Viewpoints

Visa’s Blog – Visa Viewpoints

PERSPECTIVES ON DIGITAL CURRENCY

Nov 29, 2012

Analyst Viewpoints: The Future of the Paper-based Payments in the B2B Space

Like many experts, Patricia McGinnis, a payments industry vet with Mercator Advisory Group, foresees a steady increase in card-based payments. She also notes that this shift is already well underway with checks accounting for only about half of B2B payments in the U.S.

I sat down with McGinnis recently. She’s been looking at trends in the industry for more than 15 years and always has an interesting perspective especially when it comes to the commercial market. During this conversation, I asked her how she saw the shift from paper-based to electronic payments playing out in the commercial space. While there is a huge opportunity, McGinnis notes that the opportunity is there for the taking and there are some challenges in the card market that need conquering. Check out this video for more of her thoughts. Where do you see commercial payments in 2013?

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Posted by: Erika White, Visa Corporate Relations on November 29, 2012 at 9:42 am

Nov 27, 2012

#HolidaySuccess Tips for Small Business Owners:

Last week,  USA Today small business columnist, Rhonda Abrams, shared her first of four #HolidaySuccess tips for maximizing the business potential of the holiday season. This week Rhonda brings us some tips on managing cash flow – one of the top concerns keeping small business owners up at night, according to our 2012 Small Business Cash Management Survey.

For more information on cash management tips and other holiday planning advice, download the full Small Business Holiday Success Guide at www.visa.com/holidaysuccess

Happy Holidays!

Janet – @JZablock

 

Let’s talk about money—the lifeblood of all businesses.

For some businesses, the holidays can represent almost half of annual sales. But expenses can peak long before sales actually come in. The result? Steep income and expense curves. Those kinds of extremes may be thrilling if you’re hitting the slopes this winter, but as a small business owner, you want a smoother ride.

Here are four ways to help even out your cash flow this holiday season:

1.     Sell sooner. You can accomplish this in a few ways: Offer discounts for pre-paid products or services when purchased early in the season; Attract customers early with special sales and events; Sell gift cards and get paid before you actually provide the product or service.

2.     Get paid faster. You can encourage customers to pay quickly by accepting credit cards either online or in your store, or, if you’re on the go, with a mobile credit card reader. For businesses that bill clients, remember you can accept credit cards too. And consider requesting pre-payment or require payment on delivery.

3.     Reduce expenses. The most obvious way to do this is to avoid buying stuff you can’t sell or don’t use. Remember also to forecast costs; purchase carefully; read your financial statements so you know where your money goes; and reduce waste.

4.     Defer payments. If you pay by credit card, you can stretch out your payments if necessary. If you have a stellar track record, ask your vendor for longer payment terms or ask for an installment plan. If you are able to do this and pay with a credit card, you’ve just extended your payment period dramatically. 

Even if you run a business that is typically slow during the holidays, you may still find these cash flow techniques useful.

Enjoy!
Rhonda Abrams

@RhondaAbrams

 

Disclaimer:  Practice recommendations are intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for legal, financial, tax or other advice.  When implementing any new strategy or practice, you should consult with your legal and financial advisors. Visa makes no representations and warranties as to the information contained herein.

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Posted by: Janet Zablock, Head of Global Small Business, Visa Inc. on November 27, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Nov 27, 2012

Visa Cardholders Spend $5 Billion Online Over Thanksgiving Weekend

Given the tremendous attention paid to shopping trends over the holiday weekend, we want to make sure everyone sees our press release from this morning regarding U.S. eCommerce spending results for November 23-26. For a bit of incremental context, take a look at this graphical view of eCommerce shopping trends over the long-weekend.

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Posted by: Visa Corporate Relations Team on November 27, 2012 at 11:36 am

Nov 26, 2012

Sparking Innovation in the Humanitarian and Development Community

Today Visa Inc. and NetHope, a consortium of 37 humanitarian organizations, announced the Visa Innovation Grants program to help modernize humanitarian aid payments. Through this program, Visa is making available $500,000 in grants to humanitarian and development non-governmental organizations to increase the speed, security and long-term impact of aid and development programs through the innovation and adoption of electronic payments.

Every year, humanitarian, development and government organizations distribute billions of dollars of cash payments to people in need through benefit stipends, emergency relief payments, and other development initiatives. Driven by the need to ensure faster delivery, greater transparency and increased security, these organizations are beginning to shift from distributing physical cash to electronic payments. For example, electronic payment distribution enables beneficiaries to use a card or mobile phone to purchase food, buy essential household needs, pay for preventative or emergency health care and obtain other critical needs more efficiently and with greater accountability.

Visa’s Innovation Grants build upon ongoing support of programs that improve and modernize humanitarian aid. For example, after the devastating flooding in Pakistan in 2010, Visa worked with the Government of Pakistan and our financial institution partners to distribute Watan Visa prepaid cards to 2.5 million families to help them purchase items to meet their basic needs. (Read more about Visa’s humanitarian response in Pakistan here). Visa also supports the Cash Learning Partnership, a consortium of humanitarian organizations focused on reducing the time and resources required to distribute relief funds to people impacted by emergencies. (Read more about Visa’s partnership with the Cash Learning Partnership here).

To encourage more innovative thinking in the humanitarian and development communities, we need to unleash better ways to deliver aid. These grants are just one way to spur the innovation needed to continue to bring humanitarian and development aid into the 21st century.

For additional information about Visa and NetHope’s grant program, please read today’s joint press release and joint post on CGAP’s blog.

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Posted by: Douglas Sabo, Visa Corporate Responsibility on November 26, 2012 at 6:58 am

Nov 21, 2012

‘Tis the Season for Ringing Checkout Registers

It’s the time of year when retailers hope that you’ve made Santa’s “Nice” list, so there are lots of presents under the tree and all stockings are stuffed! So far, early indications suggest that the season will be jolly, keeping Santa and his reindeers’ travel schedules fully booked.

The National Retail Federation predicts holiday shopping will increase 4.1 percent to $586 billion this year. Additionally, this week Adobe predicted online sales on Cyber Monday would top $2 billion this year, representing an 18 percent increase over 2011. Also of note: a prediction that mobile commerce would represent more than one-fifth (21 percent) of all online sales this holiday season.

While Black Friday and Cyber Monday are typically thought of as two of the busiest holiday shopping days of the year, a closer look at our United States-driven eCommerce data may suggest otherwise. We tasked some of our holiday number-crunching elves at Visa to look at debit and credit card purchases over the past 10 holiday seasons and found some interesting trends:

  • Weekend warriors: With a few notable exceptions (Black Friday, Cyber Monday), shopping volumes tend to climb significantly on Saturday and Sunday and drop off during the weekdays. [No matter which day you shop, if you are doing it online, V.me by Visa can help simplify the process.]
  • eCommerce excellence: According to Forrester, shoppers are expected to spend $226 million online this year alone.
  • Shopping strongholds: The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are BUSY shopping days—but not the busiest of the year.
  • Procrastination purchasing: Waiting until the last minute to buy gifts means a rush before Christmas. Over the last 10 years, December 22, 23 and 24th have been the busiest shopping days of the holiday season.

Whether past trends hold true this holiday season, or other days emerge as shopping surprises remains to be seen. One thing is for certain: checkout registers – whether online, mobile or in stores – will be busy ringing with the holiday sounds of spending.

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Posted by: Lucas Mast, Visa Corporate Relations on November 21, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Nov 19, 2012

#HolidaySuccess: Tips for Small Business Owners

A few weeks ago, we shared the Small Business Holiday Success Guide that we recently launched with USA Today small business columnist, Rhonda Abrams. As the holiday season is upon us, we are excited to bring you the first in a series of posts that will provide you with more in-depth strategies to help make this a successful holiday season for your small business. In this series, we will cover money management, holiday marketing techniques, tips for extending holiday success into the New Year, and more. – Janet Zablock @jzablock

6 Tips for Social Media Holiday Success

Social Media 411 chart

Whether it’s money management or marketing, every aspect of your business requires a plan. That includes social media marketing. Keep in mind the following six tips when developing your social media strategy:

  1. Remember, it’s better to give than to receive.Anything you tweet, post, pin, or blog should offer value. Just like you’ll tune out your know-it-all brother-in-law at Thanksgiving dinner, your followers will drop you if all you do is talk about your product or service and why they should buy it. Instead:
    • Write blogs showing how you meet customers’ holiday needs
    • Post links to articles and videos your followers will find useful or entertaining.
    • Discuss promotions and special items you’re offering just for the holidays.
    • Refresh your content often during the holidays to bring customers back.
  2. Write your content in advance. Before you’re knee deep in gift wrap, write as many of those blogs, tweets, and Facebook posts as you can, and merely publish them according to the calendar. Brainstorm the topics, themes, and promotions you’ll cover. Then create a calendar of what to post when (a spreadsheet is best, but a physical calendar also works).
  3. Regift. No, I don’t mean unload that itchy orange and purple sweater your mother gave you last year. I’m talking about repurposing your content. You’ve already taken the time to write your blogs and email newsletters. Now save time. Pull material out for tweets, Facebook posts, and LinkedIn updates.
  4. Put some tasks on auto-pilot. During the holidays especially, you don’t have the resources to update and like posts on Facebook all day. Of course, you’ll still pay attention to the conversation. With tools like Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, and Manageflitter, you can pre-load all that content you wrote in advance and schedule it to post later.
  5. Encourage engagement. Create surveys. Ask questions. Run a contest. Do what you can to encourage followers to engage. When they do engage, respond.
  6. Manage review sites. According to SearchEngineLand,76 percent of customers visit sites such as Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Zagat to find the best meal, store, hotel, and more. Make it easy for your customers to post positive reviews. The tool ReviewBiz allows you to embed an icon in your website that will take your customers directly to local review sites.

Visit www.visa.com/holidaysuccess to download the Small Business Holiday Success Guide and learn more!

–Rhonda Abrams (@RhondaAbrams), USA Today Small Business Columnist and Expert

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Posted by: Janet Zablock, Head of Global Small Business, Visa Inc. on November 19, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Nov 15, 2012

The Economist Delves Into the “War of the Virtual Wallets”

Hailing the recent commercial availability of V.me by Visa as “another milestone on the journey to digital cash” the Economist provides an overview of the major players and landscape in the digital wallet space in “War of the Virtual Wallets“, including perspective from Visa’s global head of eCommerce, Jennifer Schulz.

While noting that the competition in the virtual wallet space is white-hot, the article asserts that Visa is well-positioned as the battle intensifies.  Some Visa-specific statistics noted in the article to support this prediction include:

*More than 2.3 billion Visa cards in circulation

*Over $8 billion in total Visa credit, debit and prepaid transactions processed in 2011

*Significant technology investments and acquisitions in developed markets, including V.me and Square

*Strategic investments in developing and emerging markets, including Monitise and Fundamo (a Visa company)

*Strong relationships with large member banks, including 50+ supporting V.me

Please click here to read the entire article.

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Posted by: Ryan Donovan, Corporate Relations on November 15, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Nov 15, 2012

Visa and Mashable Recognize 2012′s Life-Changing Innovations

2012 has been a remarkable year for innovation. New trends and products in tech, digital and social have impacted how we connect, do business, shop, travel, and much more.

V.me by Visa and Mashable have teamed up to launch Mashable Innovation Index 2012, which celebrates some of the cutting edge achievements that have changed the way we live this year. We’re recognizing achievements in 15 different categories ranging from fashion to politics to home and art.

Today, we unveiled 14 handpicked curators for each category to nominate five game changers.  Our experts include well known celebrities like Martha StewartStacy London and Lorena Garcia. Here’s where you come in. Once our experts have nominated their favorite innovations, we’re turning it over to you to help select the winners of the Mashable Innovation Index 2012.

We’re also taking nominations for a 15th category and YOU could be the expert. Think we missed an important innovation or category? Then enter the community contest to be our 15th Innovation Index Curator.

Check back here for more updates.  Our 15th curator and nominees will be announced on November 26.


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Posted by: Ryan Donovan, Corporate Relations on November 15, 2012 at 10:37 am

Nov 14, 2012

NFL Fans: Show Your Support With New Team Visa Prepaid Cards!

We’re in the heat of the National Football League (NFL) season in the U.S. and Visa has created another opportunity for fans to get closer to the game and show that they bleed red – or blue, or purple – for their favorite team. As an NFL sponsor since 1995, Visa recognizes the love NFL fans have for their favorite team and is supporting that passion by offering select NFL team-branded, reloadable prepaid cards at more than 350 Walmart stores around the country.

Team Visa Prepaid Cards, issued by GE Capital Retail Bank and managed by Green Dot Corporation, sport the logos of eight Visa-sponsored NFL teams: the Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings, San Diego Chargers and the San Francisco 49ers. The cards are exclusive to each team’s market and are available now at Walmart stores within 75 miles of the home stadium of each participating team.

Visa prepaid cards deliver the convenience and security of digital payments, while making it easier to budget money on a day to day basis. So whether fans want to stock up on food and drink for the gameday tailgate or buy a new flat screen television, Team Visa Prepaid Cards from Walmart allow cardholders to make a clear statement about their fandom with every purchase.

To learn more about Visa prepaid cards, please visit www.visa.com/prepaid.

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Posted by: Hyung Choi, Visa Head of U.S. Prepaid Products on November 14, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Nov 13, 2012

Rwanda, Inc.: Developing a model for economic growth

As you know, last December, Visa and the Government of Rwanda announced a groundbreaking partnership to ‘electronify’ the Rwandan economy.  The partnership aims to connect 11 million Rwandans to the formal financial sector.  To do this, we have been focused on key areas including: developing the basic infrastructure needed to enable country-wide use of electronic payments, promoting electronic payments innovation by taking advantage of rapidly developing technologies like mobile payments, and building capacity and infrastructure through financial literacy and job training programs.

It is the clear vision and strategy for growth in Rwanda that Andrea Redmond and Patricia Crisafulli chronicle in their new book, Rwanda, Inc., which launched today.  We are proud to be in the company of such qualified individuals who also see Rwanda as the “ultimate turnaround” story.  The book describes how, in two decades, Rwanda went from complete devastation after the genocide 18 years ago to impressive economic development and GDP growth that has lifted one million people out of poverty in the past five years alone.  Through direct access to the Rwandan government, the authors take the reader through Rwanda’s complicated past, from civil war and genocide to the promising present.

Like Andrea, we believe in the opportunity that exists in the region, and have focused our financial inclusion strategy to target a very important customer base, both for Visa and the Rwandan government, to help build a model for other appropriate economies. Enabling individuals opportunities to better manage their financial lives is a significant step towards advancing economic expansion.

We are honored to support Andrea in the launch of her insightful book, and believe in its message. Rwanda is open for business, and we are proud to be there.

NOTE: Andrea Redmond is a consultant who works with corporate boards, CEOs, Fortune 500 companies, and private investors.  She sits on several boards of directors, including The Allstate Corporation, Children’s Memorial Hospital, Northwestern University Hospital, and the Robert H. Lurie Cancer Center.

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Posted by: Doug Michelman, Global Head, Corporate Relations, Visa Inc. on November 13, 2012 at 3:11 pm