Several years ago, Visa made its mark with its “It’s everywhere you want to be” consumer advertising campaign. Now the network is everywhere developers want to be, having on February 4 announced the debut of its Visa Developer platform. The introduction of the platform marks the first time in Visa’s 60-year history that software developers have been given open access to Visa’s payment technology, products, and services.
Visa Developer is intended to help financial institutions, merchants, and technology companies meet the demands of consumers and merchants, both of which are increasingly relying upon connected devices to shop, pay, and collect payments. The platform will initially offer access to a number of Visa’s most popular payment technologies and services, including account-holder identification, person-to-person payment capabilities, secure in-store and online payment services (e.g., Visa Checkout), currency conversion, and consumer transaction alerts.
The creation of the platform involved a multi-year initiative led by Visa’s global product and technology teams. Under this umbrella, Visa’s payment products and services are being transformed into application programming interfaces (APIs) –the standard technology used by developers for building software and applications. Key attributes that reportedly differentiate Visa’s global developer program from others include a globally accessible developer portal, said to provide an easy way to search Visa’s extensive suite of payment products and services and an open platform that yields access to hundreds of Visa APIs and software development kits for some of the most popular Visa payment products and capabilities. Also on the list of purported differentiators is a testing sandbox that offers application developers a “plug-and-play” experience along with access to Visa test data, and Visa Developer engagement centers designed to foster collaboration and co-creation with application developers in such key markets as San Francisco, Dubai, Singapore, Miami, and Sao Paolo (Brazil).
“We are unbundling Visa’s full suite of products and services and giving developers open access to the underlying payment capabilities,” Rajai Taneja, executive vice president, technology, Visa Inc. said in a statement issued when the announcement was made. “We believe this will lead to the creation of entirely new commerce experiences with Visa technology integrated to enable greater security, scale, and convenience when it comes time to pay.”
Visa clearly is serious about the new platform and all that it represents: Its vision for the global developer engagement program, according to the announcement, includes the formation of a marketplace where thousands of financial institutions, millions of merchants, and technology companies to collaborate, share, and search for innovative digital commerce applications. It also intends to provide additional access to more of its payment capabilities over the next year.
Efforts to test the concept also underscore that Visa truly intends to go somewhere with it. Over the past few months, it has allowed leading financial institutions, technology companies, and start-ups to participate in beta-trials of Visa Developer; many have gone on to configure innovative prototype applications using Visa technology. Trial partners included Capital One, CIBC, Emirates NBD, National Australia Bank (NAB), RBC, TD Bank, Scotiabank, TSYS, U.S. Bank and VenueNext. If these players believe in the technology, well…so do we.