E-Commerce sales on the Visa network in the U.S. surpassed $1 billion 188 times during the first nine months of the 2013 (out of 273 total days), a 16% increase in volume over the same period last year, the card network reports.

As more people make payments through a PC or mobile browser — and more companies outside the payment market seek to get in front of those sales — Visa, which handles 48% of global e-commerce transactions, is pursuing multiple partnerships with the goal of improving security and reducing friction for credit and debit card sales.

"A few years ago e-commerce would have been carved out as a category that is new and unique. But more and more it's a mainstream category of transactions," says Sam Shrauger, global head of digital for developed markets at Visa, in an interview.

As part of the growth in e-commerce volume, 27% of smartphone users and 24% of tablet owners have used their mobile device to make a purchase in the past 12 months, according to a Visa survey.  

For Visa, "the focus there is actually pretty simple," he says. "We want to make transactions through the mobile device on an e-commerce site as simple and safe as any transaction mode that people use today."

He noted the openness of Visa's V.me digital wallet, which can handle e-commerce payments from any card brand. Visa is expanding V.me, and the card network has signed nearly 300 merchants in the U.S., with about 60 currently live. It plans to also expand to new international markets. "We have done a lot of work on V.me," Shrauger says.

Visa, of Foster City, Calif., is also working with MasterCard and American Express on a project to replace account data with secure tokens for online purchases. The networks are seeking other collaborators on the token project, which is expected to be in development for at least a year.

"The payment system is an ecosystem and any evolution in payments is going to require cooperation and collaboration, and that is exactly what we hope to facilitate by starting this process," Shrauger says.

Visa also reported more than half of the respondents to the company survey indicate they are more comfortable spending money online today than they were five years ago; and indicated they do most of their online shopping while at home or after work, though respondents under the age of 35 are more likely to shop online at work or during class.

Thirty percent of consumers said they would like to use their smartphone to pay for public transportation, 26% would pay for gas, 22% for parking meters, 20% for person-to-person payments and 19% to leave tips.

Fifty-seven percent say that digital wallets already have, will or may replace a physical wallet in the next five years — but 43% say they do not think digital wallets will ever take over.

"What this represents is a growth in adoption of technology that is behind this, smartphones and tables are growing at a pretty torrid pace, and transactions are migrating to those channels," says Shrauger.

Shrauger, who was recently promoted to his position, joined Visa in December to as its global head of commercialization. He was previously an executive at Yahoo and, prior to that, worked at eBay's PayPal unit on the integration of its Bill Me Later, an instant credit provider eBay purchased in 2008

Subscribe Now

Authoritative analysis and perspective for every segment of the payments industry

14-Day Free Trial

Authoritative analysis and perspective for every segment of the industry