Last week Visa launched two interesting new products to help with payments between card holders in Europe.
While only available at the end of the year, the Multi Currency feature will enable cross-border payments to be sent and received, simplifying what Visa described as a complex and expensive process. Immediate Payments feature is available already in the UK with many more markets coming soon. The service will allow customers to receive money sent using Visa Personal Payments within a matter of minutes.
Visa Personal Payments is applicable for anyone with a credit, debit or reloadable prepaid card issued by Visa. Senders simply register for the service through their chosen bank, pairing an account with their mobile phone number.
Payments are then conducted through the bank’s smartphone app; RBS and NatWest were the first to support the service in the UK last month, although Visa boasts that their respective apps were downloaded 1.7 million times in the first two weeks as a result. In total, there are 17 “live and committed issuers” across Europe.
Consumers don’t need to be signed up to the service to receive money, however. Provided they have a Visa card, anyone can login online and submit a few basic details to retrieve the funds.
The number of smartphone apps supporting the service is relatively small at the moment, but Visa has big ambitions. There are 470 million Visa cards in Europe at the moment and over 1 trillion euros was spent on Visa debit cards alone in 2012, which should give some context as to the service’s potential.
We’re looking forward to these services in South Africa and to see take up Europe. Between the banks and card providers we’re seeing some great innovation in the realm of money.