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As of 2017, e-commerce sales accounted for about 10.2 per cent of all retail sales worldwide, a figure that is predicted to reach 17.5 per cent by 2021.

This comes as no surprise as the world shifts to digital solutions to combat common problems faced by the everyday consumer such as logistical inconveniences, transactional delays, and massive overhead costs among many others.

Despite this rapid growth, however, e-commerce platforms and digital payment solutions are fumbling around trying to come up with ways to revolutionise the industry.

This is because the biggest problem faced by e-commerce has always been securing the confidence of its market when it comes to digitised financial trade matters. In Southeast Asia alone, an average of 73 per cent of its population is unbanked, with even higher numbers for countries like the Philippines and Cambodia.

This translates to over 430 million individuals who have no access to banking and finance products. They are forced to transact exclusively through traditional means and with only brick and mortar retail stores to perform transactions.

Also read: Recently valued at US$20B, fintech startup Stripe opens hub in Singapore

This is why in the past, the only way for companies that are exclusively digital to compete is by offering cash payment alternatives to their consumers—still ultimately posing a lot of logistical risks. Thankfully, the exponential growth and innovation of digital payment solution providers has changed that.

Blazing the trail for such innovations is Visa, a leader in digital payments, who has partnered with some of the most innovative companies in the world to provide a better digital payment experience for its users.

Stripe: where speed meets scale

One of the key partnerships Visa has initiated recently is with Stripe, a technology company that builds economic infrastructure for the internet.

Through this collaboration, Visa Direct is now enabled on Stripe Connect, the company’s solution for multi-sided marketplaces and platforms.

“The payment landscape is evolving rapidly, which means that consumers and merchants are expecting faster and more secure ways of payments,” said Kunal Chatterjee, Visa Country Manager for Singapore and Brunei. “We are also living in an app-based economy where digital payment is at the centre of the consumer experience. Hence, the partnership with Stripe to launch Visa Direct in Singapore helps to create a better payment experience for consumers and merchants through this real time disbursement solution.”

Visa Direct can transform payments by using Stripe’s cutting-edge technology to enable a range of real-time payment use cases backed by the security and scale of Visa’s global payment network, including:

  • Business-to-consumer: enabling businesses to send almost any kind of payment directly to a Visa account such as gaming winnings, insurance payouts, and daily merchant settlements.
  • Business-to-business: enabling businesses to pay freelancers, contractors, and other small businesses in real time.
  • Person-to-person: enabling consumers to pay each other quickly, conveniently, and securely, often through their connected devices such as when splitting bills or giving gifts.

Carousell: a human solution to a tech problem

In an effort to improve user experience, Visa also established a partnership with Carousell, one of the largest and fastest-growing web-based classified marketplaces in Asia Pacific, becoming their first merchant partner to incorporate Visa’s sensory branding technology on its payment platform.

Also read: Carousell now has official meet-up spots in the Philippines for users to conduct deals

In a research conducted by Visa, around 76 per cent of Singaporeans feel more confident about shopping digitally when there are sensory cues to indicate their transaction’s completion.

For example, consumers are more comfortable with making a purchase when there is sound, animation, and haptic (vibration) cues that confirm a successful payment, effectively enhancing the customer experience and confidence.

This newly developed Visa feature is uniquely available to the Carousell marketplace, engaging buyers with a myriad of sensory reactions from the platform: proprietary Visa sound, animation, and vibration cues signaling a user’s successful payment at the end of a CarouPay transaction.

This UX-based solution is also further bolstered by CarouPay’s escrow service while on the flip side, the payout feature makes it more convenient for their sellers to cash out their money once a deal is completed—proving that such partnership is birthed from a real commitment to deliver reassurance for both buyer and seller.

Changing the game

 What do these respective partnerships achieve, exactly? On the one hand, we see Visa’s scale and security embellished with Stripe’s speed and efficiency. On the other, we see Carousell’s fast-growing marketplace platform reinforced with Visa’s unique sensory features.

All of these innovations are ultimately part of a grander effort to aid society in transitioning to a more digitally-run system. Hopefully, we can expect more people from Southeast Asia to subscribe to their platforms and see the real value of tech in achieving a more secure and seamless life.

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Disclosure: This article is produced by the e27 content marketing team, sponsored by VISA.