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Visa Europe Collab: new ways to pay | Innovation in Financial Tech

by  David Dwyer on  18/12/2015

Have you ever wished that paying for goods and services was simpler?

Definition: What is Disruptive Tech?
"A disruptive technology is one that displaces an established technology. It is not a disrupting technology but one that shakes up the industry or produces a ground-breaking product that creates a completely new industry."

In September, Frazer and I attended the 360D event at the SECC in Glasgow and took the opportunity to find out more about "Visa Europe Collab". 

Why? Well, Visa are concerned about abandoned online shopping carts.  The average documented abandonment rate is 68.53%, which is a huge loss of potential sales.  Clearly not all those abandonments will be due to checkout difficulties; people may just have been investigating the cost of delivery, for example.  But a large proportion of those sales would probably have gone through if the consumer experience had been totally painless, which is what Visa wants to achieve for both buyers and sellers.  

That’s not their only aim, though.  They’re looking way beyond simply innovative ways to pay and focusing on what others are doing to create disruptive tech, from authenticating your identity to improving payment security, harnessing emerging technologies such as wearables and forging new ones. They want to nurture talent, whether in established companies or start-ups, and deliver better services to retailers and consumers.  Those are big goals and I think they’re very exciting.

Ultimately Visa want to grow the cake rather than have a larger piece. Essentially they are banking on you wishing that paying for things was simple – that you didn’t have to remember PIN numbers, or even carry a card, let alone cash – which in my opinion is pretty plausible.  Contactless payment may be making life easier for travellers in London, where there are now 1M contactless payments every year, but there are still many occasions when the checkout process could be made smoother.

That may soon change, if the bright young things working with "Visa Europe Collab" have their way.  Wish you had an app with an overview of all your bank accounts, even with different banks, that could not only tell you which account has most money in it but also move money from one to another? 

Or that you could take payments on your market stall without having to faff about with a card machine and a dodgy mobile signal, or run the risk of carrying a large amount of cash? 

Or that you could simply touch a piece of clothing as you walk through a shop and not only is it added to your virtual shopping basket but you don't have go to the teller to pay for it?  Instead you simply walk out the store and the contents of your virtual basket are delivered to your front door, without the hassle of queuing at the checkout or lugging the bags home.  Could this mean we buy more (Ed: not necessarily a good thing) and have even more time-efficient lives?  

Soon all those scenarios could come true: they’ve all been considered for the Visa Europe Collab (VEC) 100 Day Innovation Sprint stable.

The what?  Dr Steve Perry, Founder and Co-Creator of VEC, who spoke at the 360D event, describes it as “an innovation hub that brings together an international community of partners and innovators to forge the ideas, technologies and services that will transform citizens’ future interactions with payments”.   

It’s Visa’s FinTech hothouse for disruptive ideas around payment, ideas that change the status quo and move technology forward.  VEC don’t take equity in your ideas or fund start-ups, but they do supply expertise, can help you find funding if your idea is good enough and provide up to about £20k in proof-of-concept funds.  

The first step in the Innovation Sprint is simple: have your bright idea for a new payment method and get VEC to agree that it’s promising and possible.  

The second step is to scope and align: gather all the existing knowledge that might help in creating your product, see where the knowledge gaps are, and work out what’s needed to progress.  This is where you develop a real understanding of the market for your product and how people might use it, so that you can move on to the design phase.

With that knowledge behind you, you can create a prototype, or an illustration of how your idea would work, to carry out market research and improve your design before building the real thing.  Then you move on to the Proof of Concept stage: testing and refining the technology of the real thing, checking with your audience and testing again.  After that your project moves into Visa Europe’s main business for further development, until it’s finally ready to be unleashed.

Not all the bright ideas will make it to reality; the ones that do could change the way we shop, eat out and travel in the future, making it easier and safer to spend money wherever life takes us.

David Dwyer is Managing Director of Inspire Web Development. He has years of experience in a range of web and IT roles plus seven years in sales and marketing in a blue-chip FMCG company. David’s academic and professional qualifications include a BA (Hons) in Business Economics (Personnel & Ergonomics) from the University of Paisley, an MSc in Information Technology (Systems) from Heriot-Watt University and PRINCE2 Practitioner-level certification. He is also an active member of the British Computer Society, Entrepreneurial Exchange and Business for Scotland.

Follow Inspire on Twitter @inspireltd and @developersos

360 Digital Conference, Continuous Professional Development, Disruptive not Disrupting Tech, Inspire Web Development, Internet of Things, SECC Glasgow
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