The Open Banking Interviews: Daniel Van Delft, Country Manager Visa, Netherlands
At Money2020, in Amsterdam, I had the pleasure to talk to Daniel Van Delft, Country Manager of Visa in the Netherland. We discussed on how Visa Inc. looks at Open Banking and how this may affect the way Visa is changing the way we pay.
Part II of The Open Banking Interviews (see part I, with Joris Hensen at Deutsche Bank).
Visa recently announcement a couple of new partnerships. Can you tell us a bit more about that?
The last few months, several partnerships were announced, all with the intention to support the ecosystem we’re involved in. Visa did not step into these partnerships with the idea to start venturing, as an investment. The ultimate goal of these partnerships is to become better altogether.
The ones with Currencycloud, B.yond, and Natixis are a few of them. This way we thrive to make payments more seamless, from an enterprise perspective, at a faster pace.
All the partnerships are linked to this ambition. They should all provide building blocks to better support the ecosystem we share in the four-party model. They should make it better, whether that is on the issuing side or the acquiring side, for consumers or for the merchants, whether that is a physical merchant or an e-commerce merchant, a small or a big one.
So one of the ambitions is also to make it easier for new players to enter the market?
Indeed. We are really opening ourselves up, from a network perspective. That is pretty recent, it started about 2 years ago. We believe this is the only way forward. By building strong partnerships we can evolve at a faster pace, which is required to stay competitive as a whole value chain and to stay in charge for and on top of developments — we want to enrich our network constantly
We totally understand and see that the world has changed.. Of course Visa still innovates itself as well, but the innovative parties we partner with are really bringing added value.
The partnership with Currencycloud, for example, helps to provide our partners with multicurrency solutions to their cardholders, making cross-border payments more seamless. This fits perfectly with our ambitions, not only to make payments more seamless and cost effective, but also to make electronic payments the new normal. With this multicurrency solution we hope to decrease, or even take away the need for consumers, the urge to fall back on cash when they are abroad as a cardholder.
So do you see Open Banking as a threat or as an opportunity for a company like Visa?
It is our belief that this is an opportunity in general, we are the enabling party supporting our clients to be prepared for this open banking evolution. We are almost there, but there is still work to be done. PSD2 will only get into effect as of September 14. Yes that will create more competition. In the end it will also flourish the business and it will motivate partners to innovate faster and better.
On the other hand, it will also push for the need for more control. We want to be an enabler there as well. Our transaction control API is a good example: it helps consumers to be and to stay in control of their daily finances.
Open Banking and Instant Payments are often seen as a perfect storm for card schemes. What are for you the main differentiators for these card schemes in the long run to remain relevant in parallel with Open Banking and Instant Payments?
We believe we are part of that perfect storm. One system will not immediately replace one by the other. There will be different systems in parallel. There is a time and period needed to bring Instant Payments to a level where they have enough reach.
Visa has a global reach that has been built over 60 years. Like we are open to innovation, we are also open to real-time payment type solutions. Visa Direct is a good example of how we already support it over our network. With the right combinations we can support the further evolution of our ecosystem.
We believe the ‘perfect storm’ today is more of a hype and not so much a reality yet. Will this one day come in place? Definitely, but no one knows exactly when. It really depends of a lot of market parties to adapt to the new standard. Meanwhile the industry does not sit still. Consumers and merchants will finally decide what is the best way to pay or to be paid.
If that is Instant Payments, we will certainly support it. That is for example why we recently acquired Earthport.
Can you give a few additional examples in the context of Open Banking of how Visa is working hard to become even more relevant in the future?
In order to stay relevant in the context of Open Banking, Visa is at the core of innovations. Open Banking regulation offers consumers greater control over their financial lives, and for the first time the ability to electronically aggregate banking-, insurance- and payment-accounts into one single view. We are now putting more control into consumers’ hands by offering API’s to our clients that offer a range of services to do so. Examples are transaction alerts and controls: Visa account holders can now opt in via their online banking app to receive transaction alerts from Visa when their spending exceeds a threshold or when their account is being used oversees or online.
Another good example of how Visa is staying relevant, is how we opened our network to new players with the Visa Developer Platform (VDP). Through the VDP, we enable clients and partners to access our services. This means that they can use our network as building blocks for new payments experiences on mobile devices, social networks and more. We have transformed many of our capabilities into API’s, and SDK’s, that can speed up the creation of new payment solutions majorly.
The future will tell how open the ecosystem will become. This will not only depend on Visa, but we intend to keep playing a key role in the ecosystem with our network. By our initiatives, we support our partners to open up in this Open Banking world. We really have to see Open Banking as an opportunity, for all parties within the industry.”
This story is part of a series of interviews with executives of the financial services industry. More interviews can be expected in the coming weeks.