Visa’s Blog – Visa Viewpoints


Oct 27, 2011

Visa Views on Privacy

Earlier this year, Visa announced a U.S. program – called “Real Time Messaging” – that uses cardholder information with their permission to send them offers and discounts directly to their cell phones.  The service is made possible because of Visa’s unique ability to use its insights and technology to integrate card use, location and proximity – an ability that is core to the underlying Visa network offering.  But it only became real because customers said “yes” to the opt-in service. There are now 14 U.S. merchants signed up for this program, because it promises to deliver real value to their businesses.

Why is this worth repeating now?  Because in an age of “big data” and privacy concerns, there is understandable concern about how payment card data is put to commercial use.  This concern was undoubtedly reinforced by a speculative Wall Street Journal article on Tuesday.

So let me share our perspective to bring some facts into the conversation.  Privacy is top of mind for consumers – and it’s top of mind for us, too.  As our CEO Joe Saunders stated in the earnings call earlier in the week, Visa is “100% committed to maintaining the highest standard of security and privacy with this [cardholder] information. And of course, account-specific information will only be used with direct consumer permission.”  It’s this commitment to safeguarding customer data that has helped us become one of the world’s most trusted brands.

It’s important to understand the Visa system is anonymous.  When processing a Visa card transaction, we only see transactions associated with a 16-digit number – we don’t have access to cardholder names or Social Security numbers.  The information we are entrusted with is needed to facilitate a cardholder’s transaction and ensure a merchant gets paid.  Additionally, that information is used in the fight against fraud.

Like any innovative company, we consider a lot of ideas for future products and take action to protect them, as evidenced by our exploratory patents.  As we evaluate turning concepts into real products, you can be assured they will meet the same privacy and security standards as those products and services you already trust and know. Trend data will contain no personal information, and transactions are aggregated.  What might this look like?  Well, our data might show that consumers in ZIP code 94404 spend more in auto repair shops than in surrounding zip codes.  And, when Visa offers a product that uses account-specific information associated with a known consumer, such information will only be used with direct consumer permission.

The Bottom Line:  Our business is based on the trust of the people who use our network.  No trust, no network.  So whatever the future holds, we will continue to work to maintain the high standard of security and privacy that we have always followed as we handle transaction data.  We have done a good job earning the trust of users to date, and we intend to keep it that way.


Posted by: Russell Schrader, Visa Chief Privacy Officer on October 27, 2011 at 2:14 pm

Oct 27, 2011

Neiman Marcus to Accept Visa at Stores Nationwide for First Time

One of the premier luxury retailers, Neiman Marcus is known for the often exotic and always exciting items in its annual Christmas Book. This year, there’s a new way to pay for all those exclusive gifts for the individual who has everything, and every other purchase at Neiman Marcus stores: Visa.

Today, Neiman Marcus announced it will begin accepting Visa credit, debit and prepaid cards for the first time at all of its 41 U.S. stores. Neiman Marcus stores will start accepting Visa on November 1, just in time for the holiday shopping season, making it easier and more rewarding to shop for loved ones, or to buy something special for yourself. The deal expands on Visa and Neiman Marcus’ existing online acceptance relationship.

We’re excited to become an integral part of the Neiman Marcus store shopping experience as consumers gain the ability to use their Visa card inside one of the most iconic retailers in the world. Neiman Marcus is highly regarded for its distinctive merchandise and superior service, and Visa is the payment method of choice for affluent consumers around the world, including Visa Signature cardholders (Visa Signature is our premium card offered by banks in the United States).

Neiman Marcus made the decision to accept Visa in its stores after listening to their customers and hearing that they wanted more flexibility in their payment choices. The luxury retailer is also making concerted efforts to insure their customers can shop with them anywhere, anytime, via any device she or he chooses to use. By accepting Visa, tens of millions of retailers around the world like Neiman Marcus benefit from access to nearly 2 billion cards and more business channels (such as online and mobile), as well as guaranteed payment, fast transactions, greater risk management and the potential for increased sales.

So whether you’re looking for his and hers dancing water fountains, or just this season’s must-have designer apparel and accessories, you can go to Neiman Marcus with your Visa card.


Posted by: Bill Dobbins, Head of Business Development, Visa Inc. on October 27, 2011 at 6:17 am

Oct 21, 2011

Visa Recruits Developers to the Online Spending Revolution

There’s a revolution happening in the way consumers exercise their buying power. Consumers today are making more purchases, more frequently –and more of it is happening online and on the go.   And they are making many of those purchases with Visa accounts.

eCommerce is the fastest growing payment channel globally, and is on track to reach nearly $1 trillion by 2013. This growth is a great opportunity for Visa, but it also represents a tremendous opportunity for developers to create the new technologies, transaction types and services to satisfy this increased demand to spend online.

We are actively recruiting developers to join our effort to produce rapid technology innovation and we are building Visa’s developer services around the community’s expectations to make it simple and easy to join.

We have closely observed and listened to the developer community and we are committed to building the developer ecosystem and tools in a way that enables developers to bring innovations to life quickly, and easily — all with the benefit of Visa’s infrastructure, market insights and history of consumer trust.

So what does that mean?

We’ve recognized the huge spike in the number of published open APIs and have committed to approaches including the use of web friendly HTTP messages, POST / GET methods and REST style architectures to ensure that we’re mirroring preferred developer practices.

Providing APIs via web services and over HTTP has show tremendous growth over the past 10 years

Data based on directory of 3,200 web APIs listed at ProgrammableWeb, May 2011

 Also, we are:

  • building the internal infrastructure required to make it easy and cost effective to expose web services at Visa, while managing security, regulatory and operational requirements;
  • seeking to dramatically reduce cost and time for partners to integrate and open distribution channels that were not possible before;
  • integrating with, but not replacing, current Visa integration methods;
  • and working to identify synergies across Visa’s strategic acquisitions of Authorize.Net, Cybersource and PlaySpan to evolve and expand our developer platform.

Developing the future of online payments is no small task and we are embracing the chance to work alongside developers to bring the vision to life.

We feel like we’ve made some strong first steps in providing a system that will empower developers to integrate payments into their services, but have also learned that working with the developer community is an ongoing conversation. If you’re interested in our effort to bring the next generation of cross channel payment solutions to life, we ask that you share ideas and ask questions by clicking the “Send Us Your Feedback” link below and/or relay this news to your interested peers.


Posted by: Jennifer Schulz, Global Head of eCommerce on October 21, 2011 at 1:16 pm

Oct 20, 2011


Smart Money’s latest issue has hit the stands and the magazine features an interview with our CEO, Joe Saunders.  There have been many changes in our industry in the past year and sometimes it is hard to keep track of all the moving parts.  The full interview with Smart Money, which can be read here, includes Joe’s perspective on the international growth opportunity, the state of the U.S. economy and how Visa plans to turn the vision of a “digital wallet” into a reality.


Posted by: Doug Michelman, Global Head, Corporate Relations, Visa Inc. on October 20, 2011 at 10:12 am

Category: Uncategorized

Oct 19, 2011

Fast Company: How Visa Protects Your Data

As one of the world’s leading transaction networks, cardholders and businesses in more than 200 countries and territories expect Visa to work everywhere, every time. 

Recently we brought Fast Company’s Michael Fitzgerald into a Visa data center, for a behind-the-scenes look at our network, VisaNet.  Today, Fitzgerald’s article, “How Visa Protects your Data” appeared online and will be featured in the November 2011 issue on newsstands tomorrow.  The article deftly illustrates how hard it is to get payments right. It highlights Visa’s commitment to maintaining the highest levels of security and reliability and how this has grown in proportion to the reach and scale of our network. From blackouts and surges to natural disasters and hackers, Visa invests heavily and consistently in making the best international network in payments even better.

As we look to the future, our core – VisaNet – is the ideal foundation for innovation and growth, particularly as we open the edge of our network to the developer community.  As the electronification of payments migrates to mobile phones, tablets and other digital devices, it is clear that there’s a lot more to facilitating global transactions than moving payments. Learn more about our efforts at


Posted by: Ryan Donovan, Corporate Relations on October 19, 2011 at 10:40 am

Oct 3, 2011

Currency of Progress Expands to Brazil

When Currency of Progress launched in the United States in 2009, we told the story of a Brazilian father – and passionate soccer fan – who could finally take his son to a match thanks to the safety and speed of ticketless entry at the stadium, powered by Visa digital currency. 

Today, Visa is launching a Currency of Progress website just for Brazil, providing Visa with a robust platform for communicating the benefits of digital currency to key local influencers. Brazil is the latest of six priority countries where we’re activating local sites, including India, Japan, Mexico, and Russia, with China planned for the end of the calendar year. We’ve also redesigned the Currency of Progress global website and developed supporting materials that tell the breadth of Visa’s story – from our impact on economies to the unique value of our global network, VisaNet.

We believe that when influential stakeholders see these stories – spanning the globe from India to Brazil to the United States – they will develop a deeper understanding of the important and positive effects Visa has on individuals, businesses and governments.

As stakeholders visit the site and learn more about Visa’s Currency of Progress, they will be able to understand the ways Visa is:

  • Supporting business by showing how Visa technology and payment products help merchants manage their cash flow, improve their bottom line and grow their business.  
  • Empowering people by giving individuals fast, convenient, reliable and secure access to their money, empowering them with the tools they need to live their lives.
  • Growing economies by facilitating the shift to electronic payments from cash and checks thereby delivering tangible benefits to economies.
  • Partnering with government to improve efficiencies and empower their citizens — from the distribution of benefits in digital currency to the procurement of vital goods and services electronically.  

Check out the latest stories at


Posted by: Ruben Osta, Country Manager, Brazil on October 3, 2011 at 12:43 pm