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Visa opens access to payments platform

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Visa  has launched its Visa Developer, which it believes will transform the retail payments network to an open platform that will drive innovation in payments and commerce.
For the first time in the company’s nearly 60-year history, software application developers will have open access to industry leading payments technology, products and services by Visa.
The new Visa Developer platform is designed to help financial institutions, merchants, and technology companies meet the demands of consumers and merchants, who increasingly rely on connected devices to shop, pay and get paid.
At launch, the new platform will offer access to some of Visa’s most popular payment technologies and services including account holder identification, person-to-person payment capabilities, secure in-store and online payment services such as Visa Checkout, currency conversion and consumer transaction alerts. Visa plans to provide access to more of its payment capabilities over the next year.
“As the leader in payments we have an opportunity to transform global commerce by opening-up access to our global network and supporting our clients, industry partners and innovators in their pursuit of creating new, easier and more secure ways to pay,” says Charlie Scharf, CEO of Visa. “Visa Developer represents not only a new access point to our network, but a new distribution platform for Visa products and services globally.”
Over the past few months leading financial institutions, technology companies, and start-ups have participated in beta trials of the new Visa Developer platform and many have already created innovative prototype applications using Visa technology. Trial partners include Capital One, CIBC, Emirates NBD, National Australia Bank (NAB), RBC, TD Bank, Scotiabank, TSYS, U.S. Bank and VenueNext. According to a recent Accenture study, FinTech investments reached more than $12B globally in 2014.
The creation of the Visa Developer platform has been a multi-year initiative led by Visa’s global product and technology teams. The team is transforming Visa’s payment products and services into application programming interfaces (APIs), standard technology used by developers for building software and applications.
Key attributes that differentiate Visa’s global developer programme include:
* A globally accessible developer portal offering an easy way to search Visa’s extensive suite of payment products and services.
* An open platform that provides access to hundreds of Visa APIs and software development kits for some of Visa’s most popular payment products and capabilities.
* A testing sandbox that offers application developers a plug and play experience, as well as access to Visa test data.
* Visa Developer engagement centers that are designed to foster collaboration and co-creation with application developers in key markets like San Francisco, Dubai, Singapore, Miami and São Paolo.
“We are unbundling Visa’s full suite of products and services and giving developers open access to the underlying payment capabilities,” says Rajat Taneja, executive vice-president of technology at Visa. “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. When you add the ability to distribute those new experiences across Visa’s global network, you can see why Visa Developer will become the preferred playground for developers everywhere.”
Gilles Ubaghs, senior analyst: financial services technology at Ovum, comments: “The recent launch of Visa’s Developer platform marks a significant shift for the global payments network, and indeed the broader digital payments space. With a host of API’s offering a full mix of payment functionality, all built on Visa’s underlying core network, Visa is opening up its full capabilities directly to the broader digital ecosystem while cementing its place in the future of payments.
“While many legacy bank players have been hesitant to see Visa as primarily a technology company, rather than a network provider, Visa Developer will significantly extend its reach to app developers of all varieties, from startups through to technology giants,” he says.
“The explosion in growth for payment providers such as Stripe and Braintree has provided a broader shift in thinking in the payments space, with a focus on developer friendly tools, that are flexible and easy to deploy. Whereas traditionally, the choice of payment provider was largely an accounting and finance issue, developers have now come to the fore as key decision makers in payments. The API-fication of payments will continue to gather momentum, and has the potential to lead to a significant increase in new payment services and functionalities.
“By providing the tools for developers in start-ups, and indeed amongst major enterprises, this ultimately helps protect Visa from the risk of disintermediation.”
Ubaghs says that, while the brand visibility of Visa will likely fall into the background in some deployments, the company will nonetheless form the backbone of these services.
“This will help to ensure transaction volumes remain high in an increasingly cardless world, and keep Visa at the centre of the digital payments ecosystem. This also means that newer Visa services, such as tokenisation, and P2P push payments can spread more rapidly to a wider end user base than may have been possible on a traditional bank by bank approach.
“Perceptions are slowly changing as Visa expands its technological services and offerings, but Visa Developer’s direct appeal to the developer community gives it scope to circumnavigate existing bank partners and significantly increase its role in the broader digital payments market. By expanding its positioning, particularly in terms of live deployments and on the ground offerings, this will help to speed up its strategic realignment with its core bank partners.”