Visa has launched globally its Visa B2B Connect (VB2BC) network. This offers financial institutions the ability to process high-value corporate cross-border payments and covers more than 30 global ‘trade corridors’. Visa hopes to expand its VB2BC coverage to as many as 90 markets by end of 2019.
“Launching Visa B2B Connect marks an important industry milestone which will accelerate the evolution of how commercial payments move around the world,” said Kevin Phalen, SVP, global head of Visa Business Solutions. “By creating a solution that facilitates direct, bank to bank transactions, we are eliminating friction associated with key industry pain points. With Visa B2B Connect, we are making payments quicker and simpler, while enhancing transparency and consistency of data.”
Visa B2B Connect attractions
VB2BC’s objective is to remove the friction and time spent on cross-border corporate transactions by facilitating transactions from a payment originator directly to a beneficiary’s bank. The network’s unique digital identity feature tokenises an organisation’s sensitive business information – for example, banking details and account numbers – by creating a unique identifier which facilitates transactions on the network. VB2BC also hopes that its digital identity feature will transform the way information exchanges in business-to-business cross-border transactions.
VB2BC’s multilateral payment network enables cross-border transactions directly between any banks connected to the platform. The objective is a more consistent and streamlined payment experience. Traditionally payments systems were bilateral networks which required:
- multiple handoffs
- handshakes between banks
- connections between disparate systems in distant locations.
- unpredictable costs
- inconsistencies in transaction data.
VB2BC is conceptually different – because it is, by design and from inception, a multilateral network. As a multilateral network, VB2BC enables one-to-many global transactions. Payments can move directly between any participating banks. The effect is to:
- streamline payments
- provide greater transparency
- deliver predictability.
“It’s exciting to see the hard work of the combined teams come together for the commercial launch of Visa B2B Connect. Having participated in the pilot program, Commerce Bank is excited to see how this innovative solution will change the way cross-border payments are made, while increasing the speed and transparency for businesses around the world,” said Brian Gordon, SVP International Payments and Trade, Commerce Bank.
Technology and partners
Partners are an integral part of VB2BC. They include Bottomline, FIS and IBM. According to Visa these provide integral parts of the future scale of VB2BC:
- Bottomline and FIS bring to the Visa B2B Connect platform access to participating bank clients
- IBM is Visa’s partner is exploiting the open source Hyperledger Fabric framework from the Linux Foundation; this provides an improved process to facilitate financial transactions on a scalable, permissioned network.
“Bottomline is delighted to be working with Visa to accelerate the adoption of innovative ways for businesses to make faster cross-border payments,” said Rob Eberle, President and CEO, Bottomline. “Our ability to provide our mutual financial institution clients globally with access to Visa B2B Connect will help these banks to continue to deliver differentiated payment capabilities to their corporate customers.”
“Working together on Visa B2B Connect, we are combining the strengths of the world’s leader in electronic payments with IBM’s recognized expertise in helping scale distributed ledger technology. This is a unique example of how blockchain-based architecture can help transform B2B value chains by facilitating secure and transparent transactions globally,” said Marie Wieck, general manager, IBM Blockchain.
Enterprise Times: what does this mean
Visa B2B Connect is a payment platform on a major scale – coming not only from Visa’s own size but the partnerships with FIS and Bottomline. This enhances network scale. With Visa’s proven ability to process volume transactions (it is the most quoted high-performance commercial benchmark, at up to 65,000tps) and with VisaNet connecting over 15,500 financial institutions worldwide, it has an immediate reach to 200+ countries and 160+ currencies. This alone will make it attractive.
But Visa B2B Connect is not alone in looking to provide swifter payment services. There is, for example, Banco Santander’s One Pay FX, also a blockchain-based international money transfer service. Or, if you wish to add confusion (IBM and FIS also play in other consortia) there are:
The good news for enterprises is increasing choice. The bad news will be the complexity in choosing between each.