Visa’s Blog – Visa Viewpoints


Mar 29, 2012

Visa Travel Snapshot: Visa Account Holders Globetrotting ‘Round 2011

From the United States to Brazil, China and beyond,  Visa account holders have been working hard and playing harder, spending more than $235 billion on travel related purchases in 2011—a 14 percent increase from 2010.

Exploring the ends of the earth and back, Visa account holders are setting out in search of new adventures likely leading to an increase in international travel-related purchases and increased momentum toward pre-recession spending levels.


Posted by: Sarah Toffoli, Visa Corporate Relations on March 29, 2012 at 5:00 am

Mar 27, 2012

Moving Closer to a Cashless Society

At Visa we often talk about the many benefits merchants get by accepting digital currency and shifting their businesses away from cash. In fact, it’s not just Visa. The migration away from cash has generated a lot of discussion on the Internet during the past few days.

In a blog on the Huffington Post, author David Wolman observes that the U.S. is well on its way to this kind of broad acceptance, reducing costs for merchants, consumers and society alike. In his words, cash is “inconvenience incarnate” and, with the advent of the latest technology like mobile, “cash is getting bumped further and further to the edges of our everyday lives.”

Some of that savings comes from not having to produce physical bills and coins. A piece in points out that the sheer cost of producing U.S. coins is immense and inefficient: In 2011, “for the first time in history, both the five-cent and one-cent denominations cost double their value to produce.” And, notes the Atlantic Monthly: “Cash and coins are unwieldy. They’re heavy. They’re dirty.”

If you want a glimpse of what a cashless future might be like, all you need to do is look at what’s happening in Sweden. According to a recent AP news story, Sweden has converted almost its entire economy to digital currency, from bus fares to all kinds of business. In fact, cash today represents just 3 percent of the Swedish economy.

But convenience and reducing costs are just two of the advantages of acceptance. In Sweden, it’s also credited with a significant decline in cash crime, the AP reports: The number of bank robberies plunged from 110 in 2008 to 16 in 2011, the lowest level in 30 years. Armored car robberies are down, too. When thieves know people are unlikely to carry cash, they are less likely to target them for street crimes.

This is what motivates us to extend the benefits of digital currency and fulfill our mission of being best way to pay and be paid, everywhere and for everyone. It’s why we keep expanding the number of locations where Visa is accepted and the ways consumers can use their cards. The more merchants that understand the value of accepting digital currency – access to more consumers and business channels (such as online and mobile), guaranteed payment, an enhanced customer experience – the closer we will come to that cashless society.


Posted by: Ted Carr, Visa Corporate Relations on March 27, 2012 at 9:07 am

Mar 13, 2012

No Coins Required: Card-Enabled Parking Meters Grow in Popularity Nationwide

A recent article in the Washington Post noted the installation of forty-one parking meters in Bethesda, Maryland, that now accept payment via credit and debit cards, rather than just cash.  This reflects a growing trend of card-enabled parking meters popping up all over the country, from San Francisco to Los Angeles to Washington D.C.  It also speaks to the larger migration from cash to digital currency in the U.S.  Since 2000, electronic payments (including card brands) have increased share of personal consumption expenditure from 20% to 32% (CY 2010).[1]

Smaller municipalities have jumped on the parking-meter bandwagon as well, and some with significant gusto.  Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (population 74,900), recently added 300 card-enabled meters to their existing 100, partly as a result of consumer demand as the new parking meters have been the top request of downtown shoppers, according to the manager of the Downtown Bethlehem Association.  The city has certainly taken note:  according to Bethlehem Parking Authority Executive Director Tom Hartley, “the increased meter rates have more than doubled the authority’s meter revenues…the first two months of 2012 brought in $218,474 compared with $106,670 last year.”

The new meters require a capital investment, but as shown, they can provide more revenue than traditional meters because they are equipped with sensors that detect when cars pull out of a parking spot to absorb any unused time.  For drivers, it means less hassle looking for change to feed hungry meters.   

It seems the new meters are a win-win for all parties concerned, and that’s the kind of progress we support.  Learn more about the ways Visa digital currency is innovating to make transit more efficient for governments and consumers at Currency of Progress.

[1] SEC filings and press releases for card brands and IHS Global insight for PCE


Posted by: Albert Coscia, Visa Corporate Relations on March 13, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Mar 9, 2012

Visa Leads in New Javelin Consumer Ratings of Trust and Privacy Protection

Guest blog by Mary T. Monahan, Executive Vice President and Research Director, Mobile -  Javelin Strategy & Research

The fact that top innovators, Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon, are entering the banking and payments space is a nerve-wracking proposition to many established firms in the banking world. We are entering aMary T. Monahan, Executive Vice President and Research Director, Mobile - Javelin Strategy & Research new technology cycle where vast amounts of wealth are up for grabs and new players can disrupt established brands to dominate. In Javelin Strategy and Research’s new report The Gang of Four (and Possibly Five) Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon – and PayPal: Positioning for Payments in the New Mobile-Social Technology Era we examined players in the payments sphere of the emerging mobile-social technology cycle through the lens of three key consumer perceptions that form the Javelin TIP (High Trust- High Innovation – High Privacy) model for mobile wallets.  Our recent survey in December of over 5,800 consumers found consumers rank Visa highest in two of those three categories: trust (ability to protect financial information) and privacy (ability to protect personal information) with PayPal taking second in both. Within the third key category of innovation, consumers ranked Visa sixth, closely behind PayPal and Facebook. Consumers not only placed Visa ahead of their direct competitors, MasterCard, American Express and Discover, but also in front of the largest banks and wireless carriers. However, any mobile offering that doesn’t take the primary financial relationship into account may run into trouble: for its own customers, each bank shoots to the top of the ratings for trust and privacy, and in certain cases, even innovation! But the data also showed that no competitor reached the gold zone of high trust, high innovation and high privacy protection by itself. Visa’s leading edge in financial trust and personal information privacy may translate into an advantage in consumer willingness to adopt its mobile offerings, but alliances between innovators and competitors can shift the landscape overnight.


Posted by: Mary Monahan, Executive Vice President and Research Director, Mobile - Javelin Strategy & Research on March 9, 2012 at 10:54 am

Mar 7, 2012

Empowering Women through Financial Inclusion

As the world celebrates International Women’s Day, it is critical that Financial Inclusion be on the global agenda, for enabling women to access tools for financial success – such as a way to pay, store and manage their finances via mobile phone – often is a critical first step to overall empowerment.

Today, approximately 2.5 billion adults lack access to formal financial services, and the majority are women. Being financially underserved means not having a safe, convenient and affordable way to conduct their daily financial lives, such as paying school fees, receiving a government disbursement or sending money to a family member in a rural village. Lack of access to formal financial services also limits a family’s ability to prepare for financial shocks, resulting in tough choices—paying for a daughter’s school fees or putting food on the table—that perpetuate the cycle of poverty.                                  

  Photo credit: Jeffrey Ashe/Oxfam America


Posted by: Douglas Sabo, Visa Corporate Responsibility on March 7, 2012 at 4:10 pm

Mar 6, 2012

Visa Kicks Off New @VisaSecurity Twitter Feed With Tips on How to Catch a “Phish”

Security is a top priority for us. While we spend a lot of time and resources to make sure your transactions are secure, consumers also have an important role to play in preventing and detecting fraud. That’s why in support of National Consumer Protection Week, we’re launching our @VisaSecurity Twitter feed. The feed will be a one-stop resource for consumers on the latest payment security news, including information on scams and prevention advice.


Posted by: Sofia Mata-Leclerc, Visa Corporate Relations on March 6, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Mar 6, 2012

Teaching kids with comic books

One of the perennial challenges for those of who work in the world of financial literacy is to cut through the din of modern life to help people focus on learning more about managing their money wisely. It doesn’t help that the subject of personal finance can be, admittedly, deadly dull at times.

An added burden is that many parents feel uncomfortable with the subject and so avoid talking with their kids about money because they either feel like they don’t know enough about it themselves or because they are afraid their children will share family secrets all over the school playground.


Posted by: Jason Alderman, Visa Corporate Relations on March 6, 2012 at 8:28 am

Mar 5, 2012

U.S. Department of Commerce White Paper Furthers Privacy Debate

A little over a year ago, the U.S. Department of Commerce issued a preliminary report on privacy.  That “green paper” has now ripened into a framework of specific recommendations aimed at protecting the privacy and use of consumer data while promoting global commerce innovations.

Last week, I joined the group at the White House for the release of the Framework and White Paper for protecting privacy and promoting innovation in the global digital economy.


Posted by: Russell Schrader, Visa Chief Privacy Officer on March 5, 2012 at 2:10 pm

Mar 2, 2012

Our Week in Spain: Mobile World Congress

This week Mobile World Congress in Barcelona housed 1,500 exhibitors and more than 67,000 attendees from over 205 countries around the world.

Our discussions focused on transforming the way people pay and get paid—the role financial institutions, mobile network operators, device manufacturers and merchants will play in making mobile money a reality for consumers around the world.

In addition to our keynote address and panel participation, Visa announced several key partnerships:

A global alliance with Vodafone

  • Visa Inc., Visa Europe and Vodafone formed a brand alliance to bring Visa mobile payments to Vodafone mobile subscribers in key markets around the world. Visa will become the preferred payments brand offered to Vodafone mobile subscribers (in markets where Vodafone owns and operates the mobile network).

A strategic alliance with Intel 

  • Joined Intel CEO Paul S. Otellini on stage during Intel’s press conference 
  • Visa certified Intel’s new smartphone for use with Visa payWave. New Intel-designed mobile devices will host the Visa payWave payment application on a secure SIM card and also feature Near Field Communications (NFC) technology.


Paul Otellini and John Partridge, Courtesy of Mashable


A new service developed in collaboration with Oberthur Technologies

  • “Over the Air” provisioning of mobile payment accounts
  • Financial institutions and mobile network operators will now have the ability to provision and activate mobile payment accounts on smartphones enabled with NFC technology.

Orange Offers Visa Mobile Prepaid to Orange Money Customers

  • Beginning this summer, Orange subscribers will have the extended the functionality of using the Orange Money Service (a closed-loop payment service operating in 7 countries across Africa) to have a Visa Mobile Prepaid account connected to their mobile phone.

President John Partridge’s keynote presentation, “Financial Services in a Mobile World”  discussed Visa’s vision for next generation payments and its ability to improve lives of banked and unbanked consumers.

Global Head of Mobile Product Bill Gajda represented Visa on a panel “Mobile Money: Delivering Innovative Mobile Payment Services,” a discussion with other key payment players striving to make mobile payments a reality.

Collaborating with some of the world’s most innovative companies and individuals reaffirmed what we already know: that technology can transform and improve every aspect of our lives.


Posted by: Ryan Donovan, Corporate Relations on March 2, 2012 at 9:33 am

Mar 1, 2012

Fortune ranks Visa No. 1 in industry on Most Admired list

We’re proud to share the news that, today, Visa was recognized as No. 1 in its industry category of “Consumer Credit Card and Related Services” on Fortune’s prestigious Most Admired Companies ranking. 

Especially exciting is our No. 1 industry ranking in Innovation and Global Competitiveness. We’re working hard to lead in responsible payments innovation by delivering new products and services while keeping trust at the core of everything we do.  To that end, this week we announced a variety of mobile payments partnerships at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. We continue to advance in this space by building on our vast experience and strong and capable network to bring value and convenience to you, our customers and our partners globally.  You can keep track of our progress on this blog, or learn more about how we’re delivering the benefits of electronic payments worldwide in our new Perspectives on Progress series.

Check out more details on the list and methodology behind the ranking on Fortune’s website here.


Posted by: Doug Michelman, Global Head, Corporate Relations, Visa Inc. on March 1, 2012 at 7:47 pm