Payment Channels—A New Era
Nikos Kabanopoulos, General Manager of Visa Europe for Greece, Cyprus and Bulgaria, discusses the current—and future—use of credit cards and digital payments.
What are the advantages of using cards over cash?
The benefits of Visa card usage instead of cash are multiple, starting with the security, safety and simplicity of using Visa instead of carrying cash. Moreover, as per the most recent announcements from the government, due to the highest use of cards ever, there was a big increase of tax revenues, suggesting that there is a clear connection between the use of cash and tax evasion.
Although cash is still the preferred option in Greece, the introduction of capital controls in 2015 has changed consumers’ relationship with electronic payments and throughout this period we have ensured the needed liquidity for our Cardholders. As consumer habits change, the launch of Mobile and Digital services will drive card usage to much higher levels with clear benefits for consumers, businesses and the Greek economy.
The future of commerce will be shaped from the development of new payment ways, and we will witness the gradual movement from plastic on to digital channels. Consumers today are more willing to experiment with these payment ways. At Visa we focus on creating the technology that allows consumers to pay anytime, anywhere and in any way chosen, through physical transactions, mobile devices, or e-commerce, while enjoying security, convenience and international acceptance.
How is Visa integrating innovation in its operations?
Visa focuses on innovation. We recently announced the launch of the Visa Innovation Center in London, where we have our European headquarters. It is the largest in Visa’s global network of innovation centers and a place where Visa can work side-by-side with partners to develop the next generation of payment solutions.
The center in London joins a global network of innovation centers located in technology hotspots, including Berlin, Dubai, Miami, San Francisco, Singapore, Sao Paulo and Tel Aviv.
Also, Visa cooperates with Fintech developers across Europe who are now able to take advantage of the Visa Developer Platform to create new, secure ways to pay.
As the payments industry shifts from plastic to digital and new entrants join traditional stakeholders in payments, the mission of Visa is to ensure that every connected device, appliance or wearable, can become a secure place for commerce.
How is Visa working in the tourism sector?
Visa is a global brand which connects consumers all around the world and hence is directly related to tourism. In Greece, we support the Greek tourism industry, which is leading the effort for the country’s recovery.
Last year, through a dedicated digital campaign, featuring beautiful pictures of our country, we reached approximately 21 million travelers. At the same time, we had three exclusive offers for Visa cardholders, at pamediakopes.gr, Hellenic Duty Free shops and the Athens Sightseeing buses. We managed to approach more tourists, through other Visa offices, in Italy, Russia, Turkey, Bulgaria and Croatia, which communicated our messages and contributed to the promotion of the Greek tourism product. Furthermore, we participated at the World Travel Exhibition in London, with a presence at the National Tourism Organization’s booth. We were also present in key tourist arrival points such as the Athens airport, where we reminded tourists about the benefits of using Visa and informed them about Visa Travel Tools, an application which provides travelers with useful information.
This year we will continue our campaign aiming to reach even more tourists and remind them of the benefits of using their Visa cards instead of cash when travelling to Greece.
We will continue to focus on supporting tourism stakeholders by helping them further develop their business and, of course, our cardholders, so that they can enjoy their holidays in our country.
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