Hear the words “factory floor” and the image of assembly lines and the manufacturing of physical products immediately comes to mind.
Not anymore – or at least not when the Visa Commerce team uses those words. The Visa team, according to SVP of Issuer Processing, Todd Brockman, has been hard at work on the “apps factory floor” creating the Visa Digital Commerce App, an issuer-branded mobile commerce solution that will allow financial institutions to customize and deliver their own branded mobile app for their customers to use.
The Visa Digital Commerce App launches today.
Brockman told Karen Webster before the launch that the inspiration for the Visa Digital Commerce App was pretty straightforward: Visa wanted to put the power of issuer-branded digital credentials in the hands of issuers and onto the mobile home screens of their customers.
Visa Digital Commerce App, he said, will not only open the door for a deeper digital engagement between FI and their customers but he hopes, shift the conventional thinking about how to transact in a digital world. The Visa Digital Commerce App is not a “wallet” but a “thin app focused on commerce” – essentially digitizing Visa-branded cards in an issuer-branded experience.
THE MOBILE COMMERCE TEMPLATE
Brockman describes Visa’s role in creating the Visa Digital Commerce App as that of an “app factory” – creating a variety of features and functions that issuers can chose to enable based on their branding and configuration elements and what they think will resonate with their customers. Those features can include real-time account information, token services, notifications and alerts, as well as advanced fraud services like mobile location confirmation.
Brockman noted that though the hosted service is called “Visa Digital Commerce App” internally and with clients, it’s truly the issuers’ solution and branded as such to their cardholders.
More than 40 financial institutions have already signed up and are implementing the Visa Digital Commerce App to expand their mobile capabilities, many of whom, Brockman said, will enable app-to-app linking with their current home banking app as part of a multi-app strategy.
But for cardholders with Android devices, financial institutions can take it one step further.
Financial institutions, Brockman said, will be able to enable their own “[Insert Bank Name Here] Pay” service, where Visa becomes the token requestor on behalf of the issuer to facilitate contactless payments at any store that supports Visa’s NFC solution.
“We are enabling many issuers in the U.S. to rollout their own branded mobile tokenized contactless pay solution, which is quite complex to do,” Brockman said, adding that the role of Visa is to do the “heavy lifting” in making instore mobile commerce experiences a reality.
THE SMART DIGITAL CREDENTIAL
Though the Visa Digital Commerce App solution officially hits the market today, Brockman said there’s already a roadmap in place to strengthen and enrich the capabilities it offers to issuers.
“Visa Digital Commerce App also enables easy enrollment into Visa Checkout, which becomes a platform for the issuer as they look at loyalty, offers and card lifecycle management,” Brockman noted, adding that the solution also empowers cardholder to set up and manage their own preferences and controls.
Though the solution enables consumers to have cards stored inside the app, Brockman was clear that labeling Visa’s Digital Commerce app as a “mobile wallet” would be a mistake.
“It’s not a wallet, it’s a digital commerce platform that enables a variety of features and other value-added services,” Brockman explained, including, he said, peer-to-peer payments, loyalty and rewards integration and digital issuance and re-issuance capabilities. Brockman said that the goal is to take into account the entire card lifecycle and match the needs of a consumer who is on-the-go and digitally connected, but also wants the full benefits of using digital credentials.
But where digital payments have been lacking today is being a very consistent utility that can be used across channels, like the plastic cards consumers can use everywhere today. Without the certainty that a credential can be used anywhere and everywhere, the everyday consumer is left with too much friction and confusion hopping from one digital app and “wallet” solution to another.
Visa’s Digital Commerce App solves for that, Brockman said, by being the place “where it can all come together.”
Future-Proofing The Digital Experience
As the proliferation of new digital products and services continues, finding solutions that truly work for both issuers and consumers may have more to do with how these offerings fit together rather than being able to tout a long list of features.
Brockman explained that this is why it took the approach they did when creating the Visa Digital Commerce App – it was architected in a way to accommodate whatever innovative use case or technology may come next.
“There’s a lot of that may surface in the next six months we may want to integrate into the platform, whether that’s through APIs, Visa SDKs, or even third-party SDKs,” he said. “We can incorporate those into the Visa Digital Commerce App in a highly configurable, scalable way, so that as issuers demand it and want it rolled out we can respond.”
Though it may be easy for issuers to feel worried about staying competitive and not getting left behind in the quickly changing sea of payment offerings, perhaps their greatest risk is not having a valuable, secure digital credential that consumers actually want to use – and can use – everywhere they want to shop.
Brockman believes Visa’s Digital Commerce App is a path forward to that “digital nirvana.”
“It’s about commerce and experiences – it has to be seamless, it has to be elegant and simple,” he said. “Ideally, this will be something issuers can offer their cardholders to keep them engaged, and really deepen that overall relationship that issuers have with their customers.”