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Visa Expands Its Checkout Service To More Online Merchants

The credit card network wants to liberate you from entering 16-digit card numbers online.

Last updated on July 3, 2018, at 1:16 p.m. ET

Posted on May 19, 2015, at 10:02 a.m. ET

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Visa's effort to make using your card online easier is expanding to more merchants after nearly a year in operation. Rolled out last July, Visa Checkout is a way of sharing shipping, credit card, and password data across merchant sites with the goal of making the checkout process simpler, especially on mobile devices. Visa had already signed up some big retailers like Gap, Pizza Hut, and Neiman Marcus, and is adding on Dunkin Donuts, Fandango, and Williams Sonoma.

Trying to get rid of the difficulty and frustration of entering in a 16-digit number, security code, address, and password isn't just being addressed by Visa: PayPal is the company's biggest competitor, and there are startups like Dashlane or 1Password that do similar things.

"Sixty percent of people who start checking out actually finish," Visa's Senior Vice President for Digital Solutions Sam Shrauger told BuzzFeed News. "There's a big problem in retailers losing potential buyers in the checkout process in the online world."

Citing a study by ComScore, Visa says that Visa Checkout users were two-thirds more likely to complete a transaction than when they have to enter their billing and shipping information on their own. Shrauger said that Visa Checkout users complete their orders 17% more than customers using PayPal's competing product, PayPal Direct Express Checkout.

"There's a lot of data entry that has to be keyed into checkout; it's hard enough to do it on desktop, and it's much harder to do on a mobile phone or a tablet," Shrauger said. "The fastest growing channels in e-commerce, like mobile commerce, are ones where buyers have the most difficult time purchasing."

Visa installs its Checkout system on top of a merchant's e-commerce operations, a process Shrauger says takes about six weeks. Visa isn't getting any incremental revenue from Checkout, although it does, of course, benefit from more people making more and bigger purchases with their cards on the Visa network. Visa has signed up 260 banks that issue cards and 140 merchants. So far it's had more than 4 million people sign up with the service.

"We've seen great merchant acceptance. We've been in markets for less than a year and we're well over 4 million consumers," Shrauger said, adding that Visa Checkout buyers have an average order that's 7% higher than customers that don't use it.

Part of the deal with merchants is a massive promotional effort, including using Visa's existing advertising relationship with FIFA and the NFL to promote checkout during the Women's World Cup this summer and during the upcoming NFL season.