Visa, UnionBank roll out blockchain-based B2B platform

By John Reczon Calay

Global payment solutions firm Visa partnered with UnionBank to launch on Monday, Jan. 22, its simplified process of corporate cross-border bank-to-bank (B2B) transactions for small medium businesses and corporations in the Philippines.

UnionBank chair Justo Ortiz explains the story behind the partnership with Visa for cross-border B2B transactions and the bank’s “technology company” vision

Visa’s B2B Connect is a platform designed to give financial institutions a secure and fast way to process corporate cross-border B2B payments. The platform is based on a blockchain architecture technology, sending transactions over Visa’s network from the bank of origin directly to the recipient bank.

“We believe that it is important to simplify cross-border payments for small medium businesses and corporates in the Philippines,” Visa Asia-Pacific head of B2B partnerships Vikram Kshettry said.

“Visa B2B Connect takes on an innovative approach and eliminates friction for cross-border transactions by using distributed ledger technology to enhance the speed, security, and reliability of these transactions,” Kshettry added.

Traditional cross-border corporate payments can take lengthy transaction time.

“Traditionally, if an SME (small medium enterprise) needs to pay a supplier in Brazil he would request for an electronic funds transfer from his UnionBank account to his supplier’s account in Brazil,” UnionBank chairman Justo Ortiz said.

“Technology is tremendously empowering. We should not be afraid of it. Instead, we need to learn and embrace it,” said Kshettry, adding that cash flow is essential to SME survival.

B2B Connect is designed with an API (application programming interface)-first strategy, and is brought out in the Visa Developer Platform. The platform is also available in 23 currencies.

The two companies have tested B2B Connect prior to its commercial launch in the country.

UnionBank is the first Philippine commercial bank to pilot test the platform. Other banks in the pilot program include the Commerce Bank in the United States, Shinhan Bank in South Korea, Sberbank in Russia, and United Overseas Bank in Singapore.

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