Cambodia Investment Review

Leader Talks: Ivana Tranchini on Steering Visa Toward a Safe & Inclusive Digital Future in Cambodia

Leader Talks: Ivana Tranchini on Steering Visa Toward a Safe & Inclusive Digital Future in Cambodia

Harrison White

Ivana Tranchini Visa Country Manager For Cambodia speaks with the Cambodia Leadership Review’s Top 30 in Finance 2024 magazine, about Visa’s transformative journey in the fintech sector. In the exclusive interview Ivana outlines Visa’s strategic advancements beyond traditional payment methodologies, highlighting their pivotal role in fostering innovation and financial inclusivity in Cambodia’s rapidly evolving digital landscape.

CLR: How is Visa evolving as a fintech innovator beyond traditional payment methods?

IV: As a payments network, Visa has a responsibility to partner with fintechs that are bringing innovation into the global digital payments space to drive the overall development of the payments ecosystem in Cambodia.

Innovation is core to Visa’s success, with Visa playing an active role in the development of digital wallets, mobile payment solutions and contactless payment technology, enabling users to make secure and convenient payments, and reducing reliance on physical cards.

When it comes to innovation, Visa taps into the creativity and speed of our partners and combines this with the scale of Visa’s network and connection with banks, merchants, and big tech companies to bring value across the entire ecosystem.

Visa has various programs where we collaborate with fintechs, which include theVisa Accelerator Program, now it its fourth iteration in 2024. The program enables Visa to collaborate with startups for close to six months to bring to life proof of concept ideas in money movement, Artificial Intelligence (AI), embedded finance, loyalty and expanding acceptance for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and micro businesses.

Some partnerships in recent years with fintech innovators include those with Pismo, YellowPepper and Thunes, which have helped enable cutting-edge money movement solutions such as Visa Direct and B2B Connect, and fueled Visa’s value-added services that support fast payments, mitigating payment risks and optimizing efficiency for transaction processing to serve consumers and businesses.

CLR: What key changes have you noticed in the payment and fintech landscape since you started at Visa?

IV: The ongoing evolution of technology and consumer behavior has led to significant changes impacting the payment and fintech landscape since I’ve joined Visa. I have witnessed major changes through my experience in markets such as Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand.

The embracing of a mobile-first approach has been the biggest revolution in payments and banking in the last 10 years. Digital-only banks, mobile payments, and QR payments are all bringing down the cost to provide services and accelerating financial inclusion.

I foresee that a mobile-first approach is likely to continue and form a key part of payments infrastructures as governments in Southeast Asia continue to digitize. In Cambodia, the Digital Technology Roadmap launched by the Kingdom in 2023 highlights the national agenda of digitization which will catalyze the adoption of digital payments in Cambodia. There has been a surge in ecommerce, with the Ministry of Commerce anticipating the market size to be $1.5 billion this year. This surge in e-commerce activity has led to innovations in online payment solutions, including seamless checkout experiences, alternative payment methods, and Buy Now Pay Later services, which cater to changing consumer preferences.

The second key change has been the forging of strategic partnerships between banks and fintechs, driven by the proliferation of the API development structure that makes innovation easier. Fintechs provide agility and speed in innovation, and many fintech innovations have contributed to expanding financial access and inclusion, particularly in emerging markets such as Cambodia, through solutions such as digital banking, microfinance, and remittance services.

Another key change has been the emergence of open banking, which refers to the use of APIs to share consumers’ financial data to trusted third-parties that, in turn, create and distribute novel financial products and services. This is transforming how banks can assess new customers as open banking can provide better quality data for more accurate credit scoring.

CLR: What major trends do you predict in payments and fintech in the next five to 10 years, particularly in emerging economies such as Cambodia?

IV: Several major trends are likely to shape the payments and fintech landscape in the next five to 10 years, particularly in emerging economies where the focus is on driving digital and financial inclusion.

Embedded finance is one such trend. We foresee increased integration of financial services into non-financial platforms, such as e-commerce marketplaces, social media platforms, and on-demand service apps, which will integrate traditional banking and everyday activities.

We also anticipate the accelerated deployment of real-time payment systems in emerging economies, which will support economic growth and financial stability. In this context, interoperability will be a fundamental driver in Cambodia and the region, fueling the adoption of digital payments and creating seamless payment experiences. At Visa we’re using our expertise and 60 years of experience in global payment network development to support the security and interoperability needs of these networks.

With growing digitization and the adoption of digital payment modes by consumers and businesses, there will need to be a heightened focus on cybersecurity measures and technology investment. These will be designed to safeguard customer information and maintain trust in digital financial services.

Finally, we anticipate generative AI will have the potential to transform the payments industry in Cambodia and Southeast Asia by lowering costs and driving financial inclusion, specifically through the areas of fraud detection and risk management, providing personalized services to consumers, driving automation and efficiency in payments, enhancing customer interaction, and helping businesses stay abreast with changes in payments compliance and innovation.

Ivana Tranchini Visa Country Manager For Cambodia.

CLR: Cybercrime and fraud represent significant challenges, with banks losing billions annually. What initiatives is Visa implementing to enhance security and protect against these threats in the evolving digital payments landscape?

IV: Preserving and enhancing stakeholder trust is Visa’s promise and number one priority. When it comes to protecting the integrity of the payments ecosystem that millions rely on every day, there can be no compromises. Security solutions must keep pace as payment technology evolves.

Visa has invested $10 billion in technology and innovation over the last five years, and we employ 600full-time cybersecurity specialists, to prevent fraudulent activities and protect merchants and consumers from taking on fraud losses.

Visa’s Consulting & Analytics team works with our clients to help formulate cybersecurity strategy, risk governance and compliance assessment while providing cyber training, awareness and education. In addition, Visa Token Service offers a complete, integrated set of tokenization tools that enable merchants to protect consumers’ sensitive information from fraud. Asia Pacific’s digital economy benefited from a US$2 billion uplift from adopting Visa Token Service in 2023.

Visa’s Security Roadmap for Cambodia includes Visa partnering with key partners in the payments ecosystem to drive adoption of secure technologies. Through this Roadmap, Visa seeks to secure digital first payment experiences, ensure ecosystem resilience, prevent enumeration attacks, and enhance the cybersecurity posture of ecosystem participants. This will protect consumers and businesses from becoming victims of scams.

Beyond our own network, we also provide our clients and merchants with a comprehensive suite of capabilities to help the protection of their assets, their customers and the payments ecosystem.

CLR: Considering Cambodia’s rapid adoption of mobile QR payments over traditional technologies such as EMV Chips / PayWave, how is Visa adapting its strategy for this market?

IV: The adoption of mobile QR payments is part of Cambodia’s journey in embracing digital transformation and moving toward a cashless society. The more secure options consumers and merchants have available, the faster the cashless transition will be. QR should be an option alongside contactless, eCommerce and other money movement technologies.

Interoperability and a collaborative approach will be key to the success of Cambodia’s payments ecosystem, and we are excited to work with our public and private sector partners to continue raising awareness about the benefits of digital payments. We are also broadening acceptance among SMBs by expanding merchant partnerships, introducing new acceptance technologies, and supporting the digitization of government platforms. To achieve these objectives, Visa is introducing a toolkit to help Cambodian merchants, especially SMBs, take full advantage of Visa’s contactless payment services.

In tandem with promoting the benefits of using digital payments to encourage adoption among consumers and businesses, Visa is strengthening the security of our network to bolster consumer and merchant trust. These efforts form key components of our strategy to meet the evolving payment preferences and technological trends of Cambodia.

CLR: Could you share your experiences working in Cambodia’s fintech sector and the most rewarding aspects of your role in Cambodia?

IV: Having the opportunity to work in Cambodia has been a great honor for me. It has been a thrill to work with colleagues so talented and dedicated, and wherever I go in Cambodia I meet generous, industrious people who are truly curious about how technology can advance the economy.

It’s Visa’s responsibility to play an active role in developing Cambodia’s payment ecosystem and its overall national development agenda. There is a massive opportunity for digital payments to evolve in Cambodia. And in representing Visa’s team here, it has been humbling for me to be able to have a positive impact on the economic life of this beautiful country.

Among the most rewarding aspects of my work in Cambodia has been the role that Visa has played in empowering female students and businesswomen to reach their full potential. For example, Visa has continued to partner with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA) and the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC), since four years ago to empower over 10,000 women, entrepreneurs and students across Cambodia with financial literacy.

Providing access to capital for women-led SMBs is also at the heart of Visa’s corporate foundation, Visa Foundation. Visa Foundation has supported 800 women entrepreneurs across 12 provinces in Cambodia to access capital and grow their businesses via a two-year project in partnership with The Asia Foundation.

Download Cambodia Leadership Review Top 30 Finance 2024 via the QR code here.

Cambodia Leadership Review Top 30 Finance 2024.

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