Visa Checkout: Another Way to Pay

Paypal is a familiar name. Apple Pay made a big splash recently. Amazon Payments rings a bell with over 200 million Amazon customers. But have you heard of Visa Checkout, the payment service offered by credit card giant Visa, Inc., since late 2013?

What is Visa Checkout?

Visa Checkout lets online shoppers buy things online using credit or debit cards; not just Visa cards but also Mastercard, American Express, and Discover. Like Paypal, you give your card details only to Visa Checkout, not lots of online merchants. Also like Paypal, you have to give Visa Checkout a username and password to make a payment.

Unlike Paypal, which lets you exchange money with anyone who has an email address linked to a Paypal account, Visa Checkout can be used only with participating merchants. You can’t receive money from a friend or family member as a private individual; you must have a business registered with Visa Checkout.

What is Visa Checkout?

The list of participating merchants is illustrious but small at this time. It includes big names like Pizza Hut, Newegg, Tiger Direct, Neiman Marcus, United Airlines, Banana Republic, Orbitz, Comcast, and the New Orleans Saints. (Wait, what?) A showcase of all merchants accepting Visa Checkout is available which tells us that there are not a whole lot of such merchants.

Visa Checkout does not seem to be spreading “organically;” that is, merchants are not beating down Visa’s doors to sign up for Checkout. However, more than 2 million consumers have registered with Visa Checkout during its first year, providing a pool of buyers that may be attractive to more merchants as it grows. The significant number of consumer users may be due to the more than 200 card-issuing financial institutions that are pushing their customers to enroll in Visa Checkout.

On the other hand, Apple Pay signed up over a million users in its first three days just by saying, “Here it is…” About 600,000 of those users registered their Visa cards with Apple Pay. Oh, and Visa says more than 1,000 of its own financial institution partners are “supporting” Apple Pay, compared to 200 partners claimed for Visa Checkout.

What Makes Visa Checkout Different?

Visa can’t seem to find a significant selling point that differentiates Checkout from the other digital payment services. In a recent analyst conference call, the best Visa Checkout’s representative could say is that customers don’t have to “leave” a merchant’s Web site to pay via Visa Checkout, as they supposedly do with Paypal. Somehow, in the minds of the MBAs at Visa, this improves merchants’ sales.

But when I ordered from using Visa Checkout, a browser window opened over the Pizza Hut Web page to connect me with Visa Checkout. Sure, the Pizza Hut page was still partially visible in the background but I wouldn’t say I felt any more or less “engaged” than I feel when I’m whisked to Paypal’s login screen and then back to a merchant’s page after I pay. I entered my Checkout username, which happens to be my Paypal email address too. I also entered a password, just as I do with Paypal.

So is there a compelling need for Visa Checkout? I can think of one. It’s always a good idea to give customers choices when they’re ready to throw money at you. As I mentioned earlier, some may feel uncomfortable giving their credit card info to an online merchant. So a third-party with a recognized name may help with the trust factor, and reduce cart abandonment.

For various reasons, some people absolutely hate Paypal, or Amazon, or Apple. It doesn’t matter why, or whether their sentiments are justified. What matters is that a significant number of consumers WILL NOT complete the sale if they hit one of those personal roadblocks. It could be that the Visa brand (which predates the Internet by decades) is more palatable and/or trusted by some consumers. So why not give them one more option?

Unfortunately, I could not find any details on the Visa Checkout for Business pages about merchant fees or setup costs. But I’ve read elsewhere that there is no setup charge, and merchants who use Visa Checkout will pay the same transaction fees they do now.

Will you offer Visa Checkout to your online customers? Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below…

More Posts about Ecommerce:

  • Yes, You Need an Ecommerce Platform

  • New Square Reader Does Apple And Chips

  • Are You Paying For Ads That Nobody Sees?

  • Improve Sales With A/B Testing

  • Are Trust Logos Worth It?


  1. James Stevens says

    Thanks for the tip. VISA is much more oriented toward protection of users, rather than the merchants that pay the fees. When you have a dispute,with Master Card,, good luck!

  2. Bob, just to let the Business Owners know … I also, have used Visa Checkout, at Pizza Hut. I felt safe and secure, just like I do with Pay Pal. So please, consider using this method, as well as Pay Pal, for your business. Customers who like using a Third Party Payee, will like it. It was easy to for me, to set it up, the first time and then, the Customer is good to go. Just my thoughts, from a consumer.

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