Sunday, April 18, 2010

A new mobile payment dispensation at VISA

One often underestimate the importance of leaders. Leaders influence behaviour and set directions. It is leaders that create an environment, style and culture. People that know, would also agree that the leaders created through the banking industry look at life in a pre-defined way. The way that banking executives approach risk is significantly different to executives in ... for instance the telecommunication industry.

Visa has been involved with many mobile banking and payment initiatives in the past. These range from multiple NFC trials, special phones, remittance projects and alerting services. Many of these projects culminated in some production successes, but none had any spectacular uptake. In many regions, banks are looking at Visa to guide decisions and suppliers ready themselves to build new phones, POS and ATM's that will conform to new VISA specs. Unfortunately, the direction of VISA was often taken from a banking executive mindset (the majority of VISA executives are ex-bankers).

This is why it is so exciting and fresh to see the announcement of the appointment of Bill Gajda to head VISA's mobile business. (Read here). Bill joins VISA from the GSMA where he was responsible for (amongst others) the GSMA's mobile money initiatives. Prior to this, he worked primarily in the telecommunications industry (including Ericsson). What will the new leadership do to the culture, style and direction of VISA?

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