Visa official touts 'universal commerce'

Visa International is upgrading its electronic payment systems to enable what the company is calling "universal commerce," in which borders, currencies, and security concerns will not impede worldwide transactions, a company official said here Monday.

The company, best known for its credit cards, is utilizing concepts such as distributed systems, IP-based networking, and an adherence to standards to enable "U-Commerce," said Janice VandenBrink, senior vice president of global systems at Visa International. VandenBrink touted her company's plans in a presentation at the eBusiness Integration Conference here.

"Buyers and sellers will have to transcend geographic and political borders," VandenBrink said.

Nearly every transaction will be electronic, she said. Currently in the United States, only 25 percent of transactions daily are conducted with currency, VandenBrink said.

She touted "infomoney," an electronic-based payment form, as the currency of e-commerce .

"Information is merging the traditional concept of dollars, yen, Deutschmarks, and pesos to create a new currency, or infomoney," VandenBrink said. "It is a combination of financial, transactional, business, and personal data that can be sent anywhere, instantly, from a wide variety of sources."

Standards will be critical to worldwide payment systems, she said. "We can't afford incompatible standards or roadblocks to access," VandenBrink said.

Visa is enhancing its core legacy systems, enabling distributed systems, and looking to provide round-the-clock fraud protection and security, VandenBrink said. The company's fraud rate is now half of what it was 10 years ago, she said. Biometrics, the use of a person's specific genetic characteristics, is one technology that can thwart the theft of account information, she added.

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