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An Interview with Visa Canada’s Brian Weiner on What’s Next for Prepaid in Canada

Visa is the newest CPPO member to join our robust group of issuing banks, networks, fintechs, program managers, processors and service providers. To gain insights into what Visa Canada’s leadership believes is driving the prepaid market today — including what’s next for Visa in this market — we connected with Brian Weiner, Vice President, Head of Product and Digital for Visa Canada.


CPPO: What do you think is the biggest force propelling the prepaid market’s growth today? What’s on the horizon for prepaid for digital payments innovation? Where is Visa investing its attention here?


Brian: The prepaid industry is evolving rapidly. This is being driven by changing consumer preferences, changing demographics in Canada, and the rise of the GIG economy. We embrace change as it presents an opportunity for continuous innovation. There has been a significant demand for prepaid products because they provide an easy and ubiquitous place to store funds, and the Visa network provides an easy and ubiquitous way to use or transfer those funds.


For example, youth that are just beginning their journey into independent payments, the ride-sharing app that wants an easy way to pay its community of drivers, the government that is looking for a fast way to disburse funds during a disaster, or the retailer that is looking for a simple way to deliver a promotion at the point-of-sale or to further engage its customers. Whether you’re a fintech or a global network, like Visa, we’re all fueled by the same goal, which is to create innovative, consumer-driven, and retailer-driven payment solutions. It’s important that we constantly have our finger on the pulse and ensure our products are adaptable to meet the needs of the market.


CPPO: What’s the biggest prepaid innovation use case you’re seeing today?


Brian: It’s difficult to pick just one because there is a diverse array of new use cases coming to market. In addition to what I referenced on the previous question, we’re seeing a growing use of prepaid in the new-to-Canada segment as some of that population looks to establish their financial footing domestically. We’re seeing new use cases in digital currencies and crypto. We’re seeing new use cases with fintech, neobanks, and other more traditional deposit institutions who want to enable their customers to use their deposits for everyday spending. The list will continue to grow and this is why we have been and will continue to invest in the space.


CPPO: How can the prepaid market best position itself to navigate today’s regulatory climate?


Brian: Education goes a long way, and Visa has been a voice of the industry not only on prepaid but on many different payments topics for many years. This is how you build a collaborative relationship with government and other stakeholders and harness a collective industry view towards long-term ecosystem health in Canada. Importantly, this is where CPPO has been and can be such a positive force, putting its influence as a singular, organized voice, to great use in building awareness and education of the prepaid industry. This work is vital in helping regulatory bodies understand and contextualize our market so they can make informed decisions.


CPPO: What is Visa focusing on in the Canadian payments market?


Brian: Visa’s purpose is to uplift everyone, everywhere by being the best way to pay and be paid. To achieve this, we are laser focused on the needs of consumers, retailers, fintechs, the new economy, corporates, and government. All of these players (and many more) come together to form the digital economy, and our goal is to ensure that economy can thrive, innovate, and grow in the most seamless and secure manner possible. This involves delivering front-end capabilities like installment lending or eco-sustainability solutions, back-end capabilities like tokenization, and connective tissue to enable money movement in real-time. These are just a few examples, and there are of course many more.

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