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PERSPECTIVES ON DIGITAL CURRENCY

Jul 29, 2011

Visa Employees Collaborate on the “It Gets Better Project”

Our employees are valued for their culture, experiences and skills, all of which contribute to Visa’s success. In support of Visa’s Diversity and Inclusion efforts, Visa Pride serves as an Employee Resource Group to LGBT and ally employees. The following article from our internal website discusses one of this group’s latest initiatives – a video to give hope to struggling Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender youth.    

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The It Gets Better Project ™ is a worldwide movement founded in 2010 in response to a series of tragic suicides by youths that occurred last fall. These youth were bullied because of their self-identification as Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Bisexual (LGBT), or a perceived LGBT identity because they were simply “different.” Members of Visa Pride, a Visa Employee Resource Group for Diversity and Inclusion, wanted to add their voices to the thousands of others to provide a message of optimism and encouragement.

At the heart of the It Gets Better Project ™ are over 22,000 video submissions including those received from politicians, such as President Barack Obama, celebrities, corporate employees, and national and international sports teams. These videos bring a message of hope to many LGBT youth who cannot imagine a future for themselves as openly gay adults.

Twenty employees from Visa Pride teamed up to encourage LGBT young people by sharing stories of their own lives and personal messages that offer a glimpse of what the future may hold in store. 

Click here to view Visa’s It Gets Better video.

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Posted by: Scott Sullivan, Global Head of Human Resources, Visa Inc. on July 29, 2011 at 8:23 am

Jul 19, 2011

Payment Security—What Are Merchants Doing About It?

High visibility breaches remind us that the bad guys are still out there hacking away–all with the goal of stealing your payment data and mine.  In the early days (like, more than seven years ago), hackers mostly fit the adolescent demographic, turning purloined card numbers into a new pair of Air Jordans.  Now, hacking is big business and dominated by well-organized international gangs. According to The New York Times (June 9, 2011), “Consumers…are feeling increasingly vulnerable amid recent reports of data breaches at big companies, like Lockheed Martin, Epsilon and Sony.”

So what steps are companies taking as they try to fight the increasingly difficult fight?  We just announced findings from a new survey by Visa subsidiary CyberSource Corporation, and leading data security and compliance firm Trustwave that get at some answers.  

Moving data out

20th Century American thief Willie Sutton, when asked why he robbed banks, famously answered:  “Because that’s where the money is.”  What if hackers found out there was no payment data once they got inside a merchant’s system?  That’s what a lot of companies are up to—essentially emptying their vaults of cardholder data.  Modern services allow online merchants to trade data for “tokens” and leave the actual data storage to PCI DSS certified service providers (like CyberSource).  According to the survey, an increasing proportion of organizations expect to move their data out, leaving today’s Willie Suttons with nothing to steal.

It’s not just the outsiders

Insiders often have access to sensitive card data, and some of them are less than scrupulous in what they do with that information.  A shocking finding from the survey—merchants say they feel the threat from their own employees is about equal to that of outsiders! So merchants must be aware of the need to protect data from insiders as well as hackers.  All the more reason to get data out.

It’s not about the fines

Back in September of 2006, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) was founded to provide compliance standards for organizations that sell online—all geared to maximize protection of customer data.  At the time, the big media story was about fines for non-compliance that could ultimately fall on the merchants.  So wouldn’t it be reasonable to assume merchants are motivated to steer clear of financial punishment?  Apparently not.  Merchants in the CyberSource/Trustwave survey overwhelmingly (70%) came down on the side of “protecting the brand” as their primary motivator in tightening controls.  Only 26% said avoiding fines was a key driver in their security investments.     

Learn more about the survey

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Posted by: Bruce Frymire, CyberSource Corporate Relations on July 19, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Jul 19, 2011

ISIS NOW INCLUDES VISA

As you may have read, today Visa and Isis, the mobile commerce joint venture between AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless, announced that they have entered into an agreement that will permit consumers who use the Isis mobile wallet to pay for goods and services with Visa credit, debit and prepaid accounts. By making Visa products available in the Isis mobile wallet, Visa expects consumers will be able to use their existing Visa accounts on mobile devices.

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Posted by: Jim McCarthy, Head of Global Product, Visa Inc. on July 19, 2011 at 9:15 am

Jul 11, 2011

Mega-Sporting Events Have Dramatic Impact on Economies of Host Nations

When a country hosts a mega-sporting event such as the Olympic Games or the FIFA World Cup , their respective economies receive an instant boost in activity; they add new infrastructure, increase the number of employment opportunities, and ultimately, instill a strong sense of pride and dignity in the people of the host country to stage an event on a global stage with the world watching. In the case of three specific recent events; the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games, and 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, statistics show dramatic increases in tourism spend leading up to and during all three event periods.

For each of the three events analyzed, there was healthy growth in Visa payment card expenditure during the event compared to the year prior:

In 2012, London will host the Games of the next Olympic Games and in 2014 and 2016, Brazil will host the next FIFA World Cup™ and Summer Olympics, respectively. As a legacy sponsor of both properties, and a long-time supporter in the growth of international tourism, Visa will continue to work with tourism entities in both countries to prepare them for the massive number of international travelers.

In addition to this report, Visa Europe has released a study that looks at the potential impact of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Download Visa’s Generating Visitor Spending: Mega-Sporting Events report to learn more. Or for more VisaVue travel data information and reports please visit www.corporate.visa.com.

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Posted by: Paul Wilke, Visa Corporate Relations on July 11, 2011 at 9:34 am

Jul 7, 2011

Wave to pay at McDonald’s®? I’m lovin it®!

Buying a Big Mac just got easier for Visa cardholders in Canada.  Today, we are excited to announce that McDonald’s® restaurants in Canada are now accepting Visa payWave, which means that diners will now be able to simply “wave and go” when purchasing a Big Mac®, a Happy Meal® or any of their favourite menu items at McDonald’s.  Currently available nationwide for front counter service, McDonald’s will be accepting Visa payWave at drive-thrus later this year.

Visa payWave makes these everyday, on-the-go purchases faster and more convenient, which makes it a natural fit for McDonald’s focus on customer service.  In fact, adding payWave acceptance fits right into the broader changes happening at McDonald’s restaurants in Canada, like free wifi, the re-imaging of restaurant interiors and exteriors, as well as new and exciting menu items.

With our five biggest Canadian issuers now offering Visa payWave cards and great merchants like McDonald’s on board, it’s getting easier for Canadian Visa cardholders to simply ‘check, wave and go’.  Read more about McDonald’s Visa payWave launch.

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Posted by: Melissa Cassar, Visa Corporate Relations, Canada on July 7, 2011 at 5:00 am

Jul 6, 2011

MIGRATION WATCH: “As Plastic Reigns, the Treasury Slows its Printing Presses”

In an article titled, As Plastic Reigns, the Treasury Slows its Printing Presses, the New York Times reported that the Treasury Department has dropped the production of currency notes to some of the lowest levels in modern times. Production of $5 bills dropped to the lowest level in 30 years, and for the first time in that period, there were not any $10 bills printed. Further, the piece went on to conclude: 

“The meaning seems clear: The future is here. Cash is in decline.”

While the article points to several examples of U.S. businesses that have gone cashless, such as Commerce Restaurant in New York, Airlines and Manhattan taxis, we at Visa also see this trend taking place globally.

-       Hong Kong Taxis recently went cashless – eliminating the need for riders to fumble for cash. 

-       Indian Railways, the largest rail system in the world, brought fare payments online to reduce the interminable lines at train stations across the Country.

-       Small Indian businesses, ranging from high-end retailers to movie theatres, have started accepting cards citing security and convenience as key benefits.

As we continue to innovate new and better ways to pay and be paid, we believe the benefits of digital currency, like speed, security and convenience, will continue to accelerate the use of electronic payments around the world.

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Posted by: Will Valentine, Visa Corporate Relations on July 6, 2011 at 1:08 pm