“India is one of the focus, priority, strategic markets for Visa worldwide because of the sheer potential for hyper-growth. But many things have to be in place for us to realise the full potential,” group country manager Sandeep Ghosh told TOI. The biggest opportunity that Visa sees in India is to provide value-added payment services to businesses which are now increasingly moving to online platforms for transactions with suppliers and distributors. The company is also working on enabling card payments using the existing QR code network for low-value payments. The move comes even as it pushes for developing contactless or NFC-based payment systems.
Visa has invested millions in building data storage systems in India, giving it a lead over Mastercard, which faces restrictions on onboarding new customers. “If we define the world as the world of cards, there is a situation now where our competitor is not in a position to issue new cards. But that is not the way we see the world. We see the world as digitising rapidly with many payments which are not on the card rails. The opportunity is to embed cards for different payment flows happening in the country,” said Ghosh.
Traditionally, the use of cards for business has been limited to payments to entities that are already accepting cards. With many businesses now using e-commerce platforms to deal with suppliers as well as vendors, Visa sees an opportunity to provide card solutions.
“There are constructs that can be used to pay them as well, where there’s minimal change management from a supplier standpoint. They continue to get money directly into their account, so they don’t have to set up PoS (point-of-sales) devices,” said Ghosh. What has helped onboarding businesses for card acceptance is that there are now fintechs who can onboard them without effort.
According to Ghosh, contactless payments did get a boost during the pandemic, but card control regulations require contactless to be explicitly enabled by the cardholder. Despite having been launched in India six years ago, contactless payments in India are still at 16%. Whereas globally in countries such as Singapore, Australia, the UK and Hong Kong, contactless transactions have moved to well over 85%, driven by the use of cards in public transport.
“We are working with partners to enable cards to be an option while scanning a QR code to make payments. This will enable them to use the card to make the payment directly without first using the card to load your wallet and make it a two-step process,” said Ghosh. Currently, credit cards can be used to make payments scanning Bharat QR codes.