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Visa’s mobile payments blitz continues with support for bank apps

Visa is strengthening its stronghold on mobile payments with the introduction of the Digital Commerce platform, which offers financial institutions such as Webster Bank and PNC Bank the ability to roll out their own consumer-facing apps.

The new commerce app aims to give participating banks and financial institutions the resources needed to create their own mobile offerings with card management services. The Visa Digital Commerce app already has more than 40 institutions – ranging from Old National Bank to PNC Bank – on board, showcasing the influence that card networks’ payment solutions can have on the banking sector.

“One of the key benefits of the Visa Digital Commerce App is that it supports tokenized, contactless mobile payment on Android devices,” said Todd Brockman, senior vice president of Visa issuer processing and enablement at Visa Inc. “However, it is much more than that. This is a mobile card app and acts as a companion to a physical consumer card.

“It is designed to extend the value of the issuer’s Visa card products,” he said. “It can be a complement to an issuer mobile banking app, co-existing on a user’s mobile device, allowing issuers to easily offer a broader range of valuable services. Additionally, Visa Digital Commerce app will support app-to-app linking to enable a cardholder to easily access the issuer’s mobile banking app from the Visa Digital Commerce app and vice versa.

“The Visa Digital Commerce app helps issuers rapidly deploy a branded, innovative, digital commerce application to their cardholders that is secure, and cost-effective, with a focus on design and user experience.”

Serving clients and cardholders
Issuers can leverage the Visa Digital Commerce app to provide a suite of services to consumers, including card controls, alerts regarding recent transactions and possible fraudulent activity, real-time account balance details and secure tokenization solutions.

The app, which functions as a hosted service, was designed to streamline the delivery of a plethora of card management tools while offering a roadmap for participating institutions to deploy enhancements and new features.

Issuers will be able to keep their brand at the front and center of their respective apps while tapping Visa’s proprietary tools. More than 40 United States-based institutions already use the Visa Digital Commerce app.

They include First Financial Bank, KCT Credit Union, Old National Bank, PNC Bank and Webster Bank, among others.

The app is also available to Visa’s go-to-market channel partners as well as its processor.

The institutions are able to cherry-pick the tools they would like to implement within their own apps, a capability that makes them better-positioned to accurately cater to cardholders’ needs.

For example, Affinity Federal Credit Union rolled out the Affinity Card app, which enables its customers to more easily manage and use their cards.

Meanwhile, PNC Bank has leveraged Visa’s service to launch SmartAccess, a prepaid reloadable app that functions as a standalone offering for its prepaid customers.

Banks have increasingly been under pressure to maintain a strong mobile presence. According to a recent report from Adobe, mobile banking is struggling to grow in the United States compared to other countries as millennial and Gen X customers focus on the quality of a bank’s app when deciding where to do business (see story).

On a payments-centric roll
Visa’s Digital Commerce app is the latest product in the company’s rapidly-expanding repertoire of mobile commerce solutions that also includes a token service and developer platform.

The recently-launched developer platform, which offers third-party companies the ability to sift through hundreds of commerce-related APIs, indicates the brand’s desire to one-up its competitors in the mobile payments space by creating a massive network of partnerships (see story).

The card network has also innovated within various checkout methods for smartphone shoppers.

Pizza Hut, Virgin America and Fandango are among the brands leveraging Visa Checkout’s new spin on mobile payment checkout buttons that allows shoppers to make a purchase by swiping, reflecting growing interest in swipeable commerce.

Additionally, Visa is hoping to drive a resurgence in interest for wearables by rolling out a payment ring allowing athletes at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games to make purchases by tapping the accessory against any NFC-compatible terminal (see story).

Taking out a strong stake in the mobile commerce sector is a smart move for Visa, especially as consumer usage of mobile wallets continues to rise.

Individuals wary about using a third-party payment service may feel more comfortable leveraging a wallet powered by their financial institution, a notion that lends more credence to banks and credit unions introducing their own apps to meet these preferences.

“As the digital world grows, consumers are expecting very personalized experiences,” Mr. Brockman said. “In a recent Javelin Research & Strategy, ‘What’s In Your Mobile Wallet?’ report, consumers stated they would be 51 percent more likely to use a wallet offered by their primary financial institution.

“The Visa Digital Commerce app allows our issuing partners to provide that experience and features to keep consumers connected – from something as simple as ‘flipping a switch’ to turn a card on and off – to transaction and balance alerts and ATM locator services to fingerprint authentication and mobile tokenized contactless payments on Android devices.”