Where is Visa headed with its ‘Flexible Credential’ concept?

When Visa unveiled the basics of its 'Visa Flexible Credential' in May, it left many wondering what the payments giant is up to. Some goals — like boosting payments volume through its system — seem obvious enough, but that also appears to be just the first layer of the onion.

Visa’s mid-May unveiling of the concept of the “Visa Flexible Credential” has left payments industry people trying to work out what the move is really about, how it will work in practice, and what it will mean to the range of stakeholders. The latter includes consumer card holders, card issuers, merchants, and Visa itself.

Visa Flexible Credential won’t be rolled out until later in 2024 in the U.S. The debut won’t be with a bank but with Affirm, which offers debit card service as well as its original specialty of Buy Now, Pay Later service. In 2023, Affirm announced its ambitions to expand beyond its roots to be a dominant payments player. [Dig Deeper: Affirm Goes Big: How It Intends to Go Beyond BNPL to Own Payments]

The flexible credential will enable cardholders with a single card product to shift between various payment methods that they have with a single provider.

“Now people can easily set parameters or choose whether they use debit, credit, pay-in-four with Buy Now, Pay Later, or even pay using rewards points,” Visa said in a statement. The company has also talked about using the flexible credential for other payment options such as pay-by-bank service and cryptocurrency. The announcement, made during the annual Visa Payments Forum, noted that the concept is live in the company’s Asia region.


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