Rajat Taneja, Visa's executive VP of technology, is excited about the company's innovations in digital payment methods and its new R&D centre in Bengaluru
Executive VP of technology, Visa
Executive VP and CTO, Electronic Arts Inc; corporate VP, commerce division, MicrosoftEducation:
BE at Jadavpur University; MBA at Washington State UniversityInterests:
Q. Tell us about your new centre in Bengaluru.
The way we have been investing in technology is by hiring the best talent from all over the world and investing in our own people. Our technology hubs have traditionally been in the US, and we have one in Singapore too. But a year-and-a-half ago, we started thinking about how we are at the beginning of a very important transformation in the industry as analog becomes digital, and digital and mobile payments become the predominant way for commerce. We picked India as our next big hub because we are very impressed with the talent and quality of engineering here.
Q. What sort of research and development will be conducted at the centre?
What they’re working on are a couple of big areas. One of them is investments and innovations in digital and mobile commerce. They’ll also be looking at opening our network to development by the ecosystem [by which Visa partners can use its infrastructure and network]. In the last 57 years, ours has been a protected network. Access to it has been very carefully prescribed.
Q. How will the Visa network be opened?
Last year, we did $7 trillion in processing volume and 100 billion transactions. It’s been a fantastic model. We want to preserve that, but also open up our functionality into standard services that can be expressed to our partners—banks, merchants, and partners like Apple, Google, Samsung and Facebook. They can then start innovating with their ideas for their market by leveraging the underlying structure that Visa has built.Q. What has been your biggest innovation at the global level, recently?
mVisa is one of our newest innovations which brings the concept of push-payment [where payment is made as a credit transfer from the buyer’s bank to the merchant].
The underpinning of digital commerce is a technology that we have been working on for a year-and-a-half or so, the Visa Token Service, or VTS [available in the US]. It allows a [credit or debit] card number to be protected during the transaction through a proxy number [which is sent to the merchant]. The card number sits with Visa, within digital walls. Apple Pay utilises VTS. We’re also about a year-and-a-half into the market [in the US, Australia, China, UAE] with Visa Checkout, which allows secure ecommerce transactions without a user entering a card number.
The third product is Visa Direct that helps financial institutions enable secure money transfers to millions of participating Visa cards globally. Indian banks can receive funds locally and globally using Visa Direct.
Q. Right now, is mVisa available only in India?
The initial launch of mVisa is a pilot, with consumers and merchants of four banks—ICICI, SBI, HDFC and Axis. That’s about five billion consumers and 20,000 merchants. We’re narrowing it initially to the Greater Bengaluru area. We hope to expand it.