Visa Not Processing Crypto Payments, But Other Processors See Opportunity

Visa CEO makes it clear it’s not processing payments based in cryptos, but people still have options.

Visa isn’t, and won’t be, processing cryptocurrency-based anytime soon.

This is the message from the company’s CEO, who referred to cryptocurrencies as “speculative” commodities.

While Visa is shunning away from the space, other payment processors are not.

Let’s discuss.

Commodity vs. fiat

Visa’s CEO, who is Alfred Kelly, said this week that his company has no plans to begin processing transactions that are cryptocurrency based. He said Visa would only process fiat-based transactions.

“We don’t view it as a payment system player.”

Kelly acknowledged the allure of the space, saying it is still evolving.

 “Depending on when you got into the crazy cycle of what’s happened with Bitcoin over the last three months, and whether you got out at the right time, you could have made a bunch a money. It’s much more today a speculative commodity that people can invest in.”

Prepaid card crackdown

It’s worth noting that there are crypto prepaid cards bearing Visa’s logo, but they’ve run into some issues. When Kelly spoke about not processing transactions that are crypto-based, he didn’t discuss some recent developments over these cards.

Earlier this month, the Independent reported that Visa had locked down some prepaid cards by blocking the provider, WaveCrest. This affected Bitpay, Cryptopay and Bitwala, whose cards were suspended as of Jan. 5.

The matter has to do with WaveCrest violating Visa’s prepaid card terms.

Square still in the game

Other payment processors have not been so shy about pursuing business opportunities in the space. Take Square for example.

Square began allowing for merchants to accept Bitcoin in 2014. Long a supporter of this crypto, Square’s CEO Jack Dorsey’s next move was the development of the Cash App. It was rolled out in December to select customers, but plans are to make it available to more customers over time.

One of the things Dorsey has in common with Kelly is his view of Bitcoin. He too has said that he sees it as more of an investment than a means of making payments.

In a company statement, it was said:

We've found that (our customers) are interested in using the Cash app to buy bitcoin. We're exploring how Square can make this experience faster and easier, and have rolled out this feature to a small number of Cash app customers. We believe cryptocurrency can greatly impact the ability of individuals to participate in the global financial system and we're excited to learn more here."