Visa Digital Focused on Partnerships, Acquiring Tech Talent

  • Ian Kar
  • August 8, 2014
  • 1

VisaOneMarket_visalabsEven payment giants like Visa get nervous about digital disruption in financial services.

With the release of Visa Checkout, which replace’s the company’s product, and Visa’s posh new Innovation Lab in San Francisco, it’s clear Visa is determined to be a player in digital payments. The company is also looking to work with partners to create the best services possible for customers. 

Visa has been about developing relationships with partners since its earliest days, said Brad Greene, VP of digital solutions in developed markets. But now, Visa has to develop products for a new kind of partner:
Historically, financial institutions have been Visa’s traditional partners. Financial institutions have found it fairly easy to engage with Visa — they know how we work, how we engage, and how we collaborate. If you think about where commerce is headed, it’s really headed towards mobile & digital, new experiences developed by merchants, manufactures, app developers, and innovators. Those sort of partners, unlike financial institutions, aren’t as familiar on how they can engage with Visa and honestly, we weren’t the easiest to engage with in prior model. Our new innovation center and new collaboration models are really designed for nontraditional partners to make it easy with Visa… to use platform and innovate on top of our assets and capabilities…it’s our mindset.
The new Visa Innovation Lab in San Francisco is intended to foster these new partnerships and make them even stronger. Greene said Visa picked San Francisco not only because there’s “no stronger hotbed of tech and innovation than San Francisco” and work more closely with partners, but that they hope to attract more tech talent from Silicon Valley.
“We’ve got a lot to offer,” Green said. “We can provide talented people the opportunity to shape commerce for the next 50 years, just as Visa has for the past 50 years. Visa led the movement away from cash and check decades ago to adopt the debit and credit card system we use. We now have the same opportunity to do the same, to shape digital commerce the same way.”
With a rumored Visa-Apple partnership on the horizon, Visa is also trying to convince tech companies that they should use Visa’s clout, brand, and platform for payments. How? By selling Visa’s massive worldwide reach, according to Greene.
If you look and the power and reach of our network its really mind-blowing. We have 35 million worldwide merchant partners, 2 billion card holder accounts, and we work with over 15,000 financial institutions. Not only that, but we have the ability to process over 100 type of currencies in over 200 countries.
There are a lot of innovators that are working hard on enhancing commerce experience. In most cases, these parties represent partners rather than competitors. We want them to understand the value and reach or our network and write on top of our platform. We want to expose our network, so they can consume it and use as the rails so that they can build on top of it. It’s a great opportunity for partnership and collaboration.
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