What Visa Support for Crypto Transactions Could Mean for Users in Nigeria


Visa has announced support for cryptocurrencies on its payment network. The financial services provider which made this known on Monday said it will be partnering with Crypto.com but would add other exchanges to the project with time.

With this move, Visa is joining other financial services providers and tech companies like PayPal, Mastercard and Tesla in embracing digital currencies for transactions. PayPal started supporting crypto in October 2020 while Mastercard came on board in February 2021. Tesla followed suit in March.

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While other companies are a bit more diverse in the choice of cryptos that they accept, Visa says it will start with USDC alone. USDC is a stable coin, meaning that $1 is always equal to 1USDC.

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Explaining Visa’s new move, Cuy Sheffield, Head of Crypto at Visa, told Reuters that “we see increasing demand from consumers across the world to be able to access, hold and use digital currencies and we’re seeing demand from our clients to be able to build products that provide that access for consumers.” 

The company’s strategy is to work with different wallets and exchanges like crypto.com so that its users can make transactions and pay either with fiat or USDC. By leveraging the Ethereum blockchain and its first partnership, Visa removes the need to convert digital coin into traditional money before transacting with crypto.

To get a crypto.com visa card, the users have to download the crypto.com app on the google or iOS app store and follow the procedures outlined on its website.

Visa already has 2.5 billion cards that are currently used around the world for payment purposes. However, these cards will not be able to access the crypto-payment functionality that has just been launched. The new crypto-enabled card has to be requested.

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The partnership is only one step in the direction of Visa’s goal. During its 2021 Q1 earnings report call, CEO Al Kelly said that the company is working towards enabling merchants to make fiat purchase at any of the 70 million merchants where Visa is accepted globally, using crypto.

Visa Announces Support for Crypto Transactions in Partnership with Crypto.com
Al Kelly – CEO, Visa

In Nigeria, 41.89 million people have active ATM cards and 19% of the cards are issued by Visa. This means about 7.9 million people use a Visa card indicating relatively widespread use in the country. With Nigeria also being the second-largest Bitcoin trading country in the world, there is a huge awareness of cryptocurrencies and its use among citizens.

This shows that there are people who are likely to use the crypto visa card for online transactions involving digital currencies. But with the CBN imposing restrictions on crypto transactions via traditional banks, it will be interesting to see how users in Nigeria embrace this new initiative.

Visa on its part is still a major partner of several Nigerian banks, offering its financial services expertise to many major ones. Thus, driving the use of its new crypto card initiative into Nigeria could cause heads to stir especially if the CBN considers it an affront on its new policy restricting crypto transactions.

It will be interesting to see its adoption rate in the coming days.

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