Visa International has announced plans to migrate to a distributed Internet Protocol-based network under a far-reaching programme to decentralise its operations and deliver autonomy to its regional outposts.
The initiative will provide far greater flexibility for designing local services while managing surging global growth in transaction volume and complexity says Visa International CEO Malcolm Williamson. "It will allow much greater flexibility to develop regional processing solutions," he says. "It will also allow us to make best use of Internet technologies for payment processing as we move forward."
VisaNet, which encompasses Visa’s worldwide processing systems, processed $1.8 trillion in payments in 2000 and, at its peak, 4000 credit and debit transactions a second.
Over the next five years, VisaNet will be enhanced around a new framework called the VisaNet Distributed Processing Solution (VDPS), entailing a series of hardware, software, and connectivity upgrades that increase regional control and capacity. VDPS deployments will operate over an IP-based network, which is being implemented globally over the next three years.
Last year, usage of Visa products grew 18 percent to over 25 billion transactions. Visa predicts ongoing double–digit growth in transactions, driven by account growth and the capture of cash and cheque payments, and also by the proliferation of new payment options—from credit or debit cards with or without smart chips, to payments on mobile phones or handheld computers to high–value business–to–business sales.
The new distributed approach is designed to enable each of Visa’s six regional organisations, beginning in the EU region, to install, administer, and customise hardware and software in regionally–dedicated data centers and thus roll out local product and service innovations more quickly to take advantage of local opportunities.
Janice VandenBrink, Visa International’s senior vice president for acceptance and performance management, explains: "Major players in all industries are moving their business systems to a more distributed model, partly because technology has made it feasible, but also because customers around the world demand increasing customisation and convenience."