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).
Digital Credential Loading Use Case: https://developer.visa.com/use-cases/enable-simple-card-loading
Card Top-of-Wallet Use Case: https://developer.visa.com/use-cases/keep-your-card-top-of-wallet
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.
Card On or Off Use Case: https://developer.visa.com/use-cases/turn-your-card-on-or-off
Manage Overseas Spend Use Case: https://developer.visa.com/use-cases/manage-overseas-spend
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.
Enhanced Merchant Information Use Case: https://developer.visa.com/use-cases/enhanced-merchant-information
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.
Set Notice Online Use Case: https://developer.visa.com/use-cases/set-notice-online-travel-transact
Set Notice by Phone Use Case: https://developer.visa.com/use-cases/set-notice-by-phone-travel-transact
We believe that the solutions highlighted above should align well with the needs of a majority of our Issuer clients. However, we understand that every client faces a unique set of challenges, and so we recommend you to explore our broader suite of API solutions here: https://developer.visa.com/apibrowser. The Visa Developer portal https://developer.visa.com hosts a wealth of other resources, including Use Cases (https://developer.visa.com/use-cases), Partner Showcases (https://developer.visa.com/use-cases/partner-showcase) and Community Blogs/Forum (https://community.developer.visa.com/). Once you’re ready to begin development, we have guides to illustrate our project lifecycle (https://community.developer.visa.com/t5/Blogs/What-is-Visa-Developer-s-Project-Lifecycle-Your-Journey-from/ba-p/15347) as well as a Commercialization Framework (https://developer.visa.com/pages/working-with-visa-apis/visa-developer-commercialization) to shed more light on our pricing and contractual models.
Finally, we’re always happy to hear from our clients directly either through their Visa representative or over email email@example.com. 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.
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When you devise an idea for your product or service, you might not be sure where to begin, how much the use of Visa capabilities might cost, and what steps are involved to build and deploy. That’s where the Visa Developer Platform can help – we aren’t just a portal, our goal is to partner with you on this journey to make integration with our APIs as effortless as possible.
The first step of your journey, as in most cases, will be Exploration. At this point, you might be wondering if Visa’s APIs are the right solutions for your business opportunity. Most clients browse our Developer Portal (https://developer.visa.com) to gain an initial broad understanding of our capabilities. The portal not only provides an overview of the APIs and their target use cases (https://developer.visa.com/use-cases), but also in-depth documentation about the API functions and parameters. In addition, be sure to visit our Community Portal (https://community.developer.visa.com) to continue learning through our Blogs, Webinars, and Forums.
If you’re eager to start developing your project at this point, you can begin implementation in Sandbox right away for most of our capabilities. If you are associated with a client institution that already has a Visa Account Executive/Manager, feel free to reach out to them as well. When you do, a member of our team can either validate your understanding or engage one-on-one to learn more about your business and proposed solution. We can then recommend best practices, highlight any general nuances that you might have missed with respect to API integration, discuss pricing/contractual terms and develop a rough timeline for deployment to production.
Ready to Test
Once you’re ready to start implementing and testing your code, you can access the Visa Developer Sandbox environment by creating a project through our web portal (https://developer.visa.com/portal/auth/register). This access is provided to you free of charge. Just sign up and go!
As a first step, add the eligible APIs that meet your needs into your project. Some of our APIs are restricted for product readiness/security/compliance purposes; if you wish to integrate these into your project, simply email us and we will assess whether we can provide access. Our Getting Started Developer Tutorials (https://community.developer.visa.com/t5/Developer-Tools/bg-p/DeveloperTools/label-name/tutorials) are a great resource to guide you through this account creation process.
Submit to Go Live
As you conclude your testing in the Sandbox environment, you will have to submit a Go Live Request (once again, through our Portal; tutorial available at the link above) to promote your project to our Certification, and ultimately Production, environments. At this point, a member of our Client Engagement team will work with you to draft and execute a VDP API Agreement outlining our terms and pricing. We will also verify whether your implementation meets the basic Visa compliance requirements (PCI DSS, etc.), as needed, for the relevant aspects of your particular solution. This commercialization process is described at length here: https://developer.visa.com/pages/working-with-visa-apis/visa-developer-commercialization.
After the VDP API Agreement is in place, one of our Implementation Managers will assist you through the Certification process. Certification credentials are generally granted upon submission of the CSR file, and our Global Testing Team may execute pre-defined test cases with you over the phone. Our APIs vary widely in their complexity; and hence, each product team has defined their own checklist to help identify production readiness with respect to the integration with Visa capabilities. Once testing and checklist tasks have been successfully completed, we will deploy the production configuration for your application and provide you the production credentials for going live.
Congratulations! Your solution is now in production and available for your customers. While the rollout and use of the capabilities depend on you, Visa may support a pilot period (before we start billing you) for certain capabilities, to help you assess whether your solution is providing the expected value. Of course, going live does not mean the end of our engagement, and we’re here to support you should issues arise in production. Our Operational Support teams proactively monitor our Gateway around the clock to help prevent any down time. This support is provided at no additional cost to you.
We’ve covered a lot of ground in this post and hope that we’ve answered some of your questions, but we know that you’re bound to have more. Feel free to reach out to us through any of the channels mentioned above, and let’s keep this conversation going!
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