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The Green Sheet Online Edition

May 09, 2016 • Issue 16:05:01

Visa unlocks innovation

Visa Inc. launched two initiatives designed to improve transaction times and accelerate innovation. The Visa Developer platform, released Feb. 4, 2016, opened the company's technology suite to software developers worldwide. Quick Chip for EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa), launched April 19, 2016, enables chip card transactions to be completed in two seconds or less.

"Visa is advancing a streamlined approach to chip transactions to make them faster and more efficient, while still providing a safe and secure experience," said Mark Nelsen, Senior Vice President of Risk Products and Business Intelligence at Visa. "Quick Chip for EMV helps make the checkout experience comparable to the ease and speed of magnetic stripe transactions." Quick Chip is all about speed, not only in checkout lanes but in the U.S. transition to secure EMV chip card technology, according to Visa representatives. More than 265 million Visa credit and debit chip cards have been issued to cardholders, making the United States the world's largest chip card market.

Faster EMV checkout, adoption

Visa revealed the Quick Chip for EMV program during the Electronic Transactions Association's Transact 16 conference in April, noting the software upgrade is free to acquirers and can be implemented with a simple software update. Additional program benefits Visa pointed out include:

  • Streamlined processing: Quick Chip-enabled terminals allow chip cards to be inserted and removed while items are being rung up, speeding the consumer checkout process.
  • Interoperability: Once installed, Quick Chip technology works with all cardholder verification methods, including PIN and signature, and does not require modifications to routing or transaction handling.
  • No additional testing: Quick Chip does not require additional Visa or EMVCo testing if a merchant's checkout system has already been EMV chip certified.

Visa sandbox, developer goldmine

The Visa Developer platform marked the first time in 60 years that app developers could use Visa's software libraries, application programming interfaces (APIs) and technology suite to build their own solutions, leveraging such technologies as person-to-person payments, Visa Checkout, currency conversion and consumer transaction alerts. The sandbox environment improves transparency and accelerates innovation, the company stated. "We are unbundling Visa's full suite of products and services and giving developers open access to the underlying payment capabilities," said Rajat Taneja, Visa's Executive Vice President of Technology. "We believe this will lead to the creation of entirely new commerce experiences with Visa technology integrated to enable greater security, scale and convenience when it comes time to pay."

In addition, Visa noted that its developer engagement centers in major markets such as San Francisco, Dubai, Singapore, Miami and São Paulo link application developers with subject matter experts; its developer web portal streamlines search functions within the company's suite of payment products and services; the company provides access to API libraries and software development kits for popular payment products and capabilities; and its testing sandbox facilitates a plug-and-play experience and access to Visa test data.

Positive pilot feedback

Feedback from pilot partners Capital One Financial Corp., TD Bank N.A., Total System Services Inc., U.S. Bank, Scotiabank and National Australia Bank has been positive.

"Their exciting new APIs allow us to deliver next-generation products and services that our issuing, acquiring and merchant clients can use to grow their businesses," said Craig Ludwig, Head of Product for TSYS' Merchant Services segment. "By implementing Visa's new technology, we will be at the forefront of payment product innovation."

Antony Cahill, NAB Group Executive, Product & Markets, added, "Australians are among the world's fastest adopters of new technologies and our partnership with Visa enables NAB to act more quickly to deliver market-leading innovations and great experiences for our customers."

More collaboration planned

Visa anticipates its global developer platform will create a marketplace where financial institutions, merchants and technology companies can share innovative approaches to digital commerce applications and services; the result will make payments secure, simple and seamless for consumers and business owners.

An April 25 study published by Mercator Advisory Group, titled The Visa Developer Platform: Opening the Gates to Innovation, defines Visa's approach as a payments industry game changer that may lead to similar initiatives. "Visa turned the model upside down," noted report author Tim Sloane, Vice President, Payments Innovation at Mercator. "Instead of developers trying to prove themselves and get permission to program on Visa's network, they can collaborate with Visa developers to identify and execute their best ideas."

Sloane also stated that Visa has implemented tokenization technology in different ways in different regions, which has enabled the company to build shareholder growth while increasing market share across the payments industry value chain. "They're moving into areas that they were never in before and providing many services for free, at least for today," he said. end of article

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