Visa is piloting its Tap to Phone technology in Washington, D.C., with hopes of aiding in the close of the digital divide for small Black-owned businesses and communities.

This is the first time the multinational financial services corporation is bringing its new tech to the U.S. after piloting it in 30 other countries, Visa shared in a press release. Visa is also looking to provide resources and education through Visa Street Teams, an initiative it created to digitally-enable 50 million small businesses.

Following this launch in D.C., Visa will be taking its tech to Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles and Miami as part of its small business revitalization initiative.

“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,“ Mary Kay Bowman, Visa’s global head of buyer, seller, core and platform products, said in a press release. “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 tech allows businesses to easily download an app to their Android phones that will turn them into point-of-sale acceptance devices. Visa is partnering with Los Angeles-based ZmBIZI, a minority-owned smartphone tech and solution provider, and Global Payments Inc. to provide the Tap to Phone tech to small businesses. As part of the pilot, the three companies are providing ZmBIZI’s Z1 devices equipped with Tap to Phone tech to 50 Black-owned small businesses in D.C.

“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,” ZmBIZI co-founder Alpesh Patel said in a statement.

At least 35 percent of Black women business owners said that they would invest in more technology if they had additional funding, according to Visa’s Black Women-Owned Business Report, and 31 percent said they would invest in new products and services with extra financial support. To help with this, Visa Street Teams is partnering with Black Girl Ventures in D.C. to begin delivering “commerce in a box,” which is a curated suite of discounts and offers from and Visa partners. These boxes are designed to help small business owners progress their companies digitally.

 “We developed The Brown Beauty Co-op to bring beauty solutions to women of color,” Brown Beauty Co-op co-founder Kimberly Smith said in a press release. “As women and entrepreneurs of color ourselves, 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.” 

Interested small businesses owners in D.C. are encouraged to pick up a box from The Brown Beauty Co-op on June 17. You can also find more details here on the initiative.

Coinciding with this new tech launch in D.C., Visa and The Female Quotient hosted a virtual event to help entrepreneurs identify their technological needs and gain advice on how to advance them. The She’s Next: D.C. Revitalization event was joined by inspirational speakers including Laverne Cox, Charniele Herring, and D.C.’s Attorney General Karl A. Racine.

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

Visa’s revitalization campaign comes after the company teamed up with IFundWomen last summer to distribute $100,000 in grants to U.S.-based Black women-led businesses. Visa is also working closely with Black Girl Ventures on its She’s Next program which will offer $10,000 grants and a one-year IFundWomen Annual Coaching Membership to 60 Black women-owned businesses.