Visa will allow customers to settle payments using cryptocurrency

Close-up of Visa credit cards placed on a dark background
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Visa has announced that it will allow customers to settle transactions on its payment network in USD Coin – a stablecoin cryptocurrency linked to the US dollar.

The announcement follows similar decisions made by financial service providers, including Mastercard and PayPal, which have recently moved to embrace digital currencies as a valid payment method.

The option to pay in USD Coin will be made available through Visa’s pilot programme with cryptocurrency platform, and is also planning to extend the programme to other partners later this year, according to Reuters.

Visa's head of crypto Cuy Sheffield said that its choice to welcome USD Coin to its list of available currencies was influenced by the growing demand for digital currencies.

“We see increasing demand from consumers across the world to be able to access, hold and use digital currencies and we’re seeing demand from our clients to be able to build products that provide that access for consumers,” he said, speaking to Reuters.

If a Visa customer wants to pay for a service using USD Coin, the amount won’t have to be converted into traditional currency, simplifying the process and reducing costs for businesses, the company confirmed.

Last month, Visa partnered with online banking service First Boulevard in order to pilot “crypto APIs that enable a bank to offer cryptocurrency custody and trading to their customers”. Commenting on the news, Visa chief product officer Jack Forestell said that his company is to become “the bridge between digital currencies and [its] global network of 70 million merchants”.

“With this pilot program, we want to extend the value of Visa to our neobank and financial institution clients by providing an easy bridge to crypto assets and blockchain networks,” he added.

However, despite its venture into digital currencies, Visa hasn’t announced any plans to welcome the use of Bitcoin.

Similarly, despite Mastercard’s recent decision to support select cryptocurrencies, early indications suggest Bitcoin won’t make the cut. Mastercard also outlined some requirements for the currencies, including the need to prove that they are secure, compliant with industry standards and regulations, as well as stable enough to be used as a "vehicle for spending".

Sabina Weston

Having only graduated from City University in 2019, Sabina has already demonstrated her abilities as a keen writer and effective journalist. Currently a content writer for Drapers, Sabina spent a number of years writing for ITPro, specialising in networking and telecommunications, as well as charting the efforts of technology companies to improve their inclusion and diversity strategies, a topic close to her heart.

Sabina has also held a number of editorial roles at Harper's Bazaar, Cube Collective, and HighClouds.