With Visa Inc. set to merge with Visa Europe, the U.S. company stands to benefit from the experience its London-based counterpart has in mobile and digital payments. It could also supercharge these projects with added resources.
The Visa Europe Collab opened in early 2015 as a space for startups to collaborate with payments industry insiders. The project's founder likened it to a "Visa Apple Store."
Visa Europe is working with Central Saint Martins College to design wearable payment devices that put fashion above function. The "small change" smartwatch payment concept (pictured) and other ideas came from people whose background is in design, not technology.
The Visa Personal Payments service in Europe got an Immediate Payments upgrade in 2013, enabling users to send funds to one another in minutes. The feature was meant as one of the building blocks of a cross-border person-to-person payments system.
Mobile Wallet Maker
Visa Europe has been involved in several major European mobile wallets including the Vodafone Wallet and La Caixa's project in Spain.
As mobile payments spread, Visa Europe began reexamining the logic behind categorizing them as card-not-present transactions. In many cases, the card isn't present for the purchase but the cardholder is.
Visa Europe has followed Visa Inc.'s example in promoting tokenization as a fundamental element of the mobile wallets it supports. Visa Europe unveiled its tokenization plans in February of 2015, just a few months ahead of Apple Pay's launch in the U.K.
Visa Europe has enjoyed a healthy rivalry with VocaLink, an organization owned by many of the same banks that own the card network. With the launch of its Zapp payment system (pictured), VocaLink has openly declared itself to be a rival to Visa and MasterCard.
When the Olympics came to London in 2012, Visa Inc. and Visa Europe turned the city into a proving ground for mobile payments. Samsung provided the handsets for a Visa-branded mobile wallet that could work at the 3,000 contactless payment terminals in operation throughout Olympic Games venues.
Expanding Visa Checkout
When Visa Inc. changed its V.me online payment service to Visa Checkout, Visa Europe didn't follow right away. But in announcing the companies' reunification, Visa Inc. CEO Charlie Scharf indicated that the two Visas are already working on expanding Visa Checkout to Europe.