Reinventing payments in a fast-forward moving world

We all now live a digital lifestyle. Our world today - meaning our businesses, lives and behaviors - is increasingly dependent upon and defined by technology that evolves at an astonishing speed.


CATALIN CRETU

CATALIN CRETU

GENERAL MANAGER at VISA EUROPE SERVICES INC. - REPREZENTANTA

In this new era of convergence between the online and offline worlds, with Big Data and identity management being both opportunities and challenges, customer expectations are escalating at the same time: consumers are becoming ever more discerning and demanding regarding security, accessibility and personalized services.

 

Fuelled by mobile and digital technologies, payments is an area also evolving at speed. The inner link between technology and payment industry is charted by a recent report launched by Visa Europe, The Future of Technology and Payments, which shows that the speed of technological advances and consumer expectations are the primary drivers of the evolution of the payments industry.

 

For Visa, this is just the confirmation of something that was envisioned long ago. In the last decade we saw intelligence and connectivity become embedded on a large scale; identity, location or past behavioural data be used to anticipate and respond to customer’s needs and desires. We saw the future coming, and that’s why we have invested over €1 billion in new technology and infrastructure over the last six years - so that we could make payments faster, smarter, more convenient and more secure than ever before, thus improving the customer experience and helping retailers grow their business.

 

In other words, we reinvented payments, we reinvented our business. While strongly believing that cards will continue to be at the heart of our business for years to come, our vision, called The Future of Payments, was outlined in 2011 and spoke about a new challenging but rewarding era, defined by a new generation of payment products and services: mobile, digital and contactless.

 

We are proud that in such a short time we were able to deliver our promises. Contactless and mobile payments are already here, as they are key to one of the major requirements of our time: mobility. Sixty-nine million Visa contactless cards have been issued and over 1 million terminals now accept contactless payment in Europe. We expect this trend to grow to the point where, in 2020, we expect 50% of Visa transactions to be made via a mobile device and 1 in 3 consumers in Europe to use the digital wallet V.me by Visa. To deliver this we continue to invest in new capabilities, establish new lines of business and forge new partnerships with mobile network operators and device manufacturers. For instance, Vodafone and Visa joined forces to enable consumers to pay for goods and services using their mobile phones. As part of Visa’s global strategic alliance with Samsung, all of Samsung’s next generation NFC mobile devices will ship with a Visa ‘payWave applet’. Pre-installed in the factory by Samsung, the applet enables Visa card information to be securely stored and managed within a smartphone’s Secure Element. It's a huge step that shows how important the synergies are between the payment and the technology industries in order to provide the customers with a better payment experience.

 

Along with partner Monitise, Visa Personal Payments has been launched. A new service that allows consumers to make payments to others using their mobile phones – represents yet another way we’re developing new ways to pay and be paid using mobile devices. It’s already here too with 28 live or committed issuers across Europe.

 

While being innovative and implementing our vision of the future of payments, we have also delivered a solid business performance: use of Visa payment continued to increase as a result of customer’s confidence in the quality and security of our products and services. There are 470 million Visa cards in Europe and €1 in every €6.75 spent is on a Visa card. A new milestone was reached in 2012, when total debit card spending surpassed €1trillion for the first time.

 

These are powerful figures, nevertheless the success of our busines is defined by numbers only if these translate into consumers’ trust. That is why we are so proud that Visa Europe has been chosen by customers the most trusted brand of credit cards in Europe for the fifth year running and for the eighth year in Romania. For us, this is the most accurate and looked for measure of our success. It is not only a great accomplishment but also a huge responsibility that we are committed to honoring further on, as it is customers’ trust that makes us stand out in an industry where trust really makes the difference.

 

Looking back, most of our success is due to keeping innovation at the core of our business. We are happy to see that our innovative products and services soon become part of our customers’ day-to-day life. That makes us move forward, continuing to use cutting-edge technology to address today’s needs and anticipate tomorrow’s wishes of our customers, looking for new ways to bridge technology and business and creating the next generation of payment solutions.

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