Viewpoints

Visa’s Blog – Visa Viewpoints

PERSPECTIVES ON DIGITAL CURRENCY

Jun 29, 2011

Introducing “Kiva City”: A New Way to Support U.S. Local Small Business Growth

In the fall of 2010, we announced a partnership with Kiva.org to extend the reach of microlending to more U.S. small businesses. Less than a year later, we are joining together to launch Kiva City, a comprehensive program that will extend Kiva’s Internet-based lending model to communities in need across the nation. Launching first in Detroit, Kiva City is being debuted today by President Bill Clinton on stage at the Clinton Global Initiative America Conference in Chicago. Here are a few words from Kiva President, Premal Shah, on the new program.

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Posted by: Douglas Sabo, Visa Corporate Responsibility on June 29, 2011 at 5:03 am

Jun 27, 2011

Serving the Base of the Economic Pyramid

Two and a half billion adults around the world lack access to formal financial services, including 1 billion who have a mobile phone but not a bank account.

But today, a great opportunity exists. Technology is rapidly improving our ability to reach the underserved and provide them with a range of financial services that are convenient to use and appropriate for their needs. This includes more convenient ways to make payments, send and receive remittances, and build and access savings.

Governments and industry both appear to recognize the opportunities to serve the underserved, a shared purpose that is on full display at this week’s 1st Forum for the Development of the Base of the Pyramid in Latin America and the Caribbean, an event organized by the Inter-American Development Bank. The event brought together key regional players from the public and private sector, and I am in Sao Paulo to share my perspective on technology and financial inclusion.

At Visa, we think one of the most valuable contributions we can make in the world is helping to bring more people into the formal financial system. Improving access to financial services and electronic payments is a critical building block to help more people improve their lives and lift themselves out of poverty.

There are plenty of examples of Visa’s products and services that enable financial inclusion. Programs like the Visa Solidaridad card in the Dominican Republic have redefined the way government subsidies are distributed, while helping to bring card acceptance to merchants in the country’s smallest neighborhoods. The Solidaridad card is an excellent example of how prepaid technology can accelerate regional financial inclusion by introducing thousands of new consumers to formal financial services in a gradual and effective fashion. 

In a region where 88% of the adult population has a mobile phone but only 35% has a bank account, this type of infrastructure creates new financial inclusion moments for citizens. Today, the possibilities to narrow the gap between those that are included and excluded are endless. But expanding access to financial services isn’t without its challenges. By putting together the minds and the initiatives of governments, companies and organizations, we can do a lot more than working separately. If new technologies are to reshape the world of financial inclusion, it will be by increased collaboration and joined efforts, such as those on display at 1st Forum for the Development of the Base of the Pyramid in Latin America and the Caribbean.

For more on the event go to http://www.baseforumbop.com/

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Posted by: Jose Maria Ayuso, Head of Core Products, Visa Inc. Latin America and the Caribbean Region on June 27, 2011 at 5:34 pm

Jun 24, 2011

Migration Watch: Hong Kong Taxis Go Cashless

We’re excited to announce that today, Autotoll, Dah Sing Bank and Visa started the next phase in their implementation of AutoTAXI (Autotoll Intelligent Taxi Calling Service), a new service model for Hong Kong’s taxis. The first fleet of high-tech taxis featuring the system are now hitting Hong Kong streets, offering a range of services that benefit both drivers and passengers including the first commercial payment card acceptance in Hong Kong taxies and an intelligent dispatching service.

People across the world have been using their Visa cards to pay because they make it so easy and convenient to get around. With the introduction of Visa payWave we are enabling metropolitan transit operators to accept Visa at the fare gate – eliminating the need to fumble for cash or purchase fare media at a kiosk. Consumers can simply hold their Visa payWave enabled phone or card in front of the turn style to access the metro. In fact, Visa cards are already accepted for payment in taxis in many other metropolitan centers, including Melbourne, Sydney, Seoul and New York , with great success.  Read more about today’s Hong Kong launch here.

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Posted by: Jeremy Griffith, Corporate Relations, Asia Pacific on June 24, 2011 at 9:06 am

Jun 21, 2011

Visa Employee Takes Heroic Action for Her Colleague

We don’t usually post things like this, but this story on our corporate intranet, about a Visa employee who donated a kidney to save a co-worker’s life, was so inspiring we wanted to share with our broader Visa family and followers:” 

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On the Job Just Two Months, Sharon Culpepper Takes Heroic Action for Her New Friend and Colleague Jason Neukirk     

Ask Sharon Culpepper and she’ll tell you every office could use a Jason Neukirk.  

 
“I relocated from Florida to work for Visa in Ashburn, Va. last October,” said Sharon, Account Executive. “On my first day, I met Jason. He always had a big smile and was very friendly, and he was extremely knowledgeable and happy to help me in my new surroundings.”  
 
Jason, who was a contractor working for Visa at the time, sat near Sharon and made it a point to e-mail an occasional joke to her to ensure she felt welcomed and included as part of the team.  But one day in December Jason came to work and Sharon immediately knew something was amiss.
“Jason wears his heart on his sleeve,” she said. “That day, he wasn’t smiling. He didn’t offer up any jokes. So I asked him if he was ok.”  
 
The response was devastating.  “I have kidney disease,” he said. “I’m dying.”

 

A Long Road

Jason was suffering from a hereditary kidney illness that had killed his mother and his grandmother. For the past two years, he had been on a waiting list for a new kidney and on dialysis three times a week during evenings after work.  
 
“My first thought was ‘Wow, you would never know he was suffering from this,’” Sharon said. For Jason, her next reaction was as unexpected as the news Sharon had just received: “I asked him how I could get tested to see if I was a match. He just looked at me in disbelief.”  
 
“I thought she was joking,” he said.  
 
Jason had been down that road before: Other friends had offered to donate a kidney, but due to various reasons, his lifeline never materialized. Grateful, but still not getting his hopes up, he gave Sharon the information she requested.  
 
She contacted Georgetown University Medical Center that same day and put the wheels in motion to become a donor. After completing several forms and medical tests — some difficult, and some more than once — Sharon learned that she was a perfect match.  “I was hopeful, but it still wasn’t real yet,” Jason said. “I knew that until the transplant team approves the operation, it’s still a ‘maybe.’”
 
Weeks later, that approval finally came.

 

“You’re Going to Save My Life”

“I was out to lunch with another colleague when I got the call,” Sharon said. “I was so shocked and excited! Before we returned to the office I picked up a big balloon with a smiley face on it, and I attached a note that said ‘What are you doing on March 31?’ — the date for which the surgery was scheduled.”  
 
When she returned to the office, Sharon gave the balloon to Jason. To her surprise, he hadn’t received the news yet.  
 
“When I told him, he grabbed me so hard and I could feel him tremble. Then he looked at me and said ‘You’re going to save my life.’”  
 
On March 31, more than three months after Sharon took the first step toward becoming a donor, she and Jason went into the hospital for the transplant procedure. Hours later, as hospital staff started to wheel Sharon out of post-operation recovery to her room, she caught a quick glimpse of Jason, who offered her a wave.  The transplant was a success.

 

The Road to Recovery

During the next few days, both Sharon and Jason bounced back at a rate that surprised medical professionals and made brisk progress down the road to recovery. While in the hospital together, Jason and Sharon paid regular visits to each other’s rooms and reveled in the amazing experience they had shared.
 
During that time, their Visa colleagues kept the two in full supply of flowers, care packages and well wishes.  
 
A week after the surgery, Sharon was working from home. A week after that, she was back in the office. As the kidney recipient, full recovery for Jason would take a bit longer — generally about two to three months.
 
Toward the end of that period, Jason visited the office and was overwhelmed by the greetings and support of those with whom he’d worked.  Speaking about his visit, Jason said. “There were so many people I ran into who stopped me to say hello and wish me well. I didn’t realize how many connections I’d made at Visa.”

 

“Everything Happens for a Reason”

Looking back on the experience, Jason reflected, “What Sharon did for me is the most wonderful gift I’ve ever received in my life. I just love her. I was totally blown away by her generosity, her willingness to do this for someone she hardly knew.”  Ask Sharon and she’ll tell you she’d do it all over again. “For a while, Jason thought I didn’t understand what a serious thing it was I was doing … but I did. It just felt right. He has a wonderful family — a 14-year-old son and a beautiful wife, who coincidentally is also the recipient of a donated kidney. When you do good things and help other people, good things happen to you.”

 

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Posted by: Patty Callahan, Visa InSite team on June 21, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Jun 16, 2011

What the Industry is Saying about Monitise and Fundamo

Last week, Visa announced that we were not only extending our relationship with Monitise, but that we were acquiring Fundamo, a leading provider of mobile financial services for network operators and financial institutions in developing economies.

At the time of the announcement, we stressed that these investments directly supported our global strategy, which will allow us to deliver the next generation of mobile payments to consumers all over the world.  It is one thing for us to say it, but we are glad to hear industry analysts and experts agree.

  • On Yankee Group’s blog, Tole Hart cited the benefits of our relationships with Monitise and Fundamo and how these companies give Visa “An opportunity to expand its brand name and services in remittances, and double down in emerging markets for payment processing.”
  • Mary Monahan of Javelin Strategy commented on the “nice synergies” between Visa and Fundamo. She also noted that, “With a ‘land grab’ going on among the emerging unbanked nations, it is vital for long-term players to get in on the ground floor and establish a brand presence from the get-go.” 
  • Bart Narter of Celent pointed out that the Fundamo acquisition is “A great way to get a toehold in emerging markets” adding, “There was no one better to buy than Fundamo.”

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Posted by: Ryan Donovan, Corporate Relations on June 16, 2011 at 10:44 am

Jun 10, 2011

@VisaNews Goes Live on Twitter

On behalf of Visa Inc., we’re proud to announce the launch of our official Twitter channel.  You will now be able to follow us @VisaNews for the latest commentary on payments and our thoughts on innovation news and views.

As always, you can follow us here on the Visa Viewpoints blog or you can subscribe to our RSS feed for easy access to our latest posts.  Thanks in advance for following us on Twitter.  We look forward to participating in the conversation.

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Posted by: Will Valentine, Visa Corporate Relations on June 10, 2011 at 9:00 am

Jun 9, 2011

VISA ACCELERATES NEXT-GEN PAYMENTS SOLUTIONS FOR MOBILE CONSUMERS

Last month, Visa announced  its strategy to provide the next generation of payments solutions for any stage economy.  At the time, we shared our plans for a sophisticated digital wallet that will first be available in the U.S. and Canada.  And today, we’re announcing two investments that help us accelerate the strategy reaching other consumers around the world.

Today, Visa announced  the acquisition of Fundamo and a new agreement with Monitise.  Both companies play important roles in extending electronic payments and services via mobile devices. Taken together, they accelerate Visa’s ability to bring financial services to banked and unbanked consumers worldwide.  This means that consumers – across the full spectrum of uses, geographies and mobile environments – can access basic financial services on a simple handset or more advanced services on a smart phone.

Fundamo brings a platform for Visa to deliver mobile financial services for unbanked and underbanked consumers in developing markets.  Fundamo is already delivering services like person-to-person payments, airtime popup, and bill payment in more than 40 countries – with Visa, these services can integrate with VisaNet, adding interoperability and utility with the potential to connect billions of people to each other and to the global economy.

And through our extended relationship with Monitise, we will expand delivery of mobile financial services to Visa banked account holders — enabling electronic payments on the go for those who are more likely to transact on a mobile device than in person.

These are two ways we are enabling consumers around the world to transact wherever, whenever they choose and in ways that meet their lifestyles – whether using a card, a computer, or a mobile device.
We know that different parts of the world have different needs.  We know that delivering access to financial services on a mobile device is critical, as well as complicated.  And, at Visa, we’re only willing to do it in a way that replicates the security, reliability and convenience synonymous with using a Visa card at a retail store.

To see this vision in action, please check out this video .

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Posted by: Bill Gajda, Head of Global Mobile Product on June 9, 2011 at 3:32 am