In its bid to offer a one-stop-shop for merchants’ credit card acceptance programs, Wells Fargo Corp. is the first to package the Verified by Visa anti-fraud service along with merchant acquiring and card processing. Industry experts say Wells is moving in the right direction by answering critics’ concerns that Visa and its card-issuing banks haven’t been aggressive enough in luring merchants and consumers into the Verified by Visa system, which requires cardholders to enter a password when making an online purchase. Merchants who participate in the program are not liable for chargebacks, or transactions that consumers deny having made. Visa shifts that liability to card issuers and provides participating merchants a discount in its interchange rate of five basis points.
“This should make it more likely that merchants and consumers will use Verified by Visa,” says Penny Gillespie, analyst with Forrester Research Inc. The success of Verified by Visa in becoming a widely used service is based on two criteria, she says: “It must be low cost and minimal effort to the merchant, and it must require minimal behavioral changes of consumers while bringing them benefits.”
Wells--which Visa confirms is the only merchant acquirer to package Verified by Visa within its services--is addressing both of those criteria through its new Global Payment Gateway, Gillespie says. Instead of having to go to several service providers for credit card processing, merchant acquiring account set-up, and fraud-prevention services like Verified by Visa, merchants can get all these services through Wells. “One stop-shopping is an advantage to merchants,” she says.
Gillespie adds that Wells is also encouraging participation in Verified by Visa by consumers by letting them sign up for it directly on merchants’ sites.
Charmaine Clay, vice president of business Internet services at Wells, says Global Payment Gateway is designed to save merchants the time and expense related to sourcing services from multiple providers. She was unable to provide sample pricing for the Global Payment Gateway, which can run either on a merchant’s own web server or on a web server hosted by Wells.
Jim McCarthy, senior vice president of emerging products for Visa, said a number of service providers, including Retail Decisions, Cybersource and VeriSign, offer card processing and anti-fraud services including Verified by Visa, but that Wells is the only company that also provides merchant acquiring services.
He adds that Verified by Visa is now accepted by 7,000 merchants worldwide, including 3,000 in the U.S., and that Visa expects these numbers to grow in the first quarter of next year. About 9,000 Visa card issuers, or about 70% of all Visa issuers, participate in Verified by Visa, accounting for more 200 million cards, or more than 60% of all Visa cards.