Visa Launches its First U.S. Tap to Phone Pilot in Washington D.C. to Support Region’s Black-Owned Small Businesses


Happening today: She’s Next:. Virtual Event with Actress/Producer/LGBTQ+ Equal Rights Advocate, Laverne Cox, while Visa Street Teams Prepare Delivery of ‘Commerce in a Box’ to help Small Businesses go Digital

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jun. 16, 2021-- After piloting Tap to Phone in more than thirty countries, Visa (NYSE:V) today announced its first Tap to Phone pilot in the United States. Visa is touching down in Washington, D.C., one of the U.S. cities with the highest percentage of Black-owned small businesses (SMBs) to launch Tap to Phone and deliver resources and education via Visa Street Teams as part of Visa’s goal to digitally-enable 50 million SMBs. Washington, D.C. is the first stop on Visa’s six-city SMB revitalization initiative, which also includes Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles and Miami.

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In Washington D.C., Visa delivers 'commerce in a box' to local Black-owned small businesses (SMBs). The curated selection of offers, discounts and bundles from Visa’s and Visa's partners is designed to help SMBs  move their business forward digitally. (Photo: Business Wire)

In Washington D.C., Visa delivers 'commerce in a box' to local Black-owned small businesses (SMBs). The curated selection of offers, discounts and bundles from Visa’s and Visa's partners is designed to help SMBs move their business forward digitally. (Photo: Business Wire)

“The way we shop and pay has forever changed. During the pandemic, tapping to pay and contactless checkout became more commonplace – and are now expected,“ said Mary Kay Bowman, global head of buyer, seller, core and platform products, Visa. “With our technology, networking and community resources, we’re hoping to empower small businesses everywhere to meet their customers in the next phase of digital-first commerce.”

Visa’s Tap to Phone technology turns sellers’ Android based phones into point-of-sale acceptance devices, providing an on-ramp to the digital economy with the ease of downloading an app. In partnership with the minority-owned, mobile smartphone technology and solution provider, ZmBIZI, the first U.S. pilot program will provide ZmBIZI’s Z1 devices with Tap to Phone capabilities to 50 Black-owned SMBs in Washington D.C.

“ZmBIZI’s mission is to connect the world simply through mobile smartphone technology,” said Alpesh Patel, co-founder, ZmBIZI. “We are so proud to partner with Visa to launch their U.S. Tap to Phone pilot and help even more small businesses and entrepreneurs grow through digital payment technology.”

According to new data from Visa’s State of U.S. Black Women Entrepreneurship 20211, entrepreneurs surveyed in Washington, D.C. noted that if they had additional funding, they would invest more in technology (35%) or new products and services (31%). Since last summer, Visa Street Teams, a team of technology and product specialists, have visited hundreds of thousands of SMBs globally, providing contactless payment information and in-store signage inviting customers to pay touch-free. In Washington D.C., Visa Street Teams are being joined by Black Girl Ventures, whose mission is to create access to capital, community and capacity building for Black and Brown women-identifying founders, to begin delivering ‘commerce in a box’ which features a curated selection of offers, discounts and bundles from Visa’s and Visa partners designed to help SMBs with what they need to move their business forward digitally – from accepting digital payments and building an eCommerce site to marketing to their audience in new ways and providing marketing online tools to run and protect their business.

Interested small business owners in Washington D.C. are invited to visit The Brown Beauty Co-op on June 17 to pick up commerce in a box or visit here for more details.

“We are incredibly proud to partner with Visa to celebrate and educate our fellow Washington D.C. entrepreneurs on the importance of technology, networking and community” said Kimberly Smith, co-founder, The Brown Beauty Co-op. “In addition to hosting the commerce in a box pick-up party tomorrow, we’re also one of the first businesses in the U.S. to test Visa’s Tap to Phone technology, which will be a gamechanger for so many small businesses.”

Today’s She’s Next Event

In addition to the launch of the Tap to Phone pilot and ‘commerce in a box’ distribution, Visa and The Female Quotient will host She’s Next: D.C. Revitalization, a virtual event which will bring together inspirational speakers including Laverne Cox (Actress, Producer, LGBTQ+ Equal Rights Advocate), D.C.-based Visa partner, Black Girl Ventures, Visa partner IFundWomen, as well as Karl A. Racine (Attorney General for the District of Columbia) and The Honorable Charniele Herring (Majority Leader of the Virginia House of Delegates representing the 46th District, Alexandria), among other invitees. The event will consist of virtual workshops and breakout sessions for attending entrepreneurs to identify their most pressing technological needs and gain expert advice on the steps needed to thrive.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on many, with a great need among Black-and woman-owned small businesses,” said Laverne Cox, Actress, Producer, LGBTQ+ Equal Rights Advocate. “As a Black woman, I am proud of the work Visa is doing to boost this ever-deserving small business community.”

For more information on Visa’s She’s Next initiative and to subscribe to become a part of the global network, visit

About Visa Inc.

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is the world’s leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network - enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of digital commerce on any device for everyone, everywhere. As the world moves from analog to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce. For more information, visit About Visa, and @VisaNews.

1 Visa’s State of U.S. Black Women Entrepreneurship 2021

Caroline Capers

Source: Visa Inc.