What is to stop Visa or Mastercard from getting into lightning?
Visa and Mastercard are just payment processors, they help merchants accept money from customer bank accounts by using card credentials to verify money flows from a customers bank account to a merchants bank account. When you buy something they take your card details and move money from your account to the merchants account.
Visa and Mastercard could very easily add a lightning invoice option next to their card credential option. They would take money in the form of data (satoshis) instantly and directly, then use their global forex infrastructure to turn those sats into the local currency and deposit that currency into the merchants bank account. This could be done with in-house infrastructure or simply through partnerships and APIs with companies like strike.
If Visa and Mastercard do nothing they will become exceedingly irrellevant as digital currency payments start to dominate global commerce. But if they integrate lightning payments now they may end up becoming the worlds largest facilitator of lightning payments allowing them to remain relevant. With their already established global reach they could incorporate lightning payments, turn on that capability and overnight 99.9% of merchants on earth would be accepting lightning through their POS terminals and online checkouts without even knowing it, the merchants would just continue to recieve dollars in their bank account as per usual.
There should not be too much of an issue with AML and KYC for accepting sats and if there is there should be a smaller amount that is exempt from these regulations. For example if your purchase is over $1000 you cant use lightning because identity and origin of funds are unknown but for anything under $1000 people are free to pay with lightning without any party having to worry about any type of regulatory friction. This payment size limit would also tie into the diminimis use exemption for taxes that some US politicans are working on that would allow smaller transactions under $1000 to be free from capital gains tax and record keeping requirements.
It seems to me like Visa and Mastercard as the worlds globally dominant payment processors need to figure out how to accept lightning invoices alongside card credentials in order to remain relevant. Otherwise as time passes and the world integrates lightning into cashapp twitter nostr paypal and all neo banking apps while Visa and Mastercard do not adapt the world will simply start using lightning more and more while using their cards less and less until Visa and Mastercard are as irrelevant as telephone booths.
Visa and Mastercard need to figure out how to integrate accepting lightning invoices alongside card credentials. Its possible to do and they will do it, its just a question of how long it takes them to adapt to the modern world. Its even highly likely they already have plans in the works for this type of integration. Afterall if the world wants to use lightning and Visa and Mastercard do not process those payments for merchants then they risk going out of business all together over the coming decade.
Visa and Mastercard processing lightning payments for merchants is just a matter of time. I know people here do not like the idea of Visa and Mastercard doing this and they think merchants should just accept sats directly, but if Visa and Mastercard do integrate lightning payment processing for merchants then that drives adoption beyond belief. All of a sudden every bank on earth will be under pressure to allow customers to pay via lightning invoices from their banking apps, and every bitcoiner with a lightning wallet would be able to pay any merchant on earth. This one move by Visa and Mastercard would make bitcoin and lightning the worlds global payment infrastructure overnight!