Early in my career in payments, I worked for a company that signed a partnership to offer fraud detection software to card issuers. What differentiated our new offering was that it included a “custom neural network” to supercharge a “rules” engine—a cutting-edge AI offering at the time. Over the next several years I sold and oversaw the implementation of this technology at several of Canada’s largest banks.
I also had the exciting opportunity to meet with and learn from Nobel laureate Dr. Leon Cooper, a pioneer in commercializing the application of neural networks. Since that time, I’ve never lost my interest in how AI can improve experiences and protect and enhance the payments ecosystem.
Twenty years later I feel incredibly fortunate to be at Visa when we are seeing the rapid adoption of generative AI. Unlike the neural models that we used early in my career, ChatGPT engages users directly, resulting in 100 million monthly active users in the first two months.1 Given that popularity, it seems the opportunities in payments will be significant.
Visa’s AI legacy
Although AI is getting a lot of attention right now, we at Visa have been a leader in AI for decades: In 1993, Visa became the first network to deploy AI-based technology for risk and fraud management, pioneering the use of AI models in payments. Thirty years later, we’re still using AI to power complex, real-time decisions across the entire payment flow using one of the largest and richest consumer data sets.
We’re developing even more ways that AI can enrich every Visa transaction, like smarter transaction settlement with real-time data that gives consumers deeper knowledge about their finances and businesses better insight into their cash flow.2 And we’re driven by the responsible innovation of AI applications in fraud, to help distinguish legitimate customers from fraudsters, protect the security and resiliency of the global payment ecosystem, and more.
Our core goal with AI—in line with Visa’s values and mission—is to help our clients make payments safer and more efficient, delivering more revenue, happier customers, and better efficiency.
Changing every aspect of business
Here are a few recent examples I’ve seen of early movers using AI in some really innovative ways all across the customer value chain:
Customer service and user experience
Banking and investment giant JP Morgan Chase is developing chatbots that use AI to detect dissatisfaction during customer service interactions and can even give investment advice.3 And AI has the potential to drive more frictionless experiences in areas like insurance, where complex payment flows need to be linked together between disparate data sets.
Chinese eCommerce giant Alibaba recently announced an AI tool that can generate images from text—a function that should not only help revolutionize more creative endeavors but also advertising and retail.4 And travel companies like Priceline are designing chatbots that will provide travel advice, like when best to go to a certain part of the world, and help speed up booking times.5
Tech startup Bite Ninja recently launched an AI solution for restaurants that allows remote workers to take drive thru orders from home and route them to kitchens. It will also use AI to better inform cashiers about customer preferences so they can incorporate suggestions when taking orders.6
AI-powered finance company JustPaid recently announced an AI-based solution that will offer small and medium businesses automated bill payments, contract validation, and financial auditing.7 And Slack is building an AI-based chatbot that will eliminate administrative tasks for employees like taking and summarizing meeting notes.8
AI will enable some fascinating new ways to shop and an allow for an unprecedented level of personalization in the ways we currently shop, both online and in store. Companies like eBay are already using it to suggest products to potential buyers browsing their site. There will be so many new ways for us as consumers to interact with brands—you’ve probably already experienced virtual shopping or user-generated content from influencers on social media.
So how can this ongoing AI innovation help businesses?
- Look at ways to integrate AI into your shopping and payments experiences now. Many businesses are already doing this—draw inspiration from them!
- Learn as much as you can about AI and keep up with the innovations. This will be a time of rapid change but ignoring it could hurt your business.
- Study ways to use the richer data that AI applications could provide.
- Explore uses for AI in your operations—solutions like embedded payments and payments orchestration will derive more intelligence from richer AI data, which can reduce costs and drive other efficiencies.
The potential of AI and other emerging technologies seems really limitless. At Visa, we’re already seeing the effects of AI on internal efficiencies. We’ve launched Visa Secure ChatGPT for our employees, and our developers are using it to enable innovation and accelerated time-to-market. And we’re exploring Generative AI capabilities to support key functions including marketing, finance, legal and compliance to unlock productivity and increase our speed and effectiveness. I’m excited that we’re one of the leaders exploring how to use this technology to uplift everyone, everywhere, by being the best way to pay and be paid.
What new, innovative applications of AI are you seeing?
1 ChatGPT sets record for fastest-growing user base - analyst note, 2023, www.reuters.com
2 "Visa Introduces AI-Powered Innovations for Smarter Payments." Visa, 2021, visa.com
3 Son, Hugh. CNBC. JPMorgan is developing a ChatGPT-like A.I. service that gives investment advice, 2023, cnbc.com
4 Kharpal, Arjun. CNBC. Alibaba launches A.I. tool to generate images from text, cnbc.com
5 Mody, Seema. CNBC. Priceline joins A.I. chatbot race, signing on with Google to help ease travel booking, cnbc.com
6 "Bite Ninja Bets on Restaurant Remote Workforce Despite Diner Frustrations." PYMNTS, 2023, www.pymnts.com
7 "JustPaid Debuts Suite of AI-Powered Finance Services." PYMNTS, 2023, www.pymnts.com
8 Field, Hayden. Slack’s getting an A.I. chatbot that can summarize messages, take notes and more, 2023, www.cnbc.com