Home // CMO Interview


BY Anjana Naskar

Share It

Digital payments network company Visa recently rolled out two co-marketing campaigns with SBI and ICICI Bank to encourage contactless payments in the current pandemic scenario. Sujatha V Kumar, Head of Marketing for India and South Asia, Visa discusses the campaigns, RBI’s new guidelines for contactless card payments and the future of banking

Q] Visa rolled out two co-marketing campaigns with SBI and ICICI Bank recently. What was the insight behind them and what kind of response did you receive from the campaigns?
We are a B2C company for our consumers and B2B for our partners like SBI and ICICI Bank. From a consumer perspective, if someone asks what card you have, you always say it’s an ICICI card or Standard Chartered Bank card, but very rarely would you say that you have a Visa card. In India, the situation is very different as we don’t have consumers of our own. Our consumers are always through the issuing partners that we have in our banks. So it’s very important in marketing that we communicate through our issuers as well as our partners and also communicate directly to consumers.
We’ve actually run three big marketing campaigns in the recent past for ICICI, SBI Cards and HDFC. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), as of January 1st 2021, increased the limit from Rs 2000 to Rs 5000 for contactless card transactions, which is a big thing as it covers almost more than 90% of transactions that consumers do. So, it was a big point to communicate. So both campaigns were to communicate the new limit increase in partnership with our issuing partners. We’ve advertised them across social and digital media for client marketing campaigns, and traditional offline media for consumers. Both have seen very strong results, and the client partners have been very happy with them as well.

Q] What does this increased contactless card transaction limit mean for the brand in the long run?
For us, the purpose is to help consumers go from cash to cashless and that’s the term that we’ve used for our marketing initiatives, we classify them as cashless. And there are two different ways we look at cashless, one is through e-commerce and online payments, and another is through face to face with contactless. Both are very important. This limit increase is extremely important because in the pandemic, we’ve seen that people have been very hesitant to go out. They want to minimise contact as much as possible with anyone when they go out. So this increased limit of Rs 5000 covers most transactions that Indians do on a daily basis. So they’re able to just tap their cards, and never let them leave their hand. It’s been very good for two reasons – safety and security that their card never leaves their hand, so that makes the transaction completely secure. Overall, it also saves a lot of time. So it’s been a big step for us, and we think that this will be the way going forward.

Visa Inc. is a leading global player in digital payments. Its global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. As the world takes larger strides in the digital space, Visa currently is working to apply its brand, products, people and network to reshape the future of commerce.

Sujatha V Kumar is the Head of Marketing for Visa for the India and South Asia region. She leads Visa’s marketing strategy and execution for India and the emerging markets of Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and the Maldives. She holds over 20 years of experience, having previously worked with companies like Google, P&G and Coca-Cola.

Q] Last year, Visa brought PV Sindhu on-board as its brand ambassador. What was the thought behind that and how has it worked for the brand?
We’re very happy to have PV Sindhu as part of our family. Globally, Visa has been sponsoring the Olympics for many years now. For example, Visa is the only payment form factor that’s allowed in the venues. And basically when we signed PV Sindhu, it was not just a brand building exercise, but actually to help promote the athletes as well, which is why we never call them brand ambassadors, but we call them team Visa athletes. So, Sindhu is the first athlete we signed on from India, and she becomes part of more than 50 team Visa athletes that we have globally. For us Sindhu was really the automatic choice, she represents so much that our brand stands for, be it the way she plays or the passion that she puts into each one of her shots.

Q] How is your brand leveraging technology to enable personalised experiences for a seamless customer journey?
What we’ve seen in the last year is that brands really have to keep up, especially financial services brands with accelerated digital transformation. Digital banking experiences are key now. Over 64% of Indians have used mobile payments once in the last year, 51% said they increased the use of digital wallets over the last year, and this is something that I’m very proud of. Visa is staying ahead of the innovation curve, because if you look at the UPI routes of payment, whether it’s Paytm, Google Pay or Phone Pe, on all of them, you can also use your Visa card to pay. We have made things simpler for Visa consumers who do not want to link these routes of payment with their bank account. What we have seen is that 60% have said that they plan to increase or use digital wallets in the future. Payments will continue to be online, and we are happy to lead and simplify the digital transaction experience for consumers. Going forward, we are going to see more accelerated digital transformation both from the banking sector as well as players like Visa, which will give consumers the convenience of managing all banking needs online.

Share It

Tags : Anjana Naskar Visa Sujatha V Kumar ICICI Bank digital transactions