VISA

Visa Hopes To Draw More SMBs Into Digital Payments With Its ‘Cashless Challenge’

Visa wants SMBs nationwide to go cashless. It also thinks better education about the benefits of doing so is the key to making it happen.

The multinational financial services corporation recently announced it is ramping up its educational efforts — particularly those directed at small restaurants — in hopes of offering a push toward the more efficient, cashless future.

“At Visa, we believe you can be everywhere you want to be, and that it should be easy to pay and be paid in more ways than ever — whether it’s a phone, card, wearable or other device,” said Jack Forestell, head of global merchant sales and solutions for Visa. “With 70 percent of the world, or more than five billion people, connected via mobile device by 2020, we have an incredible opportunity to educate merchants and consumers alike on the effectiveness of going cashless.”

Supporting that educational effort, the world’s largest card network is announcing the Visa Cashless Challenge. The program is looking for small businesses in the restaurant segment — restaurants, cafés, food truck owners and more — to describe what going cashless means to their businesses from a management, customer and employee standpoint. Additionally, Visa will choose 50 of those participating SMBs to receive a $500,000 award for their efforts.

Visa will also be promoting its cashless push at the first-ever Formula E race in Brooklyn, the New York City ePRIX. Visa will be the official payment partner of Formula E and offer cashless, digital payment acceptance at the event.

“To Visa, a cashless culture means convenience, security and ease of use,” said Forestell. “That translates to freedom for consumers and merchants alike. The Formula E race is the ideal backdrop because just as Formula E is bringing the future to racing, Visa is bringing the future to payments.”

The promotion will also be carried forward at various New York restaurants. Fish Cheeks, 2nd City and Mulberry & Vine will all be offering their customers cashless experiences during the ePRIX race weekend.

More SMBs going digital is good news for Visa. But, according to the firm’s internal studies, it is also good for both small businesses themselves and for the cities that host them. According to a soon-to-be-released study by Visa, if businesses in 100 cities transitioned from cash to digital, those cities stand to experience net benefits of $312 billion per year.

The same Visa study found New York City-based SMBs were missing out on $6.8 billion in revenue a year by not switching from cash to digital — not to mention costing themselves more than 186 million hours of additional labor. Switching to digital, according to Visa, could add up to $5 billion in annual costs savings for businesses in New York.

A similar story will be told in cities around the world, Visa noted, when it releases the report to the public later this year.

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