2015 & beyond: How Visa is driving the future of payments

Hadi Raad, Head of Emerging Products and Innovation at Visa CEMEA

Hadi Raad, Head of Emerging Products and Innovation at Visa CEMEA

Hadi Raad, Head of Emerging Products and Innovation at Visa CEMEA (Central Europe, Middle East and Africa), describes how Visa is breaking new grounds with its vision to keep consumers connected in a global village by constantly developing and innovating fast and simple ways for everyone, everywhere, to be pay and be paid easily and securely.

Imagine being stuck in traffic after work, and hungry, wondering how long it will be before you can get home and prepare dinner. Familiar? Now what if the car you were driving allowed you to order your dinner – and pay for it – AND notify the store to keep your food ready for when you whizz by. Sounds like something in the future? Not quite. What you just read is the Connected Car commerce experience that Visa, in conjunction with Pizza Hut and Accenture, unveiled at the World Mobile Congress (WMC) in Barcelona earlier this year. Led by Visa, the “Connected Car commerce experience” combines cutting-edge payment security and payment convenience with mobile and wireless technologies that turn an ordinary vehicle into a frictionless mobile payment machine.

For those of you who attended the Middle East Banking Innovation Summit in Dubai this September, you would’ve experienced the Connected Car for yourselves.

While the connected car concept is based on being able to order food on the move from a fast food restaurant, Visa Checkout – one of the components of the connected car concept – can work in many other every-day situations such as fuel, parking and vending machines.

Visa’s commitment to innovation is driven by the need to uphold Visa’s vision of building digital acceptance structures globally. With the expansion of eCommerce and new technologies, consumers want convenience and security when purchasing their goods. Visa Checkout – a recent Visa innovation – does just that.

Visa Checkout is a quick and easy payment service to pay for goods online, on any device, in just a few clicks. Since its launch in the US in July this year, response has been exceptionally positive.

We polled people who had actually used Visa Checkout and 95% of them felt it was very easy to transact with it and 96% felt it was very secure[1].

Visa Checkout is 22% faster than a traditional online checkout process. We believe because of the ease and convenience, conversion rates from customers who browsed to those who bought those items are 66% higher than when they use traditional payment methods. Coupled with the fact that an average Visa Checkout average transaction size is 7% higher, these all point to how people will use a technology that makes sense to their needs and which in turn increases online and mobile sales for merchants.

We recently launched Visa Checkout in both the UAE and South Africa, and apart from our other global markets, there are plans to roll out the service to seven additional markets within the Central Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMEA) region in 2016. More issuers around the world are also offering Visa Checkout. In the UAE, for example, Mashreq, Emirates NBD, Majid Al Futtaim Finance, Dubai Islamic Bank, and Emirates Islamic Bank are all offering Visa Checkout to their cardholders to enable fast, secure online shopping from anywhere.

While Visa Checkout is making strides in new markets, another of our new innovations – Visa’s Token Service – is fast becoming a global standard for enabling digital experiences. Launched in September last year, the Visa Token Service aims to keep online and mobile payments safe and seamless. Tokenization replaces sensitive payment account information (such as the 16-digits found on plastic cards) with a digital account number or token. Allocating a token or unique code to an online or mobile payment reduces the risk of fraud because the technology in its simplest terms does not allow sensitive data to pass through Visa’s secure network.

Partnering with device players is critical to enable simple payment experiences. Visa’s Token Service underpins Apple Pay and Samsung Pay – neither of these two innovations would be what they are without tokenization. It’s the finest example of security by design.

In addition, Visa Token Service makes it simpler for issuer banks to launch their own mobile payment service. We’re excited about the potential of Visa Token Service powering digital payment experiences, and have already started supporting our partners in CEMEA, starting in the UAE, in their tokenization journey. Through our work with several issuing banks across the region, consumers will be able to use their mobile devices securely and conveniently for in-store payments, whether through their bank’s own mobile apps or eventually third party wallets.

More recently, we announced Visa Digital Enablement Program (VDEP), which builds on our secure Visa Token Service technology and adds a turn-key, toll-free commercial framework. The program connects Visa issuing banks to current and future digital wallet providers without the need to directly contract with a multitude of different vendors.

Through VDEP, financial institutions, merchants and technology companies can drive growth through a simple, scalable commercial construct with no pass-through fees between technology partners and financial institutions. Google, with its Android Pay payment solution, is Visa’s first international program partner in VDEP.

In August, Samsung also joined VDEP. By joining this program, Samsung will be able to ensure financial institutions can offer Samsung Pay in a convenient and scalable manner, which will ultimately help accelerate the availability of Samsung Pay for consumers around the world.

Visa transactions initiated from a consumer device using Android Pay or Samsung Pay will work at any merchant that accepts Visa payWave contactless payments. Issuers will need to sign the VDEP Agreement to use the Visa Token Service to participate in Android Pay, Samsung Pay, and other third-party solutions as they become available, or to enable their own issuer-branded mobile payment apps.

With the expansion of Visa’s Digital Solutions, where does that leave the humble credit card? Could plastic be facing extinction? While the Visa Token Service and Visa Digital Enablement Program are paving the way for electronic payments, many consumers to date still rely on plastic for in-store payments.

While plastic cards are still the main way people transact electronically, the humble plastic card has also evolved. In-store payments are changing with the greater acceptance of contactless payments. Our research indicates that Visa payWave contactless technology is 60% faster than chip signatures and 42% than using a PIN[2]. Contactless payments are growing at triple digital rates in several CEMEA markets, and popularity is growing. For example, Visa payWave already represents 20 percent of transactions in Georgia.

Visa is striving to find the balance between scalability and simplicity. As part of our commitment to innovation, Visa is constantly analysing the market to create products and services that meet the changing needs of consumers. At the same time, however, innovation is not about being bigger and better than our competitors but about continually making the payment journey simple and safe for our customers. Creating a product that adds value to a customer’s life is what dictates how we innovate at Visa.

[1] Millward Brown Visa Checkout Customer Experience, March, 2015; commissioned by Visa. Based on data from an online survey of 1,241 U.S. consumers.

[2] Study by The Leading Edge, commissioned by Visa and conducted in 2010 in the Metropolitan Sydney area, Australia.

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