Fortis Bank signs with Visa and VCHEQ for B2B payments

Visa Commerce aims to bridge the gap in online business-to-business transactions.

Fortis Bank has announced it has become the first bank in Hong Kong to participate in the Visa Commerce Open Account (VCOA) pilot programme, a B2B ePayment initiative that aims to become an ubiquitous payment solution for online business purchases.

When the initiative was launched in November last year, five banks from Singapore, Taiwan and Korea signed up for the pilot program -- United Overseas Bank, China Trust, Taishin Bank, Korea Exchange Bank and Korea First Bank.

Visa International executive vice-president, Asia Pacific marketing and product sales, Rajiv Kapoor says he expects another five or six banks to join in the coming months, but it would take until October 2002 before the number of VCOA members comes close to matching the number of banks that participate in Visa's credit card business.

Online procurement portals such as PolymerPacific.com, Commerce Exchange, Com2B, Trade Alliance and CXHub.com have also signed on to the pilot program, which enables buyers using these portals to easily and securely make cross-border payments for their purchases -- providing of course they have an account with one of the banks currently participating in VCOA.

As more banks sign up to the program Kapoor says VCOA will encompass the entire payment process, from invoice issuance and tracking to reconciliation between banks, corporations and exchanges.

Fortis Bank has also licensed online payment software from VCHEQ to web-enable the bank's existing payment methods, such as telegraphic transfers, demand drafts and cashiers orders, for its commercial banking customers.