Visa Unveils PayPal-Like Personal Payments Service For U.S. Consumers

Giant retail electronic payments network operator Visa is giving PayPal a run for its money today, announcing a new service that will allows U.S. consumers to receive and send funds to any eligible Visa credit, debit or prepaid account.

Now, bank customers of participating financial institutions will have the option to select a Visa account as the destination for funds when making a personal payment. Users enter the recipient’s 16-digit Visa account, email address or mobile phone number, allowing consumers to send funds directly from their bank account to a recipient’s Visa account, similar to the act of sending money on PayPal. Visa is actually working with outside company CashEdge and Fiserv to offer this service.

Previously, Visa’s personal payments was offered by financial institutions outside the U.S. but the availability in in the U.S. is a big deal, considering the popularity of PayPal. Of course, the virtue of using PayPal is that you don’t have to have a Visa account to use its payments service.

Visa has consistently been looking for ways to build its online presence in payments. For example, earlier this year, the company bought virtual goods monetization platform PlaySpan. Competing with PayPal, which has a massive userbase, may be a formidable challenge.