Visa offers crypto advisory service for financial institutions

A new service was launched on Wednesday by the world’s largest payment processor, Visa Inc, which is a global crypto advisory service for clients such as banks and also merchants.

“We came to Visa to learn more about crypto and stablecoins and the use cases that are most relevant for our retail and commercial business lines,” said Uma Wilson, executive vice president at UMB Bank, a regional U.S. lender.

The payment processor uses its network to allow buying, selling, and storing digital currency and offers a credit card that lets users earn bitcoin on purchases. Visa also allows the use of USD Coin, a stablecoin cryptocurrency whose value is pegged directly to the U.S. dollar, to settle transactions on its payment network.

In addition, the move by Visa comes against the framework of unprecedented investor demand for crypto services. The company’s latest offering pitched towards financial institutions willing to attract or retain customers with a crypto offering, retailers looking to dig into non-fungible tokens (NFTs), or central banks exploring digital currencies.

The company’s services also include educating institutions about cryptocurrencies, allowing clients to use the payment processor’s network for digital offerings, and helping manage backend operations.

Still, price stability is needed for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin to be used as a medium of exchange, Visa’s Chief Financial Officer Vasant Prabhu told Reuters.

“If the price is going to fluctuate from $60,000 to $50,000 in a few hours, it’s a very difficult thing for a merchant to accept (bitcoin) as a currency,” Prabhu said.

“I don’t know if cryptocurrencies like bitcoin will ever be a medium of exchange. Stablecoins will,” he said, adding that Visa would facilitate such transactions when the time was right.

As such, a new global study by Visa showed nearly 40 percent of crypto owners surveyed would be likely or very likely to switch their primary bank to one that offers crypto-related products in the next 12 months.