Visa has become the official payment technology partner of Hudson Yards, a massive, newly-built residential, retail and restaurant development in New York City, in a deal that will allow Visa to offer contactless payment options and promote a variety of "only at" payment experiences for Visa users at the property, according to a Visa press release.
A new 28-acre neighborhood on Manhattan's West Side, Hudson Yards features a retail complex with the city's first Neiman Marcus, more than 100 shops and restaurants, and 4,000 residences, as well as a restaurant collection curated by Chef Thomas Keller.
Visa described the development as a showcase for the speed and convenience benefits of contactless, single-tap payment technology, which according to the company's own VisaNet data from September "is becoming the preferred way to pay around the world with more than 40 percent of Visa domestic transactions" outside the U.S. happening via contactless card payment.
Contactless card payment already is frequently happening in brick-and-mortar stores all around the world — just about everywhere except in the U.S. Some U.S. retail chains recently have started to broaden their acceptance of contactless payments through mobile smartphones (For example, CVS and 7-Eleven just started accepting Apple Pay), but adoption has occurred relatively slowly in the U.S.
Visa is hoping to change that, and this announcement with Hudson Yards is only the latest step in its effort. The card network previously launched a major promotional campaign to boost contactless payment, and in the company's most recent earnings report, Visa CEO Alfred Kelly predicted there would be more than 100 million contactless cards in circulation by the end of 2019, according to a report from Digital Transactions.
The sponsorship deal with Hudson Yards gives Visa a new opportunity to spotlight the benefits of contactless payment. Not only will stores and restaurants in this vast complex accept contactless card payments, but a major component of the relationship is Visa's plan to offer unique "only at Hudson Yards" payment experiences and benefits. It remains to be seen what those experiences may consist of, but they'll likely be built to stoke more interest in contactless payments among the consumers who live in and visit Hudson Yards.
Becoming an official partner with Hudson Yards also seems like a great way for Visa to put itself front and center with a group of consumers who presumably are big spenders given the offerings. That means a likelihood of larger and more frequent contactless card transactions than Visa might see elsewhere. Overall, Hudson Yards gives Visa something that's hard to pass up — a captive audience for a new payments technology that needs greater acceptance from U.S. stores and consumers if it's going to succeed.