Luz Adriana Ramírez
Director General
Visa México
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View from the Top

Rapid Innovation, Technologies Help Expand Reach

Thu, 08/17/2017 - 15:09

Q: What role does Mexico play in Visa’s global operations?
A: Visa México works with a strong vision: be the best way to pay and be paid for everyone, everywhere. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure digital payment network that enables individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. We connect businesses, financial institutions and customers and allow them to make payments safely and efficiently. Mexico is the second-largest economy in Latin America, making it the second-most important country for Visa in the region.
Q: 3Q17 results showed that its volume of payments grew 38 percent over the previous year. What contributed to this growth?
A: Rapid innovation is encouraging the proliferation of technologies that improve and expand our reach. Visa was built on the notion of universal access and we are making it even more open. Visa has been working to become the leader in electronic payments through a radical transformation of its business model. Clients, fintech companies, equipment manufacturers and other players now have access to the Visa Development Platform and the Application Programing Interfaces (APIs) to co-create customized solutions. We have also developed seven innovation centers around the world in which we apply a human-centered design methodology.
Q: How does consumer behavior influence Visa’s innovation?
A: We are living through a commercial revolution driven by the IoT. In Mexico, as in the rest of the world, consumers want to make transactions anytime, anywhere and through any device. For this reason, we are developing an infrastructure for mobile payments. Supporting these advancements are Visa Digital Solutions and Visa Innovation Centers that provide the tools and environments for rapid innovation. Visa Digital Solutions is a growing portfolio of Visa payment services and authentication technologies that enable tokenization, online commerce and person-to-person payment services to be securely embedded in new products in a plug-and-play mode. In Mexico, we are building POS terminals for Near Field Communication (NFC) payments and by the end of 2017 we expect that 30 percent of the POS terminals in Mexico will have NFC capability. Visa also established an alliance with IBM Watson to provide more secure payments. A combination of Visa’s global payment capacities and Visa Token Services with IBM cognitive computing and data analysis capabilities of Watson’s IoT, will make possible contactless payments with devices like home electronics, automobiles and daily wearables.
Q: How is Visa helping to increase Mexico’s low rate of financial inclusion?
A: In developing economies, mobile money systems are bringing secure digital payments to millions of people previously excluded from the financial mainstream. Financial inclusion is one of Visa México’s main priorities because our biggest challenge and competitor is cash. Only 15 percent of the country’s Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) is made through digital payments and in Mexico only 40 percent of the adult population has access to a bank account or a formal financial service. For this reason, we are approaching this area of opportunity through two lines: special products aimed at the unbanked population and infrastructure for businesses that accept only cash. Together with OXXO and Citibanamex, we have developed products such as the Saldazo debit card, a card that can be used for savings and deposits. So far there are approximately 7 million Saldazo cards circulating in the country and for almost 42 percent of the users of this service it is their first experience with a financial product. Regarding infrastructure, we are trying to increase the acceptance of cards at businesses that only take cash. With Grupo Bimbo we have included POS terminals in more than 70,000 small supermarkets.
In Mexico, financial exclusion has the same geographical distribution as economic development and our inclusion efforts include working with the government. Finally, we have been working with Grupo Gentera, which traditionally has offered credit to SMEs led by women.