Digital Payments

Faster Remittances App Uses Visa APIs, Takes Money20/20 Grand Prize

Visa-Backed App Takes Money20/20 Grand Prize

An app designed to speed up the remittance process, designed via Visa APIs, has taken a top honor at Money20/20 in Las Vegas. The win comes as instant payments and expanded remittance options gain more prominence in the world of payments and commerce.

A company called ViSync took the grand prize at the conference’s hackathon finals, according to Visa. The ViSync team, aiming to help send remittance payments overseas, created an app that, a Visa spokesperson said, can “simplify and improve the remittance process to help migrant workers send money back to their home country, including the ability to set controls on how money is spent by the receiver and to enable the receiver to become banked.”

In creating that app, ViSync developers employed Visa Direct and Visa Transaction Controls (VTC) APIs. The grand prize win at the conference marks the second year in a row that one of the top Visa teams advanced to those finals and took home the grand prize.

The finals featured 80 competitors in all, with total prize money of $100,000. Of those 80 teams, 47 used Visa APIs in their entries, the payment card network said. ViSync won a $15,000 cash prize and the right to “pitch in front of thousands and open up Richard Branson’s session” at the conference on Tuesday (Oct. 23).

Global Remittance Growth

The global remittance market is undergoing significant change, in large part due to digitalization and major deals. For its part, Visa over the summer announced a partnership with MoneyGram to deliver real-time digital disbursements to MoneyGram customers using Visa’s push payments platform, Visa Direct.

A main aim of the hackathon was to promote financial inclusion, which, according to Visa, includes such tools and features as cash-free solutions, credit, identification verification, and access to financial education and business skills. For the hackathon at the conference, participants own the rights to their work, though sponsoring companies may impose their own terms and conditions.

In other hackathon news, another top team that used Visa technology was Bank of America. The company won first place in the Visa Challenge for an app called InstaPay that, according to Visa, is designed to “digitize in-person cash checking transactions with check scanning and instant issuance of a Visa card to digital wallets.” That technology used Visa Identity Documents and Visa Checkout APIs.

PNC Bank, meanwhile, won second place in the Visa Challenge for its Visa Cares app, and placed in the top 10 overall at the Money20/20 event, earning $5,000. The software enables underbanked or unbanked consumers to get loans and build a credit history. That technology also used Visa Identity Documents and Visa Checkout APIs.

In third place in the Visa Challenge was Chase Bank, whose entry placed in the top five overall at the conference, good for a $15,000 prize. Its Money Clips app “proactively helps households and families manage their finances and savings by allowing users to create short- or long-term life financial goals,” Visa said. “The app enables users to set spending limits for specific categories and uses Visa Transaction.” The Chase Bank technology employs the Visa Transactions Controls API to restrict spending.

Visa hackathon events have produced a wide variety of tools for payments and commerce.

Earlier this year, for instance, the winner of the company’s inaugural Small Business Hackathon was Hermyz, a company set on using technology to guide small businesses away from paper checks and toward digitization. Christopher Phillips started the company after hearing of invoice management challenges from his mother, a small business owner. They communicated easily through Slack, the company told PYMNTS, so he had the idea of using the messaging platform to facilitate invoice management.

Such events serve almost as those fabled garages where young creators and entrepreneurs create the next big thing, and you never know which new app or other technology might catch fire.

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