Viewpoints

Visa’s Blog – Visa Viewpoints

PERSPECTIVES ON DIGITAL CURRENCY

Sep 30, 2011

Brazil: Accelerating Financial Inclusion

This week I had the opportunity to address attendees at the Congress of Electronic Means of Payment  in Brazil to discuss a topic that is central to our business at Visa and critical to the long-term viability of the financial services industry as a whole – financial inclusion, or helping 2.5 billion underbanked adults around the world access more formalized financial services. 

There is no arguing that Brazil itself is a star on the world stage. The nation is a vibrant economy with growing global influence and enormous potential. Today, Brazil has an opportunity not only to catch but to leapfrog more established nations in economic development and social progress. To do so, the country needs capacity in its formal economy – planned in a way that will allow for long-term, sustainable growth. Access to formal financial services for all citizens is imperative to this equation.

How can we expand access to these services in Brazil and abroad? In part, by accelerating the migration from costly and risky paper-based forms of payment – cash, checks, vouchers – to digital currency. In Brazil, this migration is already moving at unprecedented speed.

Visa can help expand financial inclusion by doing what we do best. We are a company built and grown over 50 years to facilitate connectivity. We can connect disparate organizations – including governments, NGOs, mobile phone companies, as well as merchants and financial institutions – to effectively reach the billions of unbanked consumers around the globe and help make their financial lives more efficient, less expensive, less risky, and more convenient.

While much progress has been made to bring more people into the formal financial system, much work remains. As I shared in Brazil this week, we believe there are several key imperatives which the industry can pursue to advance financial inclusion. These include:

  • Develop a deep understanding of unbanked consumers’ needs and offer a tailored approach to deliver the products/services they require
  • Encourage strong and sustainable cooperation between the public and private sectors toward our shared goals of inclusion
  • Increase our level of investment in technology and innovation (like mobile and eCommerce) that give consumers access to their money in new and creative ways
  • Engage in dialogue with lawmakers so they understand the benefits of digital currency, and pursue informed, growth-oriented public policy
  • And finally, we must ensure that everyone who enters the financial system does so with a solid foundation of financial literacy in order to participate successfully

Delivering on each individual imperative can help accelerate financial inclusion. But taken together, these ingredients can bring the vast benefits of electronic payments – and all financial services – to the whole of Brazil and other markets around the world. And that will be a very good outcome for us all.

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Posted by: Bill Sheedy, Group President, Americas, Visa Inc. on September 30, 2011 at 9:54 am

Sep 29, 2011

Demand for Cashless Cabs in Chicago

Earlier this week, the Chicago Tribune ran an article about the common practice of Chicago cab drivers only accepting payments in cash.  This is despite the city’s Passenger Bill of Rights that assures payments can be made with credit or debit cards.  In “Some Cabdrivers Ride Patrons Over Plastic,” the author shares her frustration with not being able to use her debit card which she prefers over cash and checks.  

The author’s desire to pay by card was echoed by Mike Levine, owner of the Yellow Cab Company in Chicago.  In the article, he mentioned that the biggest complaint he heard from riders was the difficulty of using credit cards for payment.  He went on to say that he’s made it his mission to put more card machines in the back of cabs.  He’s also encouraging drivers to accept cards in an effort to grow his business and gain a favorable reputation. Levine pointed out that drivers stand to earn bigger tips from card-paying customers, citing company research that shows credit card users tip about 18 to 20 percent, while those who pay with cash generally tip about 15 percent. 

The reluctance of some cab drivers in Chicago is a departure from the taxi experience in New York City, where payment cards are fully embraced.  Every taxi in the Big Apple has a terminal in its back seat, making payment transactions fast, secure and convenient.   This has led to a surge of new business for cab companies, as well as to better tips for drivers.  Check out our video to learn more.

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Posted by: Albert Coscia, Visa Corporate Relations on September 29, 2011 at 12:02 pm

Sep 23, 2011

The US, UK and Japan rank as top global travel destinations according to Visa’s latest survey

In its sixth iteration, Visa’s Travel Intentions Survey has expanded its reach globally for the first time this year. Spanning 23 countries, the survey asked 11,620 respondents about their travel behavior, spending patterns and motivations when selecting a trip overseas.

Ross Jackson, Visa’s Head of Cross-Border Business for Visa in the Asia Pacific, Central Europe, Middle East and Africa, talks about some of the travel trends he is seeing today: Visa Global Travel Intentions Survey 2011

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Posted by: Jag Mistry, Corporate Relations, Visa Inc. on September 23, 2011 at 11:50 am

Sep 20, 2011

Visa Raises Awareness of the Benefits of Debit in Japan

In Japan Visa Debit, having first launched in 2006, is still relatively new to consumers.  In fact, many Japanese consumers do not know what Visa Debit is, nor where and how it can be used.  To mark the launch of Visa Debit issuance by the fourth largest bank in Japan (Resona Bank) and raise awareness about the benefits of Visa Debit for daily money management, cash replacement and a everyday shopping, Visa recently hosted an event to educate Japanese bloggers in Tokyo. 

More than 30 bloggers attended the event. Kyoko Yamaguchi, who often appears on TV programs as a financial advisor, delivered keynote remarks. She encouraged Japanese consumers to use electronic payments for daily money management. And, in other discussions throughout the day, one blogger remarked “I didn’t know about Visa Debit. But the security features like zero liability and security alerts respond to the security concerns I had about using payment cards.”

As we continue to educate Japanese consumers and opinion leaders about the benefits of debit cards and electronic payments in general, we’ll share more stories here.

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Posted by: Akiko Kato, Visa Corporate Relations, Japan on September 20, 2011 at 9:39 am

Sep 19, 2011

Google Licenses Visa’s payWave Technology

Visa Inc., Visa Europe and Google today announced an agreement under which Google has taken a worldwide license to Visa’s payWave application, Visa’s popular mobile payment technology. This sets the stage for financial institutions to allow account holders to add their Visa credit, debit or prepaid accounts to Google Wallet. Google Wallet, a mobile application due out this fall, turns a smartphone into a digital wallet. This means consumers will soon be able to make fast and secure payments at retail locations by simply waving their smartphones in front of a payment terminal at check-out.

As the technology develops and accountholders become more comfortable with the convenience and security of a mobile wallet, these devices have the potential to revolutionize the way we buy goods and manage our finances. Against this backdrop, Visa continues to champion an open approach to mobile commerce that allows consumers to choose which system they want to use for mobile payments using the trusted Visa accounts they already have.

Visa’s strategy is to make mobile payments available through a broad range of wallets – including our own digital wallet currently in development. Designed to simplify payment for eCommerce and in-store purchases, Visa’s digital wallet will offer click-to-buy options for easy checkout and automatically save any payment, loyalty, discount or coupon information.

Further reinforcing Visa’s open approach, we recently signed an agreement with Isis, a mobile carrier-led consortium formed by Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile, allowing cardholders to choose the best device for their life.

Ultimately, consumers will decide what will succeed, yet as the world’s largest payment processing network and with the wide adoption of Visa payWave, we’re committed to bringing convenience, security and added benefits to our accountholders and merchants alike.

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Posted by: Jim McCarthy, Head of Global Product, Visa Inc. on September 19, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Sep 15, 2011

Tremendous Tourism Growth in Brazil

During 2010, Brazil proved itself as a major contributor to the global tourism economy.  Perhaps the most fascinating information that came from our recent Tourism Outlook: Brazil report is that Brazilian Visa cardholders increased their international spending by an impressive 58 percent, totaling $4.8 billion. This increase positions Brazil as an emerging nation to watch for tourism spending in the coming years.

In the next few years Brazil will play host to two of the world’s largest mega events: The 2014 FIFA World Cup™ and the 2016 Olympic games. As a legacy sponsor of both, and a long-time supporter of international tourism growth, Visa will continue to work with the Brazilian tourism industry to prepare them for the incredible influx of travelers set to arrive for the upcoming mega sporting events.

For more information on VisaVue travel data and to view a complete copy of the Tourism Outlook: Brazil report please visit http://www.corporate.visa.com/media-center/media-kits/tourism.shtml.

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Posted by: Ryan Donovan, Corporate Relations on September 15, 2011 at 2:14 pm

Sep 14, 2011

Visa & Hispanic Chamber Working Together to Support Small Businesses

At Visa, we’re keenly aware of the role small businesses play in the health of the U.S. economy. Increasingly, a vital source of economic growth and jobs are Hispanic-owned businesses, which in recent years have far outpaced the growth of non-minority firms in terms of gross receipts and number of employees and firms, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.[1]

To support this important business segment, Visa is extending our partnership with the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC). The partnership, launched last year and extended for another three years, gives Hispanic-owned merchants customized access to Visa’s small business solutions and tools to help them improve cash flow, manage payment acceptance costs, streamline operations and grow their businesses.

“Visa understands the power of the Hispanic entrepreneur,” said Javier Palomarez, President and CEO of USHCC, about our partnership, “and is investing wisely in the infrastructure of local chambers that support this engine of economic recovery in American communities.”

We’re focused on expanding Visa acceptance by Hispanic-owned merchants so they have access to all the benefits of digital currency, including guaranteed payment, the potential for increased sales, enhanced record keeping and faster checkout times. Accepting Visa can be a powerful way for businesses to grow. The fact is many consumers avoid using cash whenever possible and consider whether a business accepts payment cards when deciding where to purchase goods and services.[2]

As part of Visa’s partnership with USHCC, Hispanic-owned businesses will have access to:

  • The Visa Business Network, a dedicated community available through Facebook that provides small business owners exclusive access to networking opportunities with other businesses and trusted advisors, small-business news feeds, videos, blogs and editorial commentary about issues such as cash flow management and new ways to attract customers.
  • Visa’s comprehensive online self-help business education content, including podcasts, interactive workbooks and workshops on topics such as managing and building a business. 
  • Tailored cash flow management workbooks and complimentary point of sale signage.

Learn more about Visa’s partnership with the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce here: www.ushcc.com/visa


[1] MBDA & U.S. Census Bureau: www.mbda.gov/pressroom/press-releases/commerce-department-report-shows-hispanic-owned-businesses-are-growing-creating-jobs

[2] Visa Inc. Way People Pay Survey, June 2008.

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Posted by: Ted Carr, Visa Corporate Relations on September 14, 2011 at 9:00 am

Sep 13, 2011

Travel planning is now a breeze with Visa and Lonely Planet

Lonely Planet and Visa have joined forces to create a travel micorsite packed with expert information on 12 key destinations around the world – namely Australia, China, Croatia, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, UAE and Ukraine.

The microsite combines invaluable travel advice from Lonely Planet’s travel writers with related payment advice from Visa to help travelers prepare all levels of their trip – from where to eat to whether they can use their Visa card to pay for that meal or where to find the nearest ATM should they still need cash. 

Potential travelers can find useful travel tools and services including an ATM locator, suggested trip itineraries, a calendar of events for each destination and even a countdown clock that can let them know how many days they have left to their holiday and pepper them with information on local weather, currency rates and Visa acceptance. 

Travelers can also download a series of free “Just Landed” destination guides that offer essential arrival information for travelers on each of the specified destinations. The “Just Landed” guide is a PDF document that can be easily printed and kept with a traveler’s passport for quick reference to local tipping policies, getting to and from the airport, useful local phrases as well as Visa GCAS numbers in case travelers lose their Visa cards while on holiday.

Visit www.visa.com/lonelyplanet today and start preparing for that next holiday with the help of expert travel and financial advice!

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Posted by: Jag Mistry, Corporate Relations, Visa Inc. on September 13, 2011 at 8:30 am