Starting with a major kick-off event in Washington D.C. — Visa’s Tap to Phone mobile point of sale offering is officially coming to merchants in the U.S. today (June 16). The debut comes after the service is already live in 30 markets worldwide. Visa’s head of global buyer and seller solutions, Mary Kay Bowman, said the launch represents the latest step in Visa helping merchants who want an easy way to digitize the $17 trillion total in payments they currently accept in cash.
“We could offer a convenient solution that is just as easy, that can help bridge the digital divide and help businesses who are currently relying exclusively on cash and checks [to] be able to compete in the new digital age economy,” Bowman said. The transformation from cash to digital transactions is one Visa has already seen get underway in other countries and she added they are excited to bring Tap to Phone to U.S. merchants.
The pandemic has forced businesses of all types to digitally pivot to meet rapidly shifting consumer demand, including one for more digital and contactless payment options. Tap to Phone is a way of leveraging mobile phone technology without needing add-on hardware, she said. It represents an efficient and effective way to bring merchants, who have lacked access before, quickly onto the digital payments playing field.
And for many, she noted, that new capability comes as smaller merchants look to reopen, renew and revitalize entrepreneurial efforts severely disrupted by the pandemic. The Tap to Phone launch today (June 16) coincides with the kick-off of a six-city tour focused on businesses owned by black women as part of Visa’s ongoing She’s Next campaign to boost women-owned small businesses (SMBs) around the world.
“So as we know, many of the small businesses have had to pivot during the pandemic to move to online and to digital,” she said. “And what we hear from them is that they need more help keeping up with those customers’ demands, finding tools to grow [and] to manage their business … So we look at Tap to Phone as being a great solution as part of that bigger initiative that we have in supporting women and black owned businesses.”
And more broadly, also supporting small businesses worldwide as Visa has spent the last 15 months pushing out initiatives like street teams on “Commerce in a Box” offerings to make it easier for entrepreneurs to surf the rising digital wave. Offerings are geared toward helping merchants create an eCommerce presence, modernize their marketing to reach their audience and embrace the tools that customers have used during the pandemic and will likely stay in use.
Because the great digital shift in commerce, she noted, isn’t going back. The changes we’ve seen so far are here to stay and merchants who want to remain competitive need to keep current with those changes.
“My hope for small business and independent businesses everywhere is that they come out of this set of challenges — the pandemic — the way that they’ve come out of prior challenges by being resilient, scrappy and determined in the same way they always have been,” she said. “And now [they are] able to tap into the resources that will support serving their customers in the way that their customers want to be served.”