Credit card giant Visa announced a new peer-to-peer payment service today that will soon give its U.S. customers the ability to receive and send money from their Visa accounts. The new personal payments service moves Visa’s focus away from being just a handler for point-of-sale transactions and takes aim at an area that has long been dominated by PayPal.
Visa’s announcement includes a partnership with CashEdge and Fiserv, two person-to-person financial transactions companies, which will now have access to VisaNet, the company’s payment processing network.
In order to take advantage of Visa’s new offering, customers of participating financial institutions will be able to select a Visa account as the destination for funds when they make a personal payment. With someone’s Visa number and email address, you’ll be able to make a payment to someone’s credit card account.
Visa describes cash and check transactions as “inefficient” and indeed, there are many reasons why a move to offer this makes sense for Visa. Yet, despite Visa’s leadership as a credit card processing company, it might have a difficult task ahead of it in unseating PayPal as many people’s online financial transactor of choice. PayPal, after all, doesn’t require you have any credit card, let alone a Visa.