When Visa announced Monday (Nov. 2) that it was dropping $23.3 billion to reunite with Visa Europe after the pair functioned as independent companies for eight years, it had a great deal of significance to the PF community. Given the extreme difference in rules between the U.S. payments standards and the European Union, it has been challenging for Visa to deliver global consistency, especially with compliance.
Payment facilitators, for example, can become payment service providers “without the help of a bank, something that cannot happen here” in the U.S., said Deana Rich, president of Rich Consulting and also Partner/Director of Strategy for PaymentFacilitator.com. “Also, the EU has differing compliance issues and resulting regulations. Once the dust settles, it will be easier for Visa to level-set the Core Rules playing field. Visa often has different rules for different regions, but the EU is drastically different in places. Visa may now be able to tighten up a few things in the EU or change a few things” in the U.S..
In Visa’s statement, the card brand talked about some of what it sees as the key payment tech issues in Europe today.
“In Europe an estimated 37 percent, or USD $3.3 trillion, of personal consumption expenditure is still done via cash and check. Europe has also been an early adopter of mobile payments, which analysts predict will see strong growth in the future given the widespread availability of Near Field Communication technology,” the Visa statement said. Visa “has aggressively launched new mobile payment partnerships, platforms and products that will enable faster growth and adoption of mobile payments in Europe. This includes new tokenization services, support for digital wallets and wearables, strategic investments in other enabling technologies, ecommerce and P2P payment capabilities, as well as the opening of several global innovation centers.”
But Visa CEO Charles Scharf included a promise to let Europe be Europe, with local Euro operations staying local.
“We look forward to the new integrated Visa and we are fully committed to ensuring our efforts in Europe are tailored to meet local market needs. This includes being responsive to the evolving regulatory landscape, maintaining a European data center, and partnering with Europe’s growing payments ecosystem to co-develop locally-relevant products, services and experiences,” Scharf said. “This combination strengthens our payments system in Europe, as together we have even greater financial resources to invest in technology assets. Finally, we will continue to have a strong local management team in Europe, with London remaining as headquarters for the region.”