Visa Lays the Foundation to Transform Cross-Border Payments

Thursday, August 15th, 2019

Visa Inc. has taken the next step in expanding beyond card payments, furthering the company’s ambitions to launch a cross-border network. This network would leverage blockchain technology to help manage business-to-business transfers.

The network, called Visa B2B Connect, would start out with coverage of more than 30 so-called global trade corridors. The plan is for the network to then be able to handle as many as 90 by year’s end. The project has been years in the making, with the original announcement released back in 2016.

Visa is determined to accelerate business transfers by routing them directly from the originating banks to the beneficiary bank. The network’s technology – the distributed ledger technology – also tokenizes key banking details like account numbers in order to speed up and make transactions more secure.

“This lays the foundation for a service with the potential to transform cross-border payments,” said Sam Hamilton, senior vice president for data product development at Visa, in a statement.

Kevin Phalen, senior vice president and global head of Visa Business Solutions also commented that “By creating a solution that facilitates direct, bank-to-bank transactions, we are eliminating friction associated with key industry pain points. With Visa B2B Connect, we are making payments quicker and simpler, while enhancing transparency and consistency of data.”

How does the industry and experts view Visa’s ambitions? Observers say they see the network being successful if it does indeed live up to its promise of faster, less cross-border remittances. Because cross-border transfers are expensive and tedious, if Visa is able to improve them, industry experts feel that they will gain traction with Visa’s existing client base.
Visa’s initiative also positions the company to compete for payments outside of its traditional card market – a position it has been competing for with its main rival Mastercard Inc.

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