Visa is putting a more global push behind Visa Checkout than it has in any previous attempt to create a universal digital wallet for e-commerce.
Checkout, which replaced V.me in mid-2014, is launching in 13 new countries in the coming months. It previously enabled payments in only the U.S., Canada and Australia. Visa will add the service initially for cross-border payments in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Hong Kong, Peru, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa and United Arab Emirates.
"We are going into these markets with cross-border transaction traffic and, at the same time, building out the local acceptance footprint and starting to work with local issuers to market and sign up consumers," said Sam Shrauger, senior vice president of digital solutions at Visa.
Visa changed the brand of V.me last year to stress the simplicity of Visa Checkout. Visa's earlier attempts to address e-commerce payments, Rightcliq in the U.S. and Payclick in Australia, were somewhat short-lived. Rightcliq in particular was criticized for trying to take over the entire e-commerce experience instead of just the payment.
Visa Checkout appears to be faring better. More than 3 million consumers used Visa Checkout from August through the end of 2014, Shrauger said.
"We feel these numbers are indicative of the value proposition on the consumer side," Shrauger added. "For merchants, we are seeing a conversion rate of about 70% for registered consumers making a purchase, and that is above the industry norm for checkout."
Issuers are promoting Visa Checkout as an easy way to shop online, similar to how they promote Apple Pay at the point of sale, Shrauger said.
Visa Checkout's market expansion will make competitors take notice, but merchants still have many options for modernizing their checkout process, said Thad Peterson, senior analyst with Boston-based Aite Group.
"Visa, MasterCard, PayPal and Apple have products that function in a similar manner and we have to remember that Amazon invented this one-click payment method," Peterson said. "I can't see a merchant having five 'buy' buttons on their e-commerce site, so it remains uncertain as to which way a merchant would go."
Still, Visa now has a powerful combination to tout as a digitalized way to use a Visa card by offering Visa Checkout for Web-based payments and Apple Pay for point-of-sale or in-app purchases, Peterson said.
"It is the best of both worlds if it is a Visa card being used in the Apple wallet," Peterson said.
Visa has proven it "absolutely crosses borders well," giving the brand a lot of power and relevance in the digital wallet's new markets, Peterson added.