Viewpoints

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PERSPECTIVES ON DIGITAL CURRENCY

Nov 12, 2013

Mobile

Holiday Shoppers Prepare to Hit the Web

 

 

 

As consumers gear up for the holidays, it’s clear we’re in for another growth year in eCommerce.  According to new data from the Visa Spending Intentions survey, 87 percent of people plan to do at least some of their holiday shopping online this year, with 40 percent saying they will do half or more gift-buying online.  That’s good news for retailers, knowing that 72 percent of people also plan to spend more or the same amount of money on gifts this year, compared to last year.

In the first 10 months of 2013, eCommerce sales are up 17 percent from the same period last year, and Visa domestic eCommerce transactions exceeded one billion dollars on 211 days, an increase of 19 percent from 2012.

Other key findings from the Visa Spending Intentions survey include:

Electronic Payments are the Norm

  • 25 percent of respondents plan to use their mobile phone or tablet for holiday shopping this year, up from 22 percent last year
  • Credit and debit cards will be the primary form of payments through the holidays, with 56 percent of people planning to use their credit card and 30 percent to use a debit card

The Holidays are Big Business, for Big and Small Businesses

  • Almost 50 percent expect to spend between $301 and $800, while 14 percent plan to spend more than $800
  • More than 85 percent of consumers are as, or more, inclined to shop at a small business this year, compared to last year

Beat the Crowds, with a Tap of the Finger

  • Online holiday shopping has become the preferred way to shop for a number of reasons, including:
    • Fits my schedule better/Can shop anytime (67 percent)
    • Better prices online (61 percent)
    • Dislike battling crowds (54 percent)

Each year, millions of shoppers rely on Visa for holiday-related purchases, providing a near real-time view into consumer behavior. If you wish to receive regular updates throughout the holiday season, send an email to globalmedia@visa.com or follow ongoing updates at http://blog-visa.fhstage2.com.

* 2013 VisaNet Data

Survey Methodology:

This survey was conducted for Visa by Prosper Insights and Analytics via an online sample of over 4,600 U.S. consumers aged 18 and over.

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Posted by: Wayne Best, Chief Economist, Visa on November 12, 2013 at 7:00 am

Oct 28, 2013

Cherie Blair on New Mobile Financial Services Initiative for Women in Nigeria

 

This week I’m speaking at the Financial Inclusion 2020 Summit, an event that is promoting a global campaign to bring ordinary financial services – banking, credit cards, pensions, etc – to more than 2 billion people around the world who are currently excluded from these everyday services.

It’s an issue that is particularly important to me and my Foundation for Women, which promotes women entrepreneurs in the less developed parts of the world, and through which I’ve learned how hard it is for women to run a business without banking facilities. More than that, everyone needs financial services to manage their day-to-day lives and prepare for a better future. But very few in middle-income and especially low-income countries enjoy the access to quality services from formal financial service providers that many of us take for granted.

In wealthier countries, nearly 90% of the population have basic bank accounts. Most middle-class people are supported at every turn by financial services – such as credit cards for everyday purchases, mortgages to buy a home, quick and easy payment services, insurance or pensions. But in low and middle-income countries, the story is different.

More than 2.5 billion people lack access to quality financial services and at least half of that number will include women. If we want to make an impact on financial inclusion, that effort has to include women. Recent research findings from my own foundation, Visa, BFA and GSMA show that not only are women missing out on access to mobile financial services, they are also missing out on the retail opportunities related to these services.

In partnership with Visa, my foundation aims to address this gap, with a focus on Nigeria. Our project will result in 2,500 women becoming agents in the retail network of a leading financial services provider. As retail agents, they will bring branchless banking and mobile financial services to tens of thousands more women in Nigeria. Alongside the retail agent opportunities, the women involved will also benefit from training and capacity building support.

Our primary aim is to enable a greater number of women entrepreneurs to enter the electronic payment value chain in Nigeria – a sector that is set to grow tremendously in the coming months and years.

Why start in Nigeria? Women in Nigeria experience cultural, social and systemic barriers to entrepreneurship including poor infrastructure, lack of connectivity and other barriers. Three times as many men as women have the benefits of being registered as self-employed in the country, and while there are women entrepreneurs in Nigeria, the majority of them are forced to operate in the informal sector. This collaboration would offer opportunities for women to set up registered businesses in a growing sector.

There is a commercial opportunity as well. With only 30% of Nigeria’s population (84.7 million) using banking services and with more than 159 million mobile phone subscriptions, there is great potential for agent banking and other models which enable remote access to financial services in the country. This is as yet an untapped market representing a multi-million dollar industry.

This partnership is a significant step forward towards financial inclusion for women in Nigeria. Economically empowering women by giving them access to the same financial services as men,  is not only a smart way to raise the status of women and their quality of life but also brings benefits to the families and communities of the women who succeed. My foundation is looking forward to developing this project further and driving financial inclusion for women in Nigeria.

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Posted by: Cherie Blair, Founder, Cherie Blair Foundation for Women on October 28, 2013 at 10:57 pm

Sep 17, 2013

Visa Security Summit 2013: Crowd-Sourcing a New Solution to Consumer Education

Did you know that consumers spend more than two hours a day in mobile apps? That’s nearly as much time as people spend watching television. Mobile devices are transforming how consumers learn and engage. When it comes to security, an engaged consumer is a more protected consumer. There are countless studies that have shown consumers who check their accounts online or take steps to monitor their credit report are less likely to be victimized by fraud and identity theft.

As consumer adoption of new technologies evolves, we are evolving our strategies and practices to ensure we’re reaching consumers in relevant ways. And that includes our efforts to educate consumers about payment security.

In April, Visa became a first-time sponsor of TechCrunch Disrupt NY, one of the nation’s top hackathon contests, which attracts more than 700 developers from around the world.  Developers were given 24 hours to create an app that would help consumers learn payment security basics. The event generated a number of creative ideas and lots of interest from developers.

Now Visa is showcasing this fresh thinking at our flagship security event, the Visa Global Security Summit. Two standout teams from Disrupt will showcase their ideas on stage at this year’s event. Attendees will then vote on which app will win the $5,000 Developers Challenge Award. You can preview information on both teams here.

With consumers being inundated with more information today than ever before, it is critical that we continue to find new and innovative ways to reach them with important security information. We’re excited to be tapping into the talent of the independent developer community to help expand our thinking on how to reach consumers via mobile.

We’re looking forward to seeing the demos showcased on October 2…and may the best team win!

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Posted by: Jennifer Fischer, Head of Americas Payment System Security on September 17, 2013 at 11:16 am

Jul 23, 2013

Talking Mobile Wallets at Fortune Brainstorm TECH #fortunetech

Fortune Brainstorm TECH brings together the tech world’s top media thinkers, entrepreneurs, and influencers. The issues being debated this year range from the role of technology in the global economy to the impact of mobile devices on society.

 

One important topic covered in detail today was mobile wallet technology and what the future holds for this rapidly evolving sector of the electronics payments industry. Participants included Jim McCarthy, Global Head of Innovation and Strategic Partnerships from Visa, top executives from Bank of America, Stripe, American Express and Cardspring with moderation by Fortune’s Miguel Helft.

 

Miguel kicked off by asking the group why despite all the hype, there wasn’t more widespread adoption of mobile payments. Among other reasons, Jim noted that replacing POS terminals was a huge cost for merchants without big upside – one reason why Visa is focused on helping eCommerce merchants to drive greater acceptance for V.me, Visa’s digital wallet service. He also discussed how there will be no “winner takes all” in mobile payments which is why Visa adopted an open approach, allowing consumers to load their wallets with the payments cards they are already carrying.

 

Bank of America’s Aditya Bhasin noted that he already has a mobile payment device, holding up his Bank of America Visa card. Cardspring’s CEO, Eckhardt Walther opined that the mobile opportunity is to add greater context around the payment, whether it’s real-time discounting associated with that card or allowing the merchant to have a closer relationship with their customer.

 

All in all, the panelists presented multiple viewpoints but were in agreement that mobile payments is indeed still in its infancy and that consumers will decide how and when they want to use mobile devices as payment tools.

 

We’re following the rest of #fortunetech highlights and mobile wallet developments @VisaNews. See you there.

 

By Ryan Donovan (@rdono)

Visa

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Posted by: Ryan Donovan, Corporate Relations on July 23, 2013 at 12:11 pm

Category: Innovation, Mobile

Jul 22, 2013

Expanding Access to Electronic Payments in India

It is well-known now that mobile technology has changed the face of electronic payments in emerging markets. For the past decade, mobile phones have been instrumental in providing unbanked and under-banked consumers with secure, reliable and convenient ways to pay and be paid. Although a lot of progress has been made, here in India, more than 40 percent of the urban population is still unbanked and nearly 90 percent of commerce is still cash-based.

Visa and its clients in India are making great strides to change this reality. Recent stats from the Reserve Bank of India prove that progress: there are now 350 million payment cards activated in the country, many of these in rural areas, and penetration of electronic payments is rising. Through our joint venture with Monitise – Movida – we are enabling financial institutions in India to offer consumers to make payments via mobile phone. In fact, earlier today, Movida announced a new agreement with ICICI Bank to offer mobile payments to its customers in India. Everyday transactions like buying tickets, paying a bill or recharging a wireless account can now be made with any mobile phone, not just smartphones.

Because the service is designed to operate across all mobile networks using any payment card – both Visa and non-Visa – we expect that Indian consumers will be able to wave goodbye to long queues while visiting the post office or paying their bills at automated tellers. These transactions, along with insurance premium and other recurring payments, are now available securely and conveniently to clients of ICICI Bank directly via their mobile phones.

As India continues to expand and upgrade its telecommunications infrastructure to rural areas, more Indian consumers will have access to secure and reliable electronic payments and financial services via a mobile phone– a critical step in the migration from cash to more convenient, secure forms of payment.   

In the long run, electronic payments will help to drive financial inclusion and fuel economic development and growth in our country. It is an exciting time and at Visa, we are proud to play a role in the transformation of India.

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Posted by: Uttam Nayak, Group Country Manager, Visa Inc. on July 22, 2013 at 4:24 pm

Jul 18, 2013

Innovation in Development Disbursements: Visa Innovation Grant Recipients Announced

 

Today we’re proud to recognize the recipients of the Visa Innovation Grants Program. In partnership with NetHope, a consortium of more than 40 humanitarian organizations, and an Expert Advisory Committee of distinguished public and private sector leaders, five leading development organizations were selected to receive funding for projects that will modernize the distribution of agriculture, health and emergency relief payments to those living below the poverty line.

The Visa Innovation Grants Program is one component of Visa’s ongoing dedication to advancing financial inclusion around the world.  Every year, billions of dollars in cash payments are distributed to people in need through emergency relief efforts, benefit stipends, conditional cash transfers, microfinance programs, and other development initiatives.  Digitizing these payments through mobile phones or other electronic methods not only improves the distribution of aid, but can also help recipients gain access to broader financial services, including savings and electronic payments tools.

The group of five grantee organizations includes: Agribusiness Systems International (ASI), Freedom from Hunger, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Mercy Corps, and Pathfinder International.

Each organization has been awarded $100,000 to support innovation in and adoption of electronic payments. The projects are focused on a wide variety of sectors, yet all are seeking better ways to distribute aid to the people who need it most.

Here is an introduction to the projects selected for funding, which we will cover in depth in future posts:

  • Agribusiness Systems International (ASI)

ASI will use the Visa Innovation Grant to bring formal financial services to rice farmers in Ghana. The program will extend branchless banking in rural areas by integrating mobile finance into the rice value chain. Mobile finance will reduce the risk of theft, connect farmers and other actors with financial services, and ensure timely payments to farmers. Founded in 1993 as an affiliate of ACDI/VOCA, ASI is a nonprofit consulting organization that helps smallholder farmers become competitive in the agribusiness sector.

  • Freedom from Hunger

Freedom from Hunger will use the Visa Innovation Grant to improve access to health services in rural Ecuador by integrating electronic payments for health services through local microfinance institutions that provide health savings and credit accounts. The program combines payment services with improved access to health services and education. Freedom from Hunger has more than six decades of experience fighting global poverty and hunger, as well as developing and testing flexible and sustainable approaches that provide group-based financial services, education and access to additional products and services to poor women and youth.

  • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)

IFRC, along with its partner American Red Cross, will use the Visa Innovation Grant to design and test a rapidly implementable and scalable electronic cash transfer system(s) with Red Cross National Societies in Latin America and the Caribbean. Electronic payments improve security and transparency of aid payments, enable families to begin their recovery in the shortest time possible and create a pathway to more formal financial services. The IFRC is the world’s largest humanitarian network, acting before, during and after disasters and crises to meet the needs and improve the lives of vulnerable people.

  • Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps will use the Visa Innovation Grant to provide smallholder farmers in Indonesia with access to mobile money, improving their productivity and increasing incomes. The program’s scalable and replicable model connects banks, mobile network operators and a full range of stakeholders in the agricultural value chain, while also helping farmers gain the knowledge and tools they need for success. Mercy Corps is an international development organization that helps people around the world survive and thrive after conflict, crisis and natural disaster.

  • Pathfinder International

Pathfinder International will use the Visa Innovation Grant to introduce a mobile money-based payroll system for its community health workers in Kenya. The pay-for-performance incentive model will be combined with access to real-time field data, improving transparency and the quality of services delivered. Pathfinder International is a nonprofit organization with a focus on access to contraception; maternal and newborn health; and HIV and AIDS services. The organization has implemented projects in more than 100 countries worldwide, and is recognized for its innovative and responsive approaches to meeting health needs at the community level.

There were many impressive ideas submitted by all applicants, and we believe these projects have particular promise for scaling electronic payments across diverse sectors. We look forward to supporting these projects and seeing how each will spur new ideas and models for the future of aid and development payments around the globe.

[Photo above: Elizabeth Mueni (right), a community health worker in Kenya trained by Pathfinder International, uses a mobile phone to collect data and track the health needs of her clients. Photo by Sala Lewis.]

 Check back for more updates about the Visa Innovation Grants Program and the group of recipients highlighted above.

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Posted by: Douglas Sabo, Visa Corporate Responsibility on July 18, 2013 at 6:13 am

Jun 17, 2013

Enabling the Future of Payments Through VisaNet

Technology continues to transform payments and it is changing the way consumers all over the world shop, pay and get paid. The advent of the Internet, mobile phones and social networks has started an unprecedented expansion of the payments ecosystem and ignited a series of innovations. From eCommerce and cross-border remittances, to mobile wallets and acceptance devices, consumers never before had so many options on how and where to transact.

As the consumer shopping experience evolves, so does the backbone technology that enables transactions from all over the world to be authorized in less than a second and settled to the penny every time. VisaNet, our global payments network, is an integral part of this backbone. It connects more than two billion debit, credit and prepaid accounts to nearly 15,000 financial institutions and 36 million merchant locations in more than 200 countries around the world. In its data centers, more than 82 billion transactions in 175 currencies are processed yearly, representing US$6.5 trillion in total volume.   

For more than 50 years Visa’s network has played a key role in reducing cash spend across the globe. When we started as a pilot in Fresno, California, in 1957, we could not imagine that electronic payments would turn into one of the best success stories of the 20th century. Today, it is hard to imagine a world without them. From a cup of coffee to a refrigerator, we pay for nearly everything with payment cards. They stimulate economic growth, reduce inefficiencies and benefit consumers, businesses and governments around the globe.

To stay one step ahead of the global adoption of electronic payments, we’ve continuously expanded and enhanced VisaNet. We have built and acquired secure payment gateways, such as Cybersource and Fundamo that enable merchants, financial institutions and mobile network operators to more easily connect to Visa and offer consumers innovative new ways to pay. From mobile offers and transaction alerts delivered via SMS text message, to mobile payments on the go and at physical retailers, the pace of innovation in the payments industry is exciting. However, we have an obligation to innovate responsibly, and ensure that the core attributes of security, reliability and trust in Visa payments applies to new forms of payments. Our goal is simple: Continue to be the best way to pay, for everyone, everywhere.

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Posted by: Matt Quinlan, Chief Technology Officer, Visa Inc. on June 17, 2013 at 1:51 pm

Jun 10, 2013

Accelerating the migration to electronic payments through mobile acceptance solutions

The way we pay has evolved dramatically over the last 50 years. The “electronification” of commerce has helped to stimulate economic growth, reducing inefficiencies and providing consumers convenient and secure access to their funds. Mobile technology, in particular the introduction of low cost mobile “card readers” is helping to drive the migration from cash and checks to electronic forms of payments.

From emerging markets, where traditional acceptance infrastructure simply does not exist, to farmers markets and coffee shops in developed countries, mobile point-of-sale acceptance is helping to displace cash payments and enabling merchants of all sizes – even the smallest ones – to accept card payments. It is an inventive solution from both the technology and business model points of view, which leverages the broad penetration of mobile phones to add acceptance to those segments of merchants where cash used to be the only available option.

At Visa, we see great potential to accelerate the migration to electronic payments through mPOS solutions. By helping to promote the use of these services in the Visa system, we believe they will have a greater uptake and benefit more consumers and merchants worldwide. But we want to do that in a responsible way, so to ensure that innovative payments like mPOS technology provides the same security, reliability and scale as traditional payment terminals.

This is why earlier this year we launched the Visa Ready Program, a streamlined process for the testing and approval of new payment solutions that enables our business partners to more rapidly deploy products for use with Visa payments. Last week, we’ve announced five new leading mobile acceptance providers to join the program: AnywhereCommerce, iZettle, Miura Systems, SumUp and Swiff. Two of them, AnywhereCommerce and Miura System, already have mPOS devices that are approved to accept Visa payments.

There are over two billion Visa cards around the world today and with every new mPOS device that is put out there lays an opportunity to displace paper-based payments. In the United States alone, mPOS can help to migrate more than $1.1 trillion yearly from paper to electronic payments[1]. This is a tremendous opportunity for solutions providers, financial institutions and merchants. Visa is ready to help our clients and partners seize this great momentum, while at the same time giving consumers the peace of mind they need to transact in the mobile channel.

For detailed information on last week’s announcement, click here.

 


[1] Javelin Strategy & Research, Mobile POS (Point of Sale) Business and Market Impact 2013: Emerging Technologies Expand Reach with Lower Cost, Disruptive Services, April 2013, www.javelinstrategy.com

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Posted by: Matt Dill, Global Head of Business Development on June 10, 2013 at 11:56 am

Jun 5, 2013

Postcards from East Asia World Economic Forum: Financial Inclusion in Myanmar

Our participation in the East Asia World Economic Forum (here in the Myanmar capital, Nay Pyi Taw) kicked off with a lunchtime discussion on how to advance financial inclusion in the region. Interesting table discussions featured a healthy mix of senior representatives from governments, private sector and NGOs and offered great opportunity for Visa to talk about our ideas and product solutions, especially mobile.

Inevitably much of the discussion centered on Myanmar itself, where the government is facing multiple infrastructure and regulatory challenges at the same time. With a huge unbanked sector and a very low penetration of mobile (around 4%) it’s going to take a long time for mobile banking to be a viable solution and so all parties are going to have to focus on alternative near term solutions.

Nonetheless, the government seems really committed to learning how to make progress. The minister of finance, who was an active table discussion participant, proved to be incredibly thoughtful in his approach which is consistent with how we have found working with the government to this point.

No doubt, huge amount of work to be done but, as in Rwanda, having a government and banking sector which is set on making progress despite the challenges is half the battle. Combine this with Visa’s early success in hooking up ATMs and signing up more than 350 merchants over the last six months and it seems clear that Myanmar is set to be another electronic payments success story.

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Posted by: Stephen Kehoe, Head of Corporate Relations, APCEMEA on June 5, 2013 at 9:25 am

Apr 17, 2013

Split Bread Gets Rid of Cash and Ahead of the Curve

 

“Cash is dirty in a food environment,” says David Silverglide, co-founder of the hip San Francisco sandwich shop, Split Bread.

Split Bread offers it consumers multiple ways to pay, none of which include cash.  Customers can scan a QR code at their table and have their sandwiches delivered directly to them, use a card at a payment kiosk, or order online.

Only accepting electronic payments allows Split Bread to operate more cost effectively by not having to count and reconcile cash and customers can move in and out at a much quicker pace.

Smarter, faster, and in this case delicious.

To learn more about Split Bread and other restaurants embracing electronic payments, please visit Currency of Progress.

Related post: Visa Blog: Will 2013 Be the Year of Cashless Restaurants?

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Posted by: Lucas Mast, Visa Corporate Relations on April 17, 2013 at 11:25 am