Visa is taking significant steps to modernise cross-border money transfers, with plans to expand its stablecoin settlement capabilities to the Solana blockchain. The company is collaborating with merchant acquirers Worldpay and Nuvei to facilitate this development.
Visa has already initiated live pilots with issuers and acquirers, effectively moving millions of USDC (USD Coin) between its partners using the Solana and Ethereum blockchain networks to settle fiat-denominated payments authorised over VisaNet.
When consumers use Visa cards for purchases at any of the millions of Visa-accepting merchants worldwide, they experience nearly instantaneous payment authorizations. However, what happens behind the scenes is crucial. The funds must move between the consumer’s bank (the issuer) and the merchant’s bank (the acquirer). Visa’s treasury and settlement systems manage this complex process, ensuring the proper amount in the preferred currency reaches the acquirer. This intricate operation spans nearly 15,000 financial institutions and over 25 currencies globally, handling billions in transactions daily.
Cuy Sheffield, Head of Crypto at Visa, emphasised the importance of leveraging stablecoins like USDC and global blockchain networks such as Solana and Ethereum to enhance cross-border settlement speed and provide clients with modern, efficient fund transfer options. Visa aims to remain at the forefront of digital currency and blockchain innovation.
This move builds upon Visa’s successful pilot with Crypto.com in 2021, making it one of the pioneering payment networks to test stablecoin settlement on the issuance side. The collaboration with Crypto.com allowed for the seamless use of USDC and the Ethereum blockchain to facilitate cross-border payments on Crypto.com Visa cards in Australia, eliminating the need for lengthy currency conversions and costly international wire transfers. This approach will be expanded to other markets.
Visa is now extending its settlement capabilities to acquirers like Worldpay and Nuvei, enabling faster settlement times for their merchants. These acquirers serve a wide range of global merchants, including those involved in blockchain and cryptocurrency activities such as on-ramp providers, games, and NFT marketplaces. Visa can use its Circle account to manage settlement payouts in USDC to Worldpay and Nuvei, who can then transfer these payments in USDC to their end merchants.
Additionally, Visa has recognised the demand for high-performance blockchains with faster and more cost-effective stablecoin transactions. To address this, Visa has added support for the Solana blockchain, known for its impressive speed and lower transaction costs. This move positions Visa as one of the major payment companies to directly utilise Solana for live settlement payments between its clients.
Visa’s forward-looking approach includes forging new partnerships and embracing the innovative potential of digital currencies. The collaboration with Worldpay and Nuvei is a significant step in this direction. Jim Johnson, President of Worldpay Merchant Solutions, highlighted how Visa’s USDC settlement capability enhances flexibility for merchants in a rapidly evolving commerce landscape. Philip Fayer, Chair and CEO of Nuvei, emphasised the benefits of stablecoins like USDC for businesses, especially in optimising cross-border transactions.