Unlike many industries that have experienced severe setbacks due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, some segments of the payments’ industry have been propelled forward at a pace few could have imagined at the dawn of this year. Roadmaps for many capabilities that were expected to span years have been condensed to mere months driven by the cardholders’ demand to transact and manage their cards electronically while they socially distance. Given these circumstances, while most Issuers know what their cardholders are now looking for, building a suitable solution from the ground up can be a challenging task. To help facilitate some of these solutions, we would like to share with you a few of our API capabilities pertaining to digital issuance, transaction security, enhanced reporting and travel management.
Digital Issuance and Push to Pays
While the transition from physical-first to digital-first issuance was already underway, it has certainly been brought to the forefront of many of your priorities during this pandemic. Once their debit account has been opened or credit application approved, cardholders expect to immediately view their card details online to begin shopping. Additionally, as many mobile applications now support payments through a mobile wallet, having the ability to provision their cards to mobile wallets before receiving the physical card in the mail may fast become a necessity. While the case for convenience here is self-evident, what is often overlooked is the added benefit of security. Mobile payments that use tokenization do not disclose the underlying card number to the merchant. We have been working for some time now to enable digital issuance for our Issuer clients through our Issuer Processor and Program Manager partners with the Visa Token Service Provisioning and Lifecycle Management product (https://developer.visa.com/capabilities/token-service-provisioning).
While billions of dollars are invested worldwide each year for fraud prevention using advanced algorithms, sometimes a simple card block can help prevent what an artificial-intelligent system might miss. Our Transaction Controls product (https://developer.visa.com/capabilities/vctc) provides cardholders the ability to set alerts and controls across various transaction types and merchant category groups. Want to block all card-present and cross-border transactions while social distancing at home? No problem. Want to receive alerts for transactions over a certain amount? Easy. Clients control which options they wish to enable for their cardholders – you design the interface, we’ll provide the engine. You can choose to push the alerts as app notifications or have Visa deliver them for you. In addition, for cardholders who may not want to use a smartphone or a computer, Visa Transaction Controls can be accessed by your customer service team through our Visa Online web application.
Even under normal circumstances, a significant proportion of customer service calls stem from unrecognized transactions on billing statements. The culprit in these cases is usually a cryptic merchant name. Providing cardholders enhanced merchant information on their statements can help reduce not only your call burden but also the loss incurred by merchants from false disputes. While the solution here seems obvious, amassing an up-to-date merchant repository is a rather complex challenge. Visa works with our Acquirer partners and Payment Facilitators to continually expand our coverage of merchant and store information (full merchant name, address, contact, and other details), which we then make accessible through the Merchant Search product (https://developer.visa.com/capabilities/merchant_search). Many of you will use Merchant Search to enhance your transaction reporting; however, it has recently enabled a number of loyalty and offers solutions for Issuers and FinTechs as well.
Not surprisingly, travel will not be top of mind for many of your cardholders this year. However, for those who choose to travel, they should have the confidence that your card will be successfully authorized at the point of sale. Our own studies have shown that a false decline abroad can negatively impact card usage locally upon return. Cardholders have traditionally notified Issuers of their travel plans by calling/chatting with a customer service representative. However, our solution enables you to accept your cardholders’ itineraries through your website/app and forward them to Visa using the Travel Notification Service (https://developer.visa.com/capabilities/tns). Once we have this information on file, Visa will adjust the transaction’s VAA score and populate a travel tag to signal you whether the location of the transaction running over VisaNet is as expected. Issuers will make the final approve/decline decision. Similar to the Transaction Controls product, the Travel Notification Service has a Visa Online interface as well for your customer service team.
Finally, we’re always happy to hear from our clients directly either through their Visa representative or over email firstname.lastname@example.org. One of our Solutions Architects can then engage in a 1-1 conversation to guide you as needed. We hope that this discussion was helpful in presenting some new ideas or, at the very least, in affirming that you’re on the right path. We would love to partner with you on this journey to deliver a better payments’ experience for you, and ultimately our cardholders.