This week, we announced the European launch of the Visa Everywhere Initiative in Europe, giving start-ups in 19 countries the chance to present to Visa their ideas for payment solutions solving three key challenges: cross-border travel, regional travel and community giving. Since the start of the competition two years ago, nearly 1000 start-ups, entrepreneur and student applicants have entered the programme, with 12 winners selected to win monetary prizes and partner with Visa. Plus, many of those start-ups have managed to secure funding since the programme – to the tune of $1.7bn combined – signifying the next step in boosting payments innovation globally.
The European payments landscape is varied, with some markets more advanced than others in regards to NFC contactless acceptance. Plus, while third party mobile payment services are rolling out slowly throughout the region, most services are currently limited to bank wallets. In short: the environment is ripe for hungry and brilliant fintech start-ups to make their mark.
We’re challenging eligible participants to submit their business proposals to any – or all – of the following three briefs:
- Local Community Challenge: How can digital payment technologies innovate products that connect people and enrich their local communities?
- Regional Intercity Challenge: How can mobile technologies and connected devices transform the experience of intercity travel?
- International Travel Challenge: How can new products and services, based on Visa APIs, deliver a more seamless international travel experience?
Just take a look at how contactless bank card payments on London’s transportations system have enhanced the lives of everyday people. Since rollout in 2014, 800 million journeys have been completed using a contactless bank cards, representing 39% of all pay-as-you-go fares . With the UN predicting that 86% of the developed world will live in an urban environment by 2050 , contactless bank cards help to alleviate intensifying pressures on public transportation services. If these sort of incremental improvements can be expanded to intercity and international travel, it can have far-ranging effects on human connectivity and economic productivity.
Because we know that no one company holds a monopoly on innovation, our aim with the Visa Everywhere Initiative is to provide start-ups and entrepreneurs with a platform to raise the profile of their work and kick-start success. Competitors will have the chance to win up to €50,000 to support a development programme with us or through partnerships with our client base. Successful entrants will also have the opportunity to access our APIs as well as executive mentors and Visa technologists to help them realise their ideas.
The consumer experience is at the heart of the payments industry, a sector that is accelerating and developing at a greater pace than ever before, spurred on by new technologies. In parallel, the payments industry is becoming increasingly fragmented with companies specialising in one or only a few parts of the payments chain. This environment creates a breadth of opportunities for companies to put forward ideas that will help facilitate improvements to the everyday lives of people everywhere.
2UN – World Urbanization Prospects: The 2014
Our goal is to spark technological innovation driving consumer acceptance and convenience. We believe a great way to do this is to support smaller businesses with diverse skillsets and fields of expertise.
In early June, we will announce the finalists who will be pitching their ideas live to us in Copenhagen at the Money 20/20 conference in June. In the meantime, we’re anticipating some incredibly exciting and thought-provoking responses that have the potential to make a real impact globally.
Companies interested in taking part in the competition will be able to apply on the Visa Everywhere site here from Wednesday, 19 April through Wednesday, 17th May.
Terms and Conditions apply.