FRICTIONLESS PAYMENT

Mexico 2018 | FINANCE | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Luz Adriana Ramírez Chávez, General Director of Visa México, on digital penetration, security mechanisms, and integrated systems.

 Luz Adriana Ramírez Chávez
BIOGRAPHY
Luz Adriana Ramírez Chávez was appointed as the General Director of Visa México in August 2013. Before working for Visa, she was Latin America President at Karum, a US-based company. For 17 years, she worked in diverse business areas for General Electric (GE) and led GE’s Latin American Women Network. She holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Universidad La Salle and a master’s degree in business administration from Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León.

How did Visa México perform on the global market last year?

The company recorded double-digit growth across the world, and Mexico's numbers were even higher than the global average. Mexico has been growing well in terms of consumption, but there is room for improvement. The Mexican market continues to be heavily dependent on cash; the penetration of electronic payments for consumption expenditures per person remains an opportunity as it is around 15%. Although the growth is satisfying, we are working hard on cash conversion through our transformational initiatives aimed at penetrating digital and electronic payments

Why is digital penetration low, and what are the main obstacles?

A recent study conducted by Visa for Roubini Thought Lab found that by transitioning to digital payments, businesses stand to experience greater efficiency, lower costs, reduced crime, more seamless customer experience, and greater sales. In an analysis of 100 cities, Mexico City was classified as a “Cash Centric City." The potential net benefits that Mexico City will experience by moving to an “achievable level of cashlessness" will sum more than USD12 billion. The industry as a whole has multiple challenges to overcome. In addition, education and behavior play a vital role in ensuring a frictionless experience for the public. The market needs to match the number of terminals per person with the region; Mexico has approximately nine terminals per 1,000 people as compared to Brazil with 27 terminals per 1,000 people. The introduction of payment facilitators a few years ago helped trigger growth in 2017, and new players in the ecosystem are injecting solutions such as fixed terminals for easier accessibility. Currently, Visa is enabling contactless payments, working with merchants on the implementation of contactless terminals, and collaborating with banks to issue contactless cards.

What impact will new payments technologies have on fraud?

Security is one of the company's main pillars, and Visa has been the industry leader in ensuring security with debit and credit cards, and adding security layers in e-commerce. For example, tokenization does not show the complete account number, allowing us to create a device-specific or merchant-specific token. Another example is 3D secure, which is a dynamic form of fraud detection. At present, the amount of customer information available enables us to protect them better. The company is fast moving into Visa ID Intelligence: a technology that uses biometrics and other authentication methods to conduct easy and secure transactions.

What opportunities do fintechs represent for Visa?

Fintechs will have a tremendous effect on the whole ecosystem. While fintechs are more agile in terms of innovation, we have opened our platform. By opening our Visa Development Platform two years ago, players in the ecosystem could use application programing interfaces (APIs) to get the best of Visa. We have created Visa's Everywhere Initiative, where we bring hundreds of fintech companies to participate in creating projects to help us build the future of commerce. At the same time, the company is working with banks and merchants on co-creating solutions with the sole priority to put the consumer at the center of everything.

What does the opening of VisaNet represent for end users?

VisaNet, our advanced global processing network, processes 65,000 transactions per second. In the past, it was associated with physical work, but we are scaling up our capabilities in the digital world. We opened the VisaNet capabilities for any interested party to access it through APIs. In parallel to that, we have created several different innovation centers across the world to harness the collective strength of the ecosystems into creating human-centered design technology. VisaNet provides an openness that allows for faster speeds and additional convenience; we are continuously searching for the consumers' demands and needs in an integrated way.