How Visa’s collaboration with fintechs is helping the ecosystem thrive
From collaborating with them to launch new products to opening APIs, Visa is providing fintech partners with expertise, engagement programmes, mentorship and a network for growth
The Indian fintech industry has witnessed unprecedented growth in the last few years with few impediments in sight. In fact, as per Niti Aayog, as fintech continues to boom, digital payments space, is set to grow to $1 trillion by 2023. While demonetisation acted as a stepping stone for Indian consumers to go digital, their acceptance to adapt and change is reflected in India being ranked second globally in Fintech adoption during 2018, with its percentage of Fintech users at 57.9 percent. Although it still lags China’s 83.5 percent, it has surpassed other developed countries, where fintech adoption on average stands at 34.2 percent.
Opportunity for growth and innovation
Utilizing new-age technologies like AI, Blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT), fintech players are innovating in the space of real-time payments on the back of the rise of digital commerce. Such innovations prompt the need for support for scalable tools, vast global reach and rapid expansion, among others. This is where Visa is contributing towards the growth of fintech in India by collaborating with these new-age companies which are seeking to redefine the financial services industry with their innovative and customer-friendly solutions.
Be it launching a new card programme, certifying their payment solution, finding the right partners or building on Visa’s APIs, the global payments platform is providing them with expertise, engagement programmes, solutions, and its own network.
One of the budding fintechs that Visa has partnered with in India is Open – Asia’s first neo- banking platform for SMEs and start- ups. The partnership with Visa has enabled Open to launch a suite of innovative products that include a business credit card for SMEs, payment gateway acquiring and real-time payments.
Open launched the ‘Founder’s Card’ in partnership with Visa at Singapore Fintech Festival 2019.
“This card comes integrated with tools like expense management and subscription management which enables business owners and finance teams manage subscriptions and expenses in a much better way. The partnership also enables Open to enhance the Open API banking suite called Layer through new features like real-time payments settlement and refunds,” says Mabel Chacko, Co-founder and COO, Open.
With a bouquet of APIs as well as initiatives for client outreach, among others, Visa has helped partner fintechs get a head start in their business relationships. For Zaggle, a fintech company which uses Deep Tech and Artificial Intelligence to provide platform solutions to businesses, for expense management and employee reimbursements as well as for rewards and recognition, partnering with Visa has helped them craft innovative solutions to bring more value to their users.
“Visa’s top-of-the-class APIs have helped us authenticate users in real-time leading to seamless user on-boarding,” says Harmeet Singh Arora, Vice President, Strategic Partnerships, Zaggle.
One product of this partnership is the Zinger Card, a card with multiple wallets in one single card, which has been appreciated and used by corporates for expense management and employee reimbursements. “We have been using multiple APIs from the Visa Developer Platform for crafting multiple solutions and the same has been extremely user-friendly with on-time support in case of any queries.”
Besides the companies themselves, end customers of fintechs also significantly benefit through such partnerships. For instance, customers of YAP, a payment-as-a-service platform (PaaS), have benefitted through faster go-to-market, smoother transactions and having a Visa Ready solution. “Moreover, it is also cost-effective”, says Madhusudanan R, Founder, YAP.
YAP is focused on programme management to help businesses adopt digital payments in an efficient manner through new and efficient payment methods that include digital bank accounts, multi-currency cards, prepaid cards, digital wallets and BharatQR. The company has been an early adopter of Visa’s APIs for its BharatQR issuing and acquiring solutions, Visa Direct, Fund Disbursement and others.
“In South Asia, we are working closely with the Visa team to roll out new products by working with fintechs and established businesses.” YAP has also undertaken several initiatives for client outreach. “Our engagement with the Visa team cuts across pitching to new clients, co-creation and roll out of products by working closely with banks and fintechs,” adds Madhusudanan.
Visa has also enabled fintech partners such as Niyo Solutions Inc. to bring highly innovative travel products to its customers. In partnership with Visa, the fintech launched Niyo Global Cards to cater to the rapidly growing forex card market in India. It also launched the Niyo Benefits Card to make expense reimbursements and saving on taxes easier for users.
“This would not have been possible without Visa’s support and technical expertise. We have seen remarkable improvements across the spectrum, which include automation, seamless transactions and partnerships.” says Vinay Bagri, CEO & Co-Founder, Niyo Solution Inc.
With PCE (personal consumption expenditure) of India today at 11 percent, there is a room for each and every player to further enhance the penetration of digital payments, and collaboration is key for the same. The rapidly-growing fintech space in the country offers immense potential for growth.
Visa is committed to partnering with emerging fintechs to expand digital payments by uplifting and creating a platform for them. The launch of global programmes like Fintech fast-track programme and Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI) are creating an ecosystem to enable fintech companies to enhance their product proposition and provide visionary solutions through its vast network of partners.
“Our association with Visa has been great in terms of support, expertise during new product discussions, response time, and access to top management. This has helped us dramatically grow our business for Niyo Global,” says Vinay Bagri.
The valuable support from Visa’s leadership team has also been lauded by Zaggle. “They were extremely receptive and collaborative when it came to co-create innovative solutions.”
Fintechs solving for larger challenges
The fintechs partnering with Visa are at the forefront of innovation, solution and invention. From reducing costs of financial inclusion, making banking transparent to developing new and flexible fintech solutions, partners like Open, Niyo, Zaggle and YAP are doing groundbreaking work.
“SMEs on our platform do not need to use multiple service providers. The platform comes pre-integrated with tools to collect payments, do pay-outs, connect bank accounts, and reconcile payments with automated accounting,” Open’s Mabel Chako says.
A word of advice for fintechs looking for solutions, development, installment of products, Niyo’s Vinay Bagri says that all fintech startups should focus on getting their compliances, AML and KYC systems in place and ensure that they are at par with the processes of their partner banks. This is a key ingredient of their success in the long term. On the other hand, YAP’s founder, Madhusudhanan feels that if a fintech can crack an economically viable model and make it work in India, then they can go on to use that product/solution globally.
Going forward, fintechs hope to cash in on Visa’s global status and expand their products and services on a global scale.
“The mobile penetration coupled with size and depth of SME opportunity in India is an extraordinary cocktail of a myriad potentially disruptive and scalable platform solutions that could definitely be extended to the global markets in the future. Identifying the right partners (like Visa) is the key to success,” says Zaggle’s Arora.