Visa greatly expands digital wallet support for unbanked in emerging markets

Rick Steves

Visa has partnered with Thunes in order to expand Visa Direct’s reach to nearly 7 billion endpoints, including more than 3 billion cards, over 2 billion accounts and 1.5 billion digital wallets.

The initiative will enable individuals and small businesses to move money internationally to 78 digital wallet providers across 44 countries.

The move will likely impact the unbanked individuals in emerging markets as digital wallets gain traction there as they don’t require consumers to have a card or account to load or receive funds.

Visa’s doubling down on digital wallets opens the potential for greater financial inclusion and enables underserved populations opportunities to access financial products.

Visa Direct connects to wallets in Africa, Asia, and Latin America

Visa Direct will add a cross-border send-to-wallet capability to 78 digital wallet providers that are already integrated with Thunes, a B2B payments platform.

The integration allows financial institutions, governments, neobanks and money transfer operators to utilize the new functionality to enable consumers and small businesses to send funds to markets across Africa, Asia, and Latin America where wallets may be the go-to payment method.

Visa Direct has now added 1.5 billion digital wallets to its reach, on top of the existing access to nearly 7 billion cards, accounts and digital wallets combined, across more than 190 geographies, supporting 160 currencies, connecting to 16 card-based networks, 66 domestic Automated Clearing House (ACH) schemes, 11 Real-Time Payment (RTP) networks and five payment gateways.

Visa empowering individuals and SMBs in the global economy

Ruben Salazar Genovez, Global Head of Visa Direct, said: “From an agricultural worker in Bangladesh to a young professional in London who is looking to send money to family overseas, Visa strives to create more ways for individuals and SMBs to participate in the global economy. We are thrilled to collaborate with Thunes and help enable quick and simple access to the financial system to more customers around the world who may use digital wallets as their primary financial instrument.”

Peter De Caluwe, CEO of Thunes, commented: “We are thrilled that of all the payment companies, Visa, the global leader in payments, is working with Thunes on this launch. Through the combined power of Visa’s scale and Thunes’ payment infrastructure, this collaboration has the potential to help develop a new global era for inclusive and accessible global payments.”

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