Bringing innovations to the region, implementing unique technologies: Diana Kiguradze, Visa’s Regional Manager shares their goals

You’re one of the panelists at the Smart Citizen panel discussion at the Silicon Mountains 2023 event. In your opinion, what are the key attributes or characteristics of a “Smart Citizen,” and how can technology and innovation contribute to fostering smart citizenship?

From our perspective, the smart citizen is an individual who adopts the digital landscape in an ethical and responsible way, leverages digital technologies for personal growth, contributes to building the digital economy, and shares values and principles that support an inclusive digital environment.

Being a global leader in the payment industry, Visa offers the essential infrastructure and technology necessary to empower and facilitate digital payments. We are proud to be at the forefront of promoting contactless payments that has facilitated quick, convenient, and secure transactions, further accelerating the shift towards a digital economy. Hence, the role of tech and innovation is crucial to empower digital citizens.

Could you share some insights into the topics and themes you discussed as one of the main speakers on the panel? What did you hope the audience would take away from the discussion?

I was very delighted to be in Yerevan and meet esteemed speakers and attendees within the Silicon Mountains Tech Summit 2023.  During the panel discussion, we discussed various topics; I shared some important insights on Visa’s contribution to building a digital cashless ecosystem globally and locally.

During the panel discussion, I addressed the emerging trends in the tech industry, emphasizing the critical role of AI in today’s fast-paced world. I also presented some of Visa’s innovative solutions designed to meet the evolving needs of businesses in this digital era.

Additionally, I elaborated on how the evolution of digital financial services represents a significant opportunity to extend financial inclusion to previously excluded and underserved populations. However, I highlighted that achieving this goal requires a focus on digital skills and tools to ensure that everyone, regardless of their background, can become financially included. This comprehensive approach not only aligns with the ever-changing landscape of the tech industry but also underscores the importance of accessibility and equity in our digital future.

Overall, the event provided an excellent possibility for networking, enabling various field representatives to connect, exchange experiences, and establish ties for future collaborations.

What role do you see digital payments and financial technology playing in the context of smart citizenship and the development of smart cities?

Digital payments and fintech sector play a pivotal role in smart city development. For instance, Visa’s contactless technology can make payments more convenient by avoiding queues, saving time, and enhancing customer experience. In retail, Visa’s secure online payment systems can improve the shopping experience by making it quicker and more convenient. Fintech solutions, like Visa’s real-time payments platform, can facilitate instant payments for services, aiding businesses and consumers alike. Lastly, through partnerships with fintech startups, Visa can foster innovation, providing tailored financial services that meet the unique needs of citizens in a smart city.

Visa is participating in the Silicon Mountains 2023 conference as an Innovation Partner. How is Visa leveraging its expertise and resources to promote technologies and innovations that drive positive change in the region and beyond?

One of our main goals in the region is to bring innovations and implement unique technologies, which aim to support businesses, merchants, our partners, the government, and customers. This is the reason behind our partnership with Silicon Mountains to advance innovation, share our expertise with participants, and raise awareness on how technologies change our lives for the better. We drive a cashless economy, empower small and medium-sized businesses, support the economic advancement of small enterprises driven by women, and partner with financial institutions, regulators, and business.

What innovative solutions has Visa implemented in the region, particularly in Armenia, in the last five years?

Last year, we celebrated Visa’s 20th anniversary in Armenia, and I believe we have much to say. These are years of trust, partnership, innovation, and unforgettable experiences we have created with our partners. It was an honor to reflect on our numerous achievements over these years and observe the transformation from where we started to where we are today.

Here, I would like to highlight four main directions that contributed to empowering digital citizens over the last five years.

One significant milestone was the introduction of the Visa Token Service in 2020. This technology served as a catalyst for the development of new payment methods in Armenia, setting the stage for exciting advancements. In 2022, we welcomed Google Pay and Apple Pay in the country, offering Armenians more convenient and secure digital payment options.

Our commitment to delivering tailored solutions is reflected in our loyalty platform – World of Privileges, which focuses on Visa premium cardholders in Armenia. The goal of the platform is to offer benefits to cardholders and provide merchants with another channel of direct communication with consumers, thereby bringing them even closer. Merchants are able to create attractive percentage discount offers, buy one and get one free, free night, upgrades, privileged access or gifts, and many more.

Another development is our cross-border money movement solutions, made possible through Visa Direct. This offering has facilitated cross-border money transfers, making financial transactions quicker and more efficient for both businesses and individuals in Armenia.

The introduction of the Tap to Phone technology quickly gained popularity in the country, especially among small and medium-sized enterprises. Through this technology, businesses are able to accept digital payments and enrich the overall payment experience for consumers.

I am proud with Visa’s exciting journey in Armenia over the last five years, which was enriched by sharing experience and demonstrating commitment to implement innovative solutions and drive the country to a cashless future.