Viewpoints

Visa’s Blog – Visa Viewpoints

PERSPECTIVES ON DIGITAL CURRENCY

Mar 29, 2011

Mobile Payments Heat Up

This week’s flurry of media coverage and announcements are testimony to a highly dynamic mobile payments eco-system and the value mobile payments are expected to drive to all stakeholders including consumers. 

They are also validation of Visa’s approach to mobile payments — an open approach that provides consumers with choice and allows them to make mobile payments with whatever mobile device they choose using the trusted accounts they have.

Our approach has been chronicled in this blog as Visa has led the roll-out of a scalable solution here in the U.S. Taken individually, our flow of announcements show steady momentum toward making mobile payments a reality. But added together, you see a comprehensive strategy that we expect to fundamentally evolve the payment landscape in this country.

  • Perhaps most importantly, Visa’s mobile program is operable today at thousands of locations across the U.S., anywhere Visa payWave is accepted. To see our program in action take a look at this video, which shows a program with the New York City subway. But – it’s also worth mentioning – you could just as easily walk to the major fast food restaurant across the street and buy a sandwich using just your mobile phone.
  • Visa’s solution is commercially available today with broad roll-out to consumers expected in the second half of this year. Our program is scalable, easy to use and works within the existing payments ecosystem.
  • Visa is already working with four of the largest U.S. banks — Bank of America, Chase, US Bank and Wells Fargo — to make mobile payments a reality in this country. 

Final thought: If “mobile” is the word of the day, then second on that list is definitely “P2P.” For those of you who missed it, earlier this month Visa announced a major milestone in introducing a P2P solution that enables U.S. cardholders to receive and send funds to any eligible Visa credit, debit or prepaid account, anywhere in the world.

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Posted by: Ryan Donovan, Corporate Relations on March 29, 2011 at 8:25 pm

Mar 24, 2011

Above all else: futebol

On a recent Tuesday afternoon over 300 ten-year-old kids packed into a steamy auditorium in a graffiti-bathed industrial part of Sao Paulo to learn about personal finance – the Brazilian way.

Tapping into the soccer crazed culture of Brazil, Visa has created a financial literacy theatre program for children. The 60 minute play centers around two friends. One is a talented young ‘futebol’ player who dreams of playing professionally but knows nothing about money management. The other is as adept at personal finance as his friend is on the field with a soccer ball.

Together they create a riotous performance that not only educates children about the vital life skill of money management, but literally gets them out of their seats shouting with enthusiasm.

This well received performance marked the start of the 2011 season of Visa’s Finanças Práticas theatre program in Brazil. Partnering with the Sao Paulo government, we are bringing this show to 43 different community centers around this sprawling metropolis of 11 million. One futebol fan at a time.

You can see the play in action, assuming your Portuguese isn’t rusty, at: http://practicalmoneyskills.com/video/journal.php

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Posted by: Jason Alderman, Visa Corporate Relations on March 24, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Mar 23, 2011

Diverse Organizations Sound Alarm on Debit Price Controls

What do the National Education Association (NEA), NAACP and Wall Street Journal have in common? All three are unified in their concern about the negative impact debit price controls (A.K.A. the Durbin Amendment) may have on consumers – particularly those in underserved communities – small banks and credit unions.

- The NEA, the largest labor union in the U.S., is the latest organization to call on Congress to delay and study debit price controls. In a letter to Congressional leaders, the NEA notes that debit regulation, “could have a significant negative impact on the cost of mainstream banking services to middle and lower-income consumers, including teachers and education support professionals, because of the benefits currently made possible by debit cards.”
- The NEA’s concerns echo those of the NAACP, which recently told House Speaker John Boehner in a letter, “We believe this rule should be thoroughly and expeditiously reviewed prior to implementation…to ensure that it will not raise fees or otherwise harm at-risk communities, including communities of color.”
- Perhaps no single piece sums up the fight against debit price controls better than last week’s Wall Street Journal editorial (“Debit Card Debacle”), that attests the Durbin Amendment, “…threatens the flow of credit to low-income Americans and promises higher fees on bank services for nearly everyone else….Mr. Durbin pitched his bill as pro-consumer but it was really an attempt to rob banks and debit-card issuers in order to pay off his campaign check writers in the retail industry. As usual, the little guy is getting trampled.”

It is clear that when various organizations like the NEA, NAACP and Wall Street Journal are unified in their opposition to legislation our representatives should take notice and take action. We hope Congress will heed the concerns of these organizations and delay implementation. After all, isn’t that the reasonable thing to do?

Read more about the growing momentum behind efforts to delay and study the debit price control regulation in today’s Wall Street Journal.

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Posted by: Will Valentine, Visa Corporate Relations on March 23, 2011 at 8:58 pm

Mar 23, 2011

Aussies join wave to pay

Australians can now use their smart phones to pay for lunch at their local cafe, buy a copy of the latest bestseller or purchase groceries, following the launch of the latest Visa contactless mobile payments pilot in Sydney and Melbourne.

ANZ, one of Australia’s top four banks, has joined with Visa to trial mobile payments using the In2Pay technology developed with DeviceFidelity.

Fifty staff members are participating in the pilot and have been given a special protective iPhone case with a secure microSD memory card that allows them to turn their phone into a virtual wallet.

The participants will be able to make payments by waving their phone in front of a contactless reader at any of the more than 20,000 retail outlets across Australia that already accept Visa payWave.

Watch this video to find out more about the trial.

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Posted by: Judy Shaw, Corporate Relations on March 23, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Mar 11, 2011

A Few Thoughts on Financial Literacy

Tim Hartford, writing in the Financial Times on personal finance education, makes reference to a curious band of financial literacy skeptics.

Hartford does a kindness to these wayward souls by not quoting their discredited dogma directly in his piece, thus allowing their ill-conceived theory – that financial literacy degrades consumers’ money management skills – to maintain a veneer of credibility.

Financial literacy is not perfect. It is not, nor has it ever been, a silver bullet for ensuring consumers aren’t taken advantage of or make their own poor decisions. And yes, a few financial literacy programs are nothing more than a collection of outdated brochures akin to what you find in a high school guidance counselor’s office touting the exciting career opportunities as a clerk / typist.

But there are many outstanding financial literacy programs run by companies, non-profits and government agencies. And to deny their clear success, and worse imply that they have a deleterious effect, is ludicrous.

These farfetched conspiracy theories are strikingly akin to those who believe that routine childhood immunizations are more dangerous than the diseases they prevent.

What rational person believes that learning how to make a meaningful budget, understanding the wise use of credit, maintaining responsible spending habits and saving aggressively for your future is a bad idea?

It’s time to close the book on giving credence to this fringe philosophy so that our collective energy can be spent on designing the most effective educational money management programs.

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Posted by: Jason Alderman, Visa Corporate Relations on March 11, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Mar 10, 2011

Appreciating the Complexities

We understand first-hand that running a payments network is an enormous undertaking, so we were encouraged to see that others recognize it too. In a recent TechCrunch post, a former PayPal senior manager and blogger, Ohad Samet, correctly points out the complexities of the payments industry as new players enter the space. 

At Visa, we’ve spent decades pioneering and mastering the extreme complexities of all aspects of a payments network – from payments processing to information and risk management – relieving participants like financial institutions, merchants and consumers of those burdens. And Visa’s systems are supported 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by a highly experienced team of technical and business experts, a necessity that, as Samet points out, is all-to-often under-appreciated by companies trying to enter the field.

That said, we’re excited that other companies are bringing their capabilities to the payments space. We continue to be committed to combining our expertise and providing added benefits and innovations to consumers.

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Posted by: Ryan Donovan, Corporate Relations on March 10, 2011 at 1:28 pm

Mar 4, 2011

Pay Taxes the Easy Way with Visa

For many Americans, April 15 is the most dreaded day of the year.

This year, we encourage cardholders to make a change to make it easier. How? By using their Visa debit or credit card to pay their federal and state income taxes online through one of our authorized processing partners. It’s fast, easy and secure, and depending on their card’s program, they could even earn rewards.

To see just how Visa can take some of the sting out of tax day, watch this short video featuring Jim Kim from Visa. He walks through the process in two minutes. For even more information, visit http://www.visa.com/paytaxes.

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Posted by: Ted Carr, Visa Corporate Relations on March 4, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Mar 3, 2011

VISA PROGRAM SUPPORTS MERCHANT ADOPTION OF CHIP-ENABLED TERMINALS

Merchants outside the U.S. interested in accepting chip-enabled payments at the checkout counter can get a boost from Visa. A new initiative launched by Visa encourages merchants to deploy payment terminals that can support dynamic data authentication.

Visa has long seen dynamic data technology, such as chip, as a key element in our long term security and authentication strategy. With dynamic authentication, stolen card information becomes useless to criminals, reduces counterfeit fraud and helps take merchants out of harms way.

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Posted by: Eduardo Perez, Global Payment System Security on March 3, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Mar 2, 2011

Thin Mint for a Swipe?

The next time a Girl Scout asks if you want a Thin Mint or Samoa cookie, she may follow up with another question: “Cash or credit?” In another sign of the migration to digital currency, PaymentsSource reported that Girl Scout troops in San Diego and Northeast Ohio would begin accepting card payments for sales of their popular cookies. The troops will use smartphones equipped with apps and devices that allow buyers to swipe and sign for their cookie purchase. The card acceptance technology could not only help improve sales but also help budding entrepreneurs, like the Girl Scouts, who recognize the benefits that digital currency provides.

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Posted by: Erika White, Visa Corporate Relations on March 2, 2011 at 12:31 pm