What Is Visa Checkout? It’s a Digital Wallet, but Not Just for Visa Cards

You can use it for purchases on the web and in retailer apps, and you only have to enroll card information once.

Ellen CannonSeptember 23, 2020
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As of mid-2020, Visa Checkout transitioned to "Click to Pay," a unified digital payments service jointly developed by Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express. For updated information, see our story about "Click to Pay."

Visa Checkout is the Visa credit card network's version of a digital wallet, designed to make online shopping easier. Users can store their credit card and debit card information in Visa Checkout, then access that information quickly when shopping on merchants' websites or within retailers' apps.

Mastercard and American Express have similar utilities, known as Masterpass and Amex Express Checkout.

How Visa Checkout works

Visa Checkout is not a mobile app, nor is it a payment option at the register in brick-and-mortar stores, like Apple Pay or Google Pay. You can use it on the websites or in the apps of merchants that accept Visa Checkout.

Once you create an account with Visa Checkout — you can do that here — you can set up your wallet to contain as many payment cards as you want. They don't all have to be Visa cards. Visa Checkout works with Mastercard, Discover and American Express cards, too, both credit and debit. For each card, you'll be prompted to provide the card number, expiration and security code. The application also asks you for billing and shipping addresses.

When you're shopping online with a retailer that accepts Visa Checkout:

1. You'll see an option to use it when you're ready to pay. Look for a button similar to this:

2. Select that option, and you'll be asked for a password. That opens your wallet, and you select which card you want to use for the purchase.

3. Visa Checkout fills in all the necessary information automatically — no need for you to fumble around with your physical card or fret about mistyping those 16-digit numbers.

Visa doesn't appear to maintain a current list of retailers that accept Visa Checkout (the link to the list on the network's Visa Checkout FAQs page was broken as of August 2020).

Convenience and security

For most cardholders, the primary practical benefit of Visa Checkout — and any digital wallet — is convenience. “In the e-commerce world, consumers faced the problem of having to enter their information on each retail site,” said Vish Shastry, vice president of digital solutions at Visa. “We built Visa Checkout to solve that, especially in the mobile world.”

Visa says Checkout offers an additional layer of security, too. The network said in 2017 that "Visa Checkout's fraud volume as a percentage of sales [was] 63% lower and its fraud count as a percentage of transactions [was] 56% lower than non-Visa Checkout volume at top Visa Checkout merchants."

Visa Checkout provides a way to monitor transactions for suspicious activity.

“We look at the consumer [making the transaction],” Shastry said. “Is the consumer coming from the right country? Are there multiple logins from the same computer? When you swipe or dip or tap, we know this card was just used in San Francisco. So if it’s used in Florida later that day, we’ll know there might be a problem.”

If your enrolled Visa card is compromised and you're issued a new card and number, Visa Checkout automatically updates the cards. You don't have to delete the old card and register a new one.

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