Huge investments in P2P and real-time push payment gateways are often predicated on a vision for broader use beyond peer transfers — as Visa has found with Visa Direct in Canada.

The card brand has added B2C and B2B payments as options for Visa Direct in the country, where Visa Direct has been a P2P option for five years. Peoples Payment Solutions and TELUS Health and Payment Solutions will be among the active companies at launch.

Peoples Payment Solutions and TELUS Health's Health Benefits Management platform, powered by Visa Direct, will enable push payments directly into a customer's Visa debit account in real-time. This is designed to speed disbursements for patients who are, for example, submitting benefits claims from health care professionals, shortening it to instant reimbursement versus waiting several days to a week for payout.

Visa debit cards
Bloomberg News

Visa hopes to tap into a market for funds disbursement that's more than $1 trillion in annual payments in Canada, according to Aite Group.

"Expanding Visa Direct in Canada is an important milestone in our journey to transform the way consumers and businesses around the world pay each other," said Brian Weiner, vice president and head of product for Visa Canada, in a release.

Payment transfer services are pressured to find other avenues of expansion given the slow overall growth of P2P payments.

The bank-powered Zelle, for example, is diversifying by approaching retailers and adding corporate disbursements such as insurance claims payments. In the U.S., Visa Direct has found takers in the gig economy as both Visa and Mastercard use push payments to serve ride-sharing apps. In Europe, Visa Direct has partnered with WorldPay to support P2P and corporate disbursements.

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