Sibos 2019: Visa’s digitisation tries to avoid “immediate displacement” of cash
Visa is trying to avoid “immediate displacement” of cash in its digitisation process so as not to disrupt the US population which is still heavily cash-based, says SVP global head of Visa Business, Kevin Phalen, at a Sibos round table in London.
Phalen admits “it’s a shame” that firms in his home country the US are still heavily cash-based, but assures the table that Visa is still supporting cash-based businesses and working with governments to help them digitise steadily in a bid to drive transparency.
Visa’s SVP global head of push payments, Bill Sheley, believes the rise of fintechs will accelerate cashless models by continuing to eat into cash spaces.
When it comes to smaller credit unions and banks across the US which may not be able to afford digital transformations to go cashless, Phalen says all of these firms typically use an aggregator which Visa plugs into, so not having investment for cashless innovation isn’t a problem according to Visa.
As for consumers who depend on cash flow, Sheley says Visa has been working closely with Uber to serve drivers with “on demand” electronic payments “within 30 seconds”.
Drivers can get paid instantly day-to-day via a Visa widget which Uber can integrate into its own platform. This ease of cash flow for gig economy workers is of paramount importance for Visa, according to Sheley, who is excited to see what else Visa can do to work with this demographic.
The roundtable also discussed Visa B2B Connect – its new cross-border payments network. When asked to explain how it differs from the existing model, Phalen said one of the big discerners is infrastructure. “The major difference is the fact our infrastructure is multi-lateral rather than bilateral” says Phalen. “You don’t have to hop, skip and jump through different stops. For that reason, we don’t see our competitors addressing infrastructure challenges.”