Visa Direct Already a Match for Mastercard, VocaLink Merge, CEO Says

Faster payments? Done and done, Visa says.

Mastercard’s coming integration with bank account-based payments processor VocaLink will bring faster payments to Mastercard’s payments network in the United Kingdom, but Visa is not worried, according to company CEO Alfred Kelly, Jr.

VocaLink, which processes about 90% of salaries in the U.K., according to company statements, will bring faster payments directly into Mastercard’s network, going live with “fast ACH” in the U.S. later this year.

Visa has its own tools to compete in the faster payments space, Kelly noted during a conference call yesterday:

Well, in two words, Visa Direct. We have a fast payments push capability called Visa Direct, and it exists today and it’s working today, and there are many people using it today.

So, we’re absolutely committed to, and have the capability to, facilitate push payments and fast payments and don’t believe we need to acquire something to do it; we have the capability right on our network today.

In addition to its faster payment capabilities, Visa is also focusing its efforts on China—notably on crafting a relationship with payment giants such as Alipay and UnionPay. The focus will be on “fair” competition, according to Kelly:

…I personally believe that we should be fine with competition [with Alipay], it should make us sharper and better, but it must be on an even playing field. I’m going to do everything I can and working with our bank clients around the world to make sure that … the playing field is even.

The company is also focused on developing a relationship with AliPay competitor service UnionPay, as well as with the Chinese government, according to Kelly:

This is a long-term play and we need to be patient, we will be patient, thoughtful, and try to be as good listeners as we can to colleagues and the Chinese government, as to the best way to proceed forward.