Visa Europe adopts BT’s managed network
Visa Europe’s decision to place its internal and external communications networks into the hands of BT will help the firm to realise economies of scale and offer a more efficient service to customers, according to Chris Pickles, Head of industry initiatives at BT.
The payments processing giant was already using BT for data networking with its member banks – a task that covered 350 locations in 37 European countries. But it is now using BT’s managed services to connect to its entire network of 3,700 banks worldwide.
“Historically, financial services firms have tended to purchase components, and then build their own networks,” Pickles told Banking Technology. “But it’s actually cheaper for them if they let us handle it, because we have the scale to make it efficient. One network reduces complexity and cost – take the internet as an example. It works because you’re doing everything on a single network.”
The benefits that BT says will come from the deal include greater capacity and higher-speed connectivity, as well as lower costs. Pickles added that with the growth of mobile payments linked to credit and debit cards, end-consumers should face a better deal. A mobile payment based on a Visa card offers two possible advantages: safety and price incentives. The card provides purchasing protection and can be linked to loyalty points to be redeemed in retail stores, while the connection via BT could offer enterprising firms the chance to give clients a discount on their phone bill.
“Cloud is not just ‘the internet’ – it is an approach to computing in which the user and provider shares the same network,” said Pickles. “Visa Europe is bringing its internal intranet and its external connections to banks onto one network, linked by BT. The economies of scale you can get from breaking down those silos results in real savings.”
With Visa effectively adopting BT as a managed service provider for its entire communications, the firm is integrating voice and video networking into the system. Employees can use broadband and 3G mobile support and remote access services to access Visa Europe’s corporate network. The result is a setup that combines aspects of the public cloud and the private cloud – the internet, and BT’s network, respectively.
“This is where the BT network becomes a core part of the financial system,” said Pickles. “Using our network as a managed service helps banks deal with the rapidly increasing quantity of financial messages, which are doubling every nine months. Why have separate networks for payments and trading? It’s more efficient to just have one.”
Visa Europe processes €2 million in payments per minute, according to figures provided by BT.