Visa CEO Charlie Scharf responded to the retailer-backed Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX)'s recent moves in mobile payments by pointing to the growth of Visa's V.me digital wallet, its penetration among merchants, and the fact that MCX's wallet still hasn't launched.
"We will continue to focus on what we are doing, which is to build tools for merchants to do business with us," said Scharf during a July 24 call to discuss the card network's earnings for the fiscal third quarter, which ended June 30.
Scharf faced questions about whether the merchant-driven mobile payments initiative has become a competitive threat to Visa's V.me digital wallet, which today is focused on e-commerce payments.
"We know what you know [about MCX], in fact you may know more. Our view is that we will learn as [MCX] continues to disclose what they are doing," Scharf said.
MCX recently hired former Barclaycard U.S. managing director Dekkers Davidson to be its CEO, and announced plans to work with FIS to speed processing and access accounts at a large range of financial institutions.
Dekkers' experience positions MCX to be strong competitor, said Richard Crone, a payments consultant, in an earlier interview.
"In the circles he's traveled, he's a rock star of mobile payments," Crone said. "He's one of the few people that has evaluated everything on the planet and has implemented mobile payments with real retailers."
V.me is expanding, Scharf said. It currently has 90 U.S.-based financial institutions as partners, including Bank of America, PNC and BBVA. "Some have started to market [the wallet] to consumers," Scharf said, and 253 merchants have signed agreements to accept V.me payments. "Many of [these merchants] will go live in the coming weeks."
V.me also recently expanded to Australia.
Scharf also discussed Chase Merchant Services, a joint project with JPMorgan Chase, saying the project is on track to come to market within the next few months.
"As we get into the next year, we should start to see some things in the marketplace and we will be in a position to evaluate what the benefits are," he said.
Overall, Visa reported solid earnings. Its fiscal third quarter earnings rose 16%, to $1.2 billion, over the prior year's adjusted results. Payments volume growth for the fiscal third quarter rose 9%, to $1 trillion, and total processed transactions through VisaNet rose 14%, to 15 billion, over the prior year. Visa's net profit was $1.22 billion, up from a loss of $1.84 billion a year earlier. Based on these trends, and partly on Visa's having already accommodated expense from Dodd Frank regulations under the Durbin Amendment, Visa raised its full-year revenue outlook from low double-digits to 13%. All other guidance remains the same, the company says.