Visa has launched a new real-time payments platform – Visa Direct – in Europe to enable companies to transform domestic and cross-border payments for businesses and consumers.

Visa Direct allows secure money transfers and provides immediate access to funds and also the ability to make purchases at 44 million retail locations globally.

The payments platform enables business to business, business to consumer and person-to-person payments.

The platform is one of the application program interface-based network capabilities available on the Visa Developer Platform.

It helps financial institutions, merchants and technology companies to meet the demands of consumers and merchants who depend on connected devices to shop.

Visa has entered into a partnership with Worldpay to increase the availability of Visa Direct to merchants in Europe and then to markets worldwide.

Visa Europe product solutions senior vice president Mike Lemberger said: “For decades, Visa has led the way in transforming the way we pay in stores and online. Now, we have an opportunity to transform how consumers and business pay each other in a fast, convenient and secure way.

“Visa Direct is a proven platform that enables technology companies, businesses and financial institutions to meet the demand for real-time payments, backed by the ubiquity, cost-efficiency and speed of Visa’s global network.”

Worldpay global eCom chief product officer Dave Glaser said: “In recent years, the payments landscape has changed dramatically with clients and consumers alike expecting to be able to make a payment under their own terms – whether that is making a real-time payment or using a specific method.

“We are proud to be working with Visa on this unrivalled platform as an early adopter in Europe and other global markets and believe that Visa Direct is an important step in meeting those needs – providing both acquirers and merchants with the tools they need.”

Visa Direct currently offers payments for partners such as PayPal, Braintree, Square Cash and Stripe in the US.