Visa has added a new partner in its quest to simplify, digitize and drive costs down in the global remittances space with its real-time push payments platform Visa Direct. Visa Direct has been used to process 2 billion transactions in 2019, a number it is looking to grow in 2020. Visa Direct was designed to make sending money “as easy as sending a text message,” as opposed to the status quo consumers and small businesses are stuck with around the world: manual, paper-based processes, high fees and a lot of opacity around the when of how of the money flow.
And, as of today (Dec. 10), the Visa Direct ecosystem of remittance partners will be getting larger, as global payment technology firm TransferWise has announced it will be joining the team and offering its customers a new capability to quickly and securely move money to debit cards in real time, globally.
“TransferWise is on a mission to move money around the world in a cost efficient, quick and transparent way,” said Kristo Käärmann, CEO and co-founder of TransferWise. “Integrating Visa Direct further eases the transfer process and brings us another step closer to achieving our mission.”
The Visa Direct-powered service will launch with TransferWise in Spain to start, with plans to follow on in Romania, Hungary, Czech Republic and Bulgaria. The broader goal will be to take the Visa Direct-enhanced offering and work with the card network to scale its offering throughout Europe and worldwide in 2020.
“Technology is bringing us closer together, yet there are still challenges that it hasn’t solved when it comes to individuals and small businesses moving money around the world,” said Bill Sheley, global head of Visa Direct. “The TransferWise collaboration is the latest addition to Visa’s efforts to help our clients enable individuals and small businesses to send and receive international payments quickly and securely by utilizing the power of Visa Direct.”
The additions to Visa Direct have been many and myriad of late. Earlier this year the firm acquired Earthport, one of the world’s largest independently operated ACH networks. That addition, taken in combination with Visa Direct, will allow users of the push payments service to send payments instantly to anyone on Earth with a bank account all through a single access point. Visa has also sought to collaborate with a host of financial institutions, technology partners and remittance leaders to further broaden the utility and accessibility of the Visa Direct Network. Additional partners include EMQ, MoneyGram, and Remitly.
"Essentially, we are trying to answer a very simple question,” he said, “which is ‘how do you want to get paid?’ We are building this universal API that sits on the front end and, depending on where you live, you can answer that question a number of different ways. I can put a card credential in, I can put an account credential in, I can put a wallet credential in — and, now, the Visa network will be able to fulfill on all of those, and be able to move the money,” Sheley told Karen Webster in a conversation about the Earthport acquisition last spring and how Visa views the future of the global push payment landscape.