly, today’s milestone gives us the chance not only to look back on successes, but also forward to the opportunities ahead. Today, 2.5 billion adults lack access to formal financial services, and have to piece together an array of costly, risky, and inconvenient cash-based options.

While the last 10 years have seen tremendous progress, our hope is that 10 years from today we’ll celebrate even greater momentum.

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Posted by: Hannes Van Rensburg, Head of Fundamo on May 9, 2012 at 11:42 am

Nov 30, 2011

Visa Joins Public-Private partnership to Help Close the Mobile Phone Gender Gap

Visa is proud to join a new partnership to improve the lives of women in developing countries. Announced today, the GSMA mWomen Global Development Alliance brings Visa together with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and GSMA Foundation in a partnership to close the gender gap in access to mobile phones and the life-enhancing services they can provide. The partnership’s goals include reducing the mobile phone gender gap by 50% and enabling an additional 150 million underserved women in developing countries to own and effectively use mobile phones and their services, including mobile financial services.

Today, half the world’s adult population—2.5 billion people—lacks access to basic financial services. An estimated 70% of the financially underserved are women. Being financially excluded means relying on cash, where a simple task like paying a bill or receiving money from a family member can be risky, costly and time consuming. Financial exclusion also reinforces the cycle of poverty and slows economic growth. And women in developing economies often bear the greater burden of these impacts.

Mobile technology already is demonstrating the potential to change that. By 2012, 1.7 billion people are expected to own a mobile phone but will not have a bank account. Around the world, we already have begun to see the power that mobile technology can have in extending the reach of digital currency, providing the unbanked with tools for payments and other life-enhancing financial services and bringing new participants into the global financial system. This is, in part, why Visa has been investing in mobile, including our recent acquisition of Fundamo and the launch a new product tailored to the needs of consumers in developing countries— a prepaid account that can be accessed through a simple menu on a mobile phone.

Yet, while mobile financial services offer an unparalleled opportunity to advance financial inclusion, there is a global gender gap in mobile phone ownership and usage, with women 21 percent less likely to own a mobile phone than a man. The only way mobile will help improve the lives of women at the base of the pyramid is if we work to close the mobile phone gender gap.

The partnership announced today further strengthens our commitment to advancing financial inclusion not only through product innovation, but also by partnering with some of the world’s leading organizations to better understand the challenges of the financially underserved, share our payments expertise and support programs that deliver basic financial services. We look forward to sharing developments from this partnership as it progresses.

For more information and the official press release, click here.

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Posted by: Douglas Sabo, Visa Corporate Responsibility on November 30, 2011 at 6:34 am

Nov 16, 2011

Visa Marks Two More Milestones in Delivering the Next Generation of Payments

Six months ago, we announced our global innovation strategy to deliver the next generation of payments.  Today, we’re introducing two important building blocks in that effort: opening Visa to developers via the Visa Developer Center – including the introduction of the V.me by Visa digital wallet brand and global acceptance mark – and the new Visa Mobile Prepaid product designed specifically for consumers in developing countries. These milestones reinforce Visa’s ongoing efforts to give consumers more places and ways to pay and be paid, as well as provide financially excluded consumers with secure and reliable financial services.

Embracing the Developer Community

With the Visa Developer Center, we’re standing behind our belief that some of the most innovative ideas for the future of payments will come from leading-edge software developers. We’re arming the developer community with the tools to build person-to-person payment capabilities, domestic and international remittances, and other applications by providing access to Visa tools, API’s, documentation, and code.  Visa is also improving access to the separate developer resources of CyberSource, Authorize.Net, PlaySpan, and the new V.me digital wallet.  We’re excited about the future innovations 3rd party developers may conceive through the Visa platform, and look forward to payment applications not yet imagined today.

Our First Joint Visa and Fundamo Product

After acquiring Fundamo just over five months ago, Visa is introducing its first jointly developed product: the Visa Mobile Prepaid product.  The new product, a Visa prepaid account that can be accessed through a simple menu on a mobile phone, enables consumers in developing countries to send and receive funds, make purchases online or at merchants where Visa is accepted, and withdraw money at ATMs.  It brings Visa’s high standards for security, reliability and interoperability to consumers who have lacked access to formal financial services. The product is the result of a new mobile money platform that connects financial institutions and mobile network operators with VisaNet.

Stay tuned for additional progress in the weeks and months ahead.

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Posted by: Jim McCarthy, Head of Global Product, Visa Inc. on November 16, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Jun 16, 2011

What the Industry is Saying about Monitise and Fundamo

Last week, Visa announced that we were not only extending our relationship with Monitise, but that we were acquiring Fundamo, a leading provider of mobile financial services for network operators and financial institutions in developing economies.

At the time of the announcement, we stressed that these investments directly supported our global strategy, which will allow us to deliver the next generation of mobile payments to consumers all over the world.  It is one thing for us to say it, but we are glad to hear industry analysts and experts agree.

  • On Yankee Group’s blog, Tole Hart cited the benefits of our relationships with Monitise and Fundamo and how these companies give Visa “An opportunity to expand its brand name and services in remittances, and double down in emerging markets for payment processing.”
  • Mary Monahan of Javelin Strategy commented on the “nice synergies” between Visa and Fundamo. She also noted that, “With a ‘land grab’ going on among the emerging unbanked nations, it is vital for long-term players to get in on the ground floor and establish a brand presence from the get-go.” 
  • Bart Narter of Celent pointed out that the Fundamo acquisition is “A great way to get a toehold in emerging markets” adding, “There was no one better to buy than Fundamo.”

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Posted by: Ryan Donovan, Corporate Relations on June 16, 2011 at 10:44 am

Jun 9, 2011

VISA ACCELERATES NEXT-GEN PAYMENTS SOLUTIONS FOR MOBILE CONSUMERS

Last month, Visa announced  its strategy to provide the next generation of payments solutions for any stage economy.  At the time, we shared our plans for a sophisticated digital wallet that will first be available in the U.S. and Canada.  And today, we’re announcing two investments that help us accelerate the strategy reaching other consumers around the world.

Today, Visa announced  the acquisition of Fundamo and a new agreement with Monitise.  Both companies play important roles in extending electronic payments and services via mobile devices. Taken together, they accelerate Visa’s ability to bring financial services to banked and unbanked consumers worldwide.  This means that consumers – across the full spectrum of uses, geographies and mobile environments – can access basic financial services on a simple handset or more advanced services on a smart phone.

Fundamo brings a platform for Visa to deliver mobile financial services for unbanked and underbanked consumers in developing markets.  Fundamo is already delivering services like person-to-person payments, airtime popup, and bill payment in more than 40 countries – with Visa, these services can integrate with VisaNet, adding interoperability and utility with the potential to connect billions of people to each other and to the global economy.

And through our extended relationship with Monitise, we will expand delivery of mobile financial services to Visa banked account holders — enabling electronic payments on the go for those who are more likely to transact on a mobile device than in person.

These are two ways we are enabling consumers around the world to transact wherever, whenever they choose and in ways that meet their lifestyles – whether using a card, a computer, or a mobile device.
We know that different parts of the world have different needs.  We know that delivering access to financial services on a mobile device is critical, as well as complicated.  And, at Visa, we’re only willing to do it in a way that replicates the security, reliability and convenience synonymous with using a Visa card at a retail store.

To see this vision in action, please check out this video .

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Posted by: Bill Gajda, Head of Global Mobile Product on June 9, 2011 at 3:32 am