We could rescue clients from eurozone crisis ‘in a day’ says Visa CTO

By Peter Gothard
28 Jun 2012 View Comments

As the eurozone crisis shows no sign of abating, payments firm Visa has assured Computing that it has a combined technical and project contingency plan to rescue any of its banking clients from the eurozone in less than 24 hours.

"We've done the technology side before," Visa Europe CTO Adam Banks told Computing. "We know it takes 400 man days of total effort, but we've got 500 developers, and if we had to do that in a day, pretty much we could do that. Technology won't be an impediment, it'll be testing and scheduling with all the parties involved to make it a seamless cutover."

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Visa's theory is that eurozone extraction works exactly like migrating into Europe, but simply in reverse. In the past, said Banks, Visa has consistently pulled off currency switchovers "within a millisecond".

"Immediately prior to midnight, we'll be processing that country in its original currency, and one millisecond after midnight we'll be processing in the euro," explained Banks. "It's not a problem."

Banks admits, however, that an added complication for Visa's migration systems will be the challenge of taking a company into a created currency.

"What we'd see here is a new currency being created as someone left the euro, but the euro still exisiting," Banks told Computing. "So it is slightly different from the way it's been before."

Moving banks from the old currency to the new is a process that has to be carried out "one by one", Banks explained, and is a testing process, but Visa is already "creating project contingency plans", according to Banks.

In the meantime, Banks explained, Visa is using its liquidity monitoring services on a realtime basis to serve its clients as quickly as possible.

"Another thing we're considering," Banks told Computing, "is around how [clients could] go about settling. A country would settle with another country in euros or dollars, but if a company had moved out of the euro, it would be very difficult for it to get hold of euros or dollars.

"So for a competitive advantage," Banks concluded, "any company planning on doing business post-migration would be advised to see how they could deal in local currency in settlement terms."

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