Allied Wallet, a California-based online payment processor, has been listed as an approved Visa Merchant Agent (view press release). The term ‘agent’ includes any entity that provides payment or payment-related services to merchants, such as digital wallet providers, payment processors, shopping cart software providers, and web hosting companies. From 31 December 2012, Visa Europe has ruled that banks should only let merchants use merchant agents that have been registered and approved by Visa Europe, to ensure that agents have complied with the correct standards of security and maintain acceptable business practices.
There are an estimated 6,000 agents providing services for merchants in Europe and 45 Merchant Agents that have been granted Visa approval. By 1 January 2013, banks are required to move all merchants from existing agents to approved agents that have been listed by Visa Europe or they must terminate the merchants’ processing contracts. Failure to comply will result in Visa Europe imposed penalties.