Visa Direct

Driving Push Payments with Aliases

How to Use Visa Alias Directory Service

Overview

Visa’s push payment solutions utilize the card account Primary Account Number (PAN) of the payment card. However, this requires the recipient to share the card details with the sender. Alternatively, recipients can share their Alias (e.g., mobile phone number) which is mapped to a card number. An Alias is an identifier such as a mobile phone number, email address, national ID or IBAN. This is safer and provides a better user experience than sharing card numbers. 

Visa Alias Directory Service provides services to map an Alias to a card account Primary Account Number (PAN) of the payment card. A Visa client can use Visa Alias Directory Service to allow consumers to initiate push payments using an Alias. A Visa client first provides Visa Alias Directory Service with an Alias and receives the card account PAN mapped to that Alias. 

Support for other payment instruments such as bank accounts and wallets are being considered as potential future enhancements.

Alias Lifecycle Management

Visa Alias Directory Service provides a directory service to maintain mappings between Aliases and payment instruments for participating clients. Clients can create Aliases and perform lifecycle management operations such as updating, deleting, and getting information on Aliases.

Visa Alias Directory Service currently supports the card's primary account number (PAN) as the payment instrument being mapped to an Alias.  There are currently two primary types of Alias-to-PAN mappings:

  • Consumer Alias-to-PAN mapping
    This is a mapping of a PAN to an Alias belonging to the consumer, e.g., mobile number, email, IBAN.
  • Merchant Alias-to-Merchant PAN mapping
    This is a mapping of a Merchant PAN issued to a merchant for push payments acceptance with an Alias belonging to the merchant, e.g., Till ID or merchant tag.

The focus of this section is for Consumer Aliases, but Merchant Aliases use similar operations. For more information on Merchant Aliases, please ask your Visa representative for the Alias Directory Service Implementation Guide.

Create Alias
Clients may use Create Alias to create an Alias-to-PAN mapping. Please note that consumer consent is required to create an Alias and the consent date and time must be provided by the consumer’s financial institution during Alias creation. In certain markets, the card expiry date is required to create an Alias.

Clients may also create mappings in Visa Alias Directory Service using multiple Aliases or multiple payment instruments. Please see API tutorials below for more information.

Get Alias
Once an Alias is created, clients may use Get Alias to retrieve information about their Alias. For example, clients can retrieve and display data in the mobile app for Alias lifecycle management before updating existing Alias information.

Update Alias
Clients may use Update Alias to update Alias information. For example, Clients can modify an Alias to PAN association instrument, such as linking the Alias to a different payment instrument. Clients can also set a PAN as the default card to receive money. Lastly, clients may update any information related to the Alias record.

Delete Alias
Clients may use Delete Alias to delete an Alias. For example, this would be used when a consumer opts-out of the client's Alias program.

Alias Resolution

Resolve allows clients to submit an Alias and receive the payment instrument mapped to that Alias.

The high-level Alias resolution logic is as follows:

  • Client queries Visa Alias Directory Service with an Alias.
  • Visa Alias Directory Service will search for this Alias and find out if this Alias has an Active status.
  • If this Alias is found and has an Active status, Visa Alias Directory Service will find all payment instruments associated with this Alias. 
  • The payment instrument which is marked as the default payment instrument will be returned.

For more details and examples on Alias Resolution, please ask your Visa representative for  the Alias Directory Service Implementation Guide.

Reporting

Visa Alias Directory Service provides reports on client's Aliases with information such as the current status, time when status changed, and whether a payment instrument is the default option for that Alias.  

Clients may download reports using Generate Report and Get Report.

  • Clients should first generate the report by providing the criteria through Generate Report, which returns the URL to download the report.
  • Then Clients may download the report using Get Report with the URL returned above.


Please see API tutorial below to learn how to generate reports in Visa Alias Directory Service.

Third Party Remote Directories

The Alias Lookup API enables the Visa Alias Directory Service to lookup an Alias in a third party directory and return the associated payment instrument. The Alias Lookup API sends an Alias and accompanying data to the third-party directory. The data returned in the API response is the payment instrument associated with the Alias.

Alias Lookup API is only available in select markets and is currently a restricted API on Visa Developer Center.  Please contact your Visa representative for access to the API and its documentation.

API Tutorials

These tutorial videos demonstrate how Visa Alias Directory Service APIs can be used in the following scenarios:

  1. Using Multiple Aliases
  2. Using Multiple Payment Instruments
  3. Reporting

Using Multiple Aliases

Using Multiple Payment Instruments

Use Cases

Creating an Alias

  1. Dimitry opens his banking application, where he is prompted to activate his Alias profile. 
  2. Dimitry selects the card to be linked to his mobile number. 
  3. He consents to the terms of the service.  
  4. Alias profile is created!

Modifying an Alias

  1. Dimitry opens his mobile banking application to update his Alias profile.
  2. Dimitry selects another card to be the default card to receive money for this mobile number.   
  3. He agrees to the changes.
  4. Dimitry will now receive money to this new card.   

Using Alias for P2P

  1. Dimitry opens his mobile banking application to send money to a friend.
  2. Dmitry selects Card Transfer as the transfer method.
  3. Next, Dimitry is presented with his phone contact list. Each contact who has Alias payments enabled is already highlighted. 
  4. He chooses to send money to Gennadi and enters the amount. Dimitry also selects the correct account to fund the transfer from. 
  5. Dimitry confirms the transfer details. 
  6. Done! Dimitry has now sent money to Gennadi using Gennadi's phone number. 

Creating an Alias at Another Bank

  1. Dimitry now opens his mobile banking application with Digital Bank. 
  2. Dimitry activates his Alias profile with Digital Bank.
  3. Dimitry is notified that he has an Alias profile with another bank. He confirms to proceed. 
  4. He consents to the terms of the service.  
  5. Dimitry's card with Digital Bank is now the default to receive money. Dimitry's previous Alias profile is still active, but is not the default for receiving money.

Removing an Alias

  1. Dimitry edits his Alias profile.
  2. He selects to remove his Alias.
  3. Dimitry confirms the Alias removal. 
  4. Dimitry's Alias profile is now removed. Dimitry can activate his profile again in the future if needed.

Implementation Overview

1.

Pre-Implementation

Duration: 1-2 weeks

Key Activities: 

  • Visa provides technical briefing overview
  • Client submits Visa Alias Directory Service Program Registration Form
  • Client conducts applicable legal or privacy reviews
  • Client provides solution architecture and UI / UX design
  • Visa and Client define implementation plan
2.

API Implementation

Duration: 4-5 weeks

Key Activities:

  • Client completes Sandbox and Certification environment connectivity
  • Client completes self-testing test cases
3.

User Experience Design

Duration: 1-2 weeks

Key Activities: 

  • Finalize UI / UX screens
  • This is done in parallel with API implementation
3.

General Availability

Duration: 1-2 weeks

Key Activities: 

  • Client is promoted to Production environment
  • Client Pilot Phase (optional)
  • Client marketing / promotion materials are ready
  • Client customer support is ready
  • Launch Service

FAQs

  1. Where can I find best practices on designing a good user experience for customers?
    Participating clients are required to follow the mobile UI/UX guidelines in order to create a uniform and delightful experience for all consumers. Clients should refer to the Alias Directory Service Mobile App User Experience Guide for the user experience flows for transactions initiated and completed using the Visa Alias Directory Service. Please contact your Visa representative for this guide.

  2. Why is it mandatory for the consumer to provide consent?
    Consumer consent is mandatory to enforce a consumer choice of using the alias and preferred PAN to receive funds. Issuers cannot enroll and activate an alias without consumer consent. 

  3. Does the service work when the consumer does not have a Visa card, but another branded card?
    Yes, the Alias Directory Service does support cards belonging to schemes other than Visa.

  4. What happens when the consumer card is re-issued?
    If the card is re-issued with same primary account number (PAN), there is no update required to Visa Alias Directory Service. However if the PAN has changed, the issuer is required to update the Alias-to-PAN mapping with the new PAN using Update Alias

  5. What happens when the consumer Alias (e.g. mobile number) changes?
    If the consumer Alias changes, the issuer is required to update the Alias using Update Alias.

  6. How will the client know when their consumer PAN is no longer active and the consumer has made other bank PAN as default PAN for their alias?
    Visa Alias Directory Service provides clients with reports of Aliases mapped to their issued PANs. The reports may be accessed using Generate Report and Get Report. In addition, clients may find the status of a single consumer PAN using Get Alias.  

  7. Does Visa validate consumer PANs or Aliases for accuracy and ownership by consumer registering them?
    Visa does not perform any PAN & Alias validations. It is the Issuer's responsibility to ensure KYC of customer and due diligence of Alias before uploading Alias-to-PAN mappings in Visa Alias Directory Service. The Issuer is solely responsible for ensuring the accuracy of all data provided to Visa, including the validity of the PAN, that the PAN belongs to the enrolled recipient, and that the correct Alias is matched with the PAN. Issuers must only submit Alias information for PANs issued by the Issuer.

  8. What are the Alias types supported by Visa Alias Directory Service?
    Visa Alias Directory Service supports the following Alias types: phone, email, national ID, IBAN, Merchant ID. Availability will vary by market. 

  9. What happens when the consumer Alias entered by sender is not found during Alias resolution?
    If the consumer Alias is not found during Alias resolution, clients should request the sender to continue the transaction using a PAN if it's available.

  10. Can an Issuer, based on the Alias, give preference for transferring money within their own bank rather than sending to any other bank?
    Issuers cannot utilize the data retrieved from the Visa Alias Directory Service to steer an end user either to their own services, or away from services offered by other participating clients. All transactions should be based on consumer end-user choice. Auto-steering to an Issuer's own bank accounts will result in a violation of Visa Alias Directory Service operating rules and possible discontinuation from Visa Alias Directory Service.

  11. What happens if the recipient client has incorrectly mapped an Alias to incorrect PAN?
    During transactions, Visa requires the sender to verify recipient name for registered Alias before submitting transaction to Visa. Visa is not liable for any disputes arising due to incorrect setup of Alias-to-PAN mapping in the ADS database by participating clients and/or senders submitting transactions without verifying consumer name registered to Alias.

  12. How does Visa Alias Directory Service manage customers with multiple cards at multiple financial institutions?
    Visa Alias Directory Service has business logic to address customers with multiple cards. For example, when a client queries Visa Alias Directory Service with a phone number Alias, Visa Alias Directory Service will search for a matching active phone number. If a matching active phone number is found, Visa Alias Directory Service will return the payment instrument which is both active and set as the default payment instrument for this phone number Alias. 

    For more details and examples on Alias resolution, please ask your Visa representative for the Alias Directory Service Implementation Guide.