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Visa opens London technology centre

Visa opens a space in London where it can test out technologies alongside customers and suppliers

Visa has opened a centre in London that will apply new technologies – such as the internet of things (IoT), virtual reality and biometrics – to its payments services.

The 1,000m2 Visa Innovation Center will be a place where Visa can work with financial services, retail business customers and IT suppliers to apply modern digital technologies to the real world.

It will have live demonstrations of digital technologies being used in different payment scenarios, such assuch as paying for car insurance or placing a grocery order from a refrigerator.

Visa also announced that financial technology (fintech) developers in Europe can now take advantage of the Visa Developer Platform.

Fintech firms, retail developers, IT suppliers and startups can select from an initial set of Visa payment application programming interfaces (APIs), software development kits and documentation to help them create applications.

Fintech entrepreneur Rajesh Agrawal, who is deputy mayor for business, said: “London is a global fintech leader because we have been able to combine our traditional strength in financial services with our growing talent for tech and our innovative and entrepreneurial spirit. 

“I understand that businesses need a little bit of help to turn the kernel of a good idea into something truly transformative.”

The London centre is the latest in Visa’s global innovation centers and studios network, with centres existing in Berlin, Dubai, Miami, San Francisco, Singapore, Sao Paulo and Tel Aviv.

According to Visa, these centres set out to provide spaces “to encourage dynamic interaction, real-time experimentation and rapid prototyping”.

Read more about Visa payments technology

Collaboration is vital if technology is to be applied to business challenges. For example, Visa is working with industrial and consumer hardware supplier Bosch, and entrepreneurial funding platform Indiegogo in a partnership to bring IBM’s Watson-based IoT applications to market.

In relation to the project with IBM Watson, Visa executive vice-president of innovation and strategic partnerships, Jim McCarthy, said Visa wants to go beyond credit cards to use the IoT to turn billions more devices into payment methods. He said the basic idea behind Visa’s use of Watson IoT was to eliminate steps in the payment process.

In February 2016, Visa gave software developers access to its payments technology to enable them to develop products and services to complement it.

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