Card-brand giant Visa Inc. is joining a payment-information exchange test operated by Nacha, the network operator for the automated clearing house system.
Dubbed Phixius, the exchange could expedite the sharing of payment information between payees and payers and can allow for multiple payment types, including ACH, wire, card, and others. Nacha says it could save businesses time in vetting new payees and ensuring the payment is properly made.
“Joining Phixius is a logical next step in the expansion of Visa’s solutions driving efficiency and delivering value-added services to buyers and suppliers,” Alan Koenigsberg, Visa senior vice president and global head of new payments flows, said in a statement Wednesday.
Currently, this type of information exchange is primarily organized through bilateral agreements, Nacha says. That can make it difficult to scale up when an entity has relationships with hundreds or thousands of trading partners.
Phixius, which was announced in February, can provide the conduit for credential-service providers that will authenticate their customers and establish trusted information about them to provide downstream services to a business.
In one possible use case, an employee in an accounts-payable department needs to issue a check to a new vendor, but the vendor needs to be added to the company’s master list of accounts. As things stand now, that process can be time-consuming—typically businesses have approximately 3,000 accounts on the master list, George Throckmorton, Nacha managing director and executive director of Afinis API Standards, said at the debut of Phixius. If the vendor already is included in the network the company uses to issue payments, it’s easy, he says. If not, then someone has to enroll the vendor, meaning the employee has to find the relevant data.
That’s where a credential-service provider connected to Phixius can expedite the process, Throckmorton says. “They can strongly authenticate with their customers and thereby they know the truth,” he says of the credential-service providers. They then, within moments, can share that trusted information with their client so a payment can be issued. It automates a task that currently is a manual one, Throckmorton says.