Visa Launches Global Cryptocurrency Advisory Services

By Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts is a reporter currently based in Turkey. She covers news and business for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States.
December 8, 2021 Updated: December 16, 2021

Visa is launching a new global network of consultants and product experts providing advisory services to help its clients navigate and understand the world of cryptocurrencies, the company announced Wednesday.

The digital payments company revealed in a statement that it is launching its “Global Crypto Advisory Practice” at a time when “digital currencies are taking greater hold in the popular consciousness.”

“We’ve seen a material shift in our clients’ mindset in the last year, from a desire to explore and experiment with crypto, to actually building a strategy and product roadmap,” said Carl Rutstein, global head of Visa Consulting & Analytics.

The payments processor said its crypto advisory practice, which is housed within its consulting and analytics division (VCA), is “designed to help clients and partners advance their own crypto journey” and will provide advice to financial institutions, retailers, and central banks exploring digital currencies.

“Through their work with more than 60 crypto platforms, Visa’s global network of consultants and product experts have deep expertise to help financial institutions evaluate the crypto opportunity, develop concrete strategies, and pilot new user experiences and innovations like crypto rewards programs and CBDC-integrated consumer wallets,” Visa said.

The company cited new research showing that awareness and adoption of crypto among consumers is significantly increasing. Meanwhile, economies around the world have been moving to utilize digital currency, with Ukraine in September legalizing cryptocurrency and other digital assets.

El Salvador has also adopted Bitcoin as legal tender alongside the U.S. dollar.

According to Visa’s own global study, “The Crypto Phenomenon: Consumer Attitudes & Usage,” conducted in partnership with LRW, a Material Company, universal awareness of cryptocurrency is at 94 percent globally among adults with discretion over their household finances.

The study included nine focus groups and 10 in-depth interviews in the United States, Germany, and Argentina between July 14 to July 26 this year, as well as data collected from 6,430 online survey responses across Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Germany, Hong Kong (SAR), South Africa, the U.S., and the U.K. between Aug. 25 and Sept. 13 this year.

Meanwhile, nearly one in three adults who are aware of cryptocurrency already own or use the digital currency, and 62 percent of them said that they have been using it more within the past year.

Another 18 percent of the global participants said they would be likely or very likely to switch from their primary banking institution to one that offers crypto-related products in the next 12 months.

“Crypto represents a technological shift for money movement and digital ownership,” said Terry Angelos, SVP, and global head of fintech, Visa. “As consumers change their approach to investing, where they bank, and their views on the future of money, every financial institution will need a crypto strategy.”

In Wednesday’s statement, Visa also named American bank UMB as a client that’s already using its crypto advisory services.

“We came to Visa to learn more about digital currency and the use cases that are most relevant for various business lines as we serve our customers in the years ahead,” said Uma Wilson, executive vice president, chief information and product officer at UMB Bank. “VCA helped us begin to explore a roadmap of a strategy—from product and partner selection to cross-functional considerations such as Technology, Finance, Risk, and Compliance.”

The announcement comes shortly after Amazon said it will stop accepting Visa credit cards in the U.K. from January 19, 2022, citing high visa fee charges. Visa said it was disappointed by the decision and accused Amazon of restricting customers’ choice.

An Amazon spokesperson said in an emailed statement to The Epoch Times: “The cost of accepting card payments continues to be an obstacle for businesses striving to provide the best prices for customers. These costs should be going down over time with technological advancements, but instead, they continue to stay high or even rise.”

Visa credit cards issued outside of the U.K. will be exempt.

Katabella Roberts is a reporter currently based in Turkey. She covers news and business for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States.