Visa to set up data centres in Singapore, UK

Credit card giant Visa is beefing up its systems and infrastructure to deal with what it predicts will be a ten-fold surge in demand for payments on plastic and devices.

One move involves setting up new data centres in Singapore and Britain, which Visa announced yesterday. They are due to start processing global transactions next year, once other preparations have been completed.

The 10,000 sq ft facility in Paya Lebar - Visa's first transaction-processing centre in South-east Asia - and the one in Britain will complement two 100,000 sq ft centres in North America.

Mr Rajat Taneja, Visa's executive vice-president of technology, told The Straits Times: "As we move from analogue to digital payments, we believe there will be nearly 10 times the growth of the number of cards and the number of payment points in the future."

The firm noted that having four global data centres lessens the possibility of disruption to the 16,600 financial institutions and millions of merchants it works with, as well as the users of three billion cards. Visa joins other financial firms here, like OCBC Bank, that have their own data centres.

Mr Taneja noted that the Asia-Pacific makes up 22 per cent of Visa's payment volume - about US$1.6 trillion (S$2.2 trillion) - and is an important region for the firm, as several megacities are in Asia-Pacific.

He said that the Singapore data centre "will add additional operational capacity and, as the growth continues, as we have more digital payments and global products, this will be an important hub".

Opening the local facility also indirectly creates jobs and drives Visa's push for research and innovation here. Visa, which employs 1,500 people in Singapore, has added 200 staff over three years, including some working in cyber security.

"Data centres are driven automatically, but you need people monitoring it and, indirectly, it's adding more people to the work we are doing surrounding the data centre as well," said Mr Taneja.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 27, 2017, with the headline 'Visa to set up data centres in S'pore, UK'. Print Edition | Subscribe