Visa’s Blog – Visa Viewpoints


Aug 22, 2012

Financial Inclusion in Complexo do Alemão


I am very happy to announce an unprecedented partnership between Visa and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to promote financial inclusion for the residents of Complexo do Alemão, a cluster of favelas with a population of nearly 90,000 people.    

Why have we entered into this partnership and what is it all about?

At Visa, we believe that everyone has the right to basic financial and payment services. Our partnership establishes the development of local solutions to allow the community to have access to the formal financial system and its benefits, as well as providing information and education needed for sustainable inclusion.

Below is an overview of the activities planned under this partnership:

Financial Literacy – Implementation of classes in financial literacy, a topic that Visa promotes around the world. A customized course for this project, prepared by Visa and IDB, will offer classes to 13 to 17 year olds as well as adults.  Community teachers will also be trained by both institutions.  

Financial Consultancy – Free financial consultancy services provided at a dedicated site, directed specifically at the needs of local individuals and businesses. A financial consultant from the community trained by Visa and the IDB will provide all the necessary information on how residents can legally register a company or open their own business in Complexo do Alemão, as well as helping community members to open bank accounts, understand the financial system or enroll in government social welfare programs.   

Facilitating Access to Financial Inclusion – Studies commissioned by Visa and IDB to map habits, usage and penetration of the financial system in Complexo do Alemão.

Based on this data, Visa, in partnership with Bradesco, one of its financial institution partners, will study and assess opportunities for effectively meeting the needs of this population, seeking financial tools that make citizens’ daily lives easier, allowing them to make payments and receive payments in a much more secure and innovative way.

Most of the activities will be held at the Espaço Comunitário Carlos Castilho facilities in Complexo do Alemão and will be a part of the development project implemented by the municipal government of Rio de Janeiro through its Sports and Leisure Secretariat. The IDB provides financial support for the project through partnerships like this, with Visa.

With this project, Visa is helping the community in Complexo do Alemão take a few steps forward in building their own future.


Posted by: Ruben Osta, Country Manager, Brazil on August 22, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Aug 22, 2012

Visa Travel Snapshot: Is 2012 the year of the traveler?

According to VisaVue® Travel data from the first half of 2012, U.S. and international travelers are hitting the road and discovering new destinations.


U.S. Visa Account Holders Contributed $17B to the International Tourism Economy

From January to June of 2012, U.S. travelers increased travel spend on their Visa accounts by seven percent — from $15.9 billion in 2011 to $17 billion in 2012. Top destinations included Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom, France and Italy.

To keep up with the adventurous spirit of our account holders, from January – June, Visa added 126 international hotels to the Visa Signature Luxury Hotel Collection. 


U.S. Welcomes 9% Boost from Tourism Revenue

Similarly during the first half of 2012, international travelers increased travel spend on their Visa accounts by nine percent in the U.S. — from $18.4 billion in 2011 to $20.1 billion in 2012.

Travelers from Canada, Brazil and the UK made the biggest impact on the U.S. tourism economy during this time period. Overall, coastal states reaped the largest spend increases from international guests.

  • Florida +13%
  • California +9%
  • New York +8%

If the first half of 2012 is any indication of the rest of the year, there are good things to come for the global travel economy.

Packing your bags this summer? Make sure to check out these travel tips from Visa #VisaKnowsTravel.

For more information about VisaVue Travel data visit:


Posted by: Lucas Mast, Visa Corporate Relations on August 22, 2012 at 8:37 am

Aug 17, 2012

Michael Phelps Discusses Social Media, His Career & Winning Gold

1.32 million followers on Twitter. 6.37 million likes on Facebook. To paraphrase a famous slogan from the 1990′s, “Michael Knows Social Media”.  With the London 2012 Olympic Games hailed as the most social Olympic Games to date, it stands to reason that the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time would also win gold in social media.

Those who follow Michael Phelps on social media know he genuinely appreciates the cheers and support of his fans.  Following his final Olympic swimming competition that earned him 22 medals, Visa sat down with Phelps to talk about the important role social media played in motivating him and  connecting him with fans during his Olympic journey.

Watch additional segments of our exclusive interview with Michael where he reflects on his careerlessons he’s learned and what it felt like to win his first gold medal in 2004.



Posted by: Lucas Mast, Visa Corporate Relations on August 17, 2012 at 12:58 am

Category: Uncategorized

Aug 16, 2012

Visa Competes for a Voice at SXSW: Vote Now!

While South by Southwest (SXSW), the annual convention in Austin that brings together the best in music, independent film and emerging technologies, isn’t for several months, we have a favor to ask.

SXSW is the premier destination for the “who’s who” of technology and innovation, and payments is a hot topic. Visa submitted three compelling future of payments-related panels for SXSW’s Interactive Festival that will discuss how technology is going to impact the way you pay and get paid in the next coming years and we need your help to get us in!

Each year the SXSW community – which includes you – is invited to vote on the agenda. Your vote dictates thirty percent of the overall selection criteria, so make your vote count and choose Visa.

Voting closes on August 31st, so we only have two weeks left. Here is what you need to do:

  • Register: To vote, you have to register. All that’s required is your name and an email address. Fill out the form, hit submit, and an email verification will be sent to you. Even if you registered last year, you need to re-register this year.
  • Socialize your Vote:  Want your vote to go the extra mile? Include comments. The quality of feedback is also weighed in the voting process, so make sure you log in via your favorite social network and share what you think. We want your feedback to help shape the panels.

See Visa panels and click to vote once registered!

Shirt? Skirt? Latte? How We’ll Pay in 2020 

We’ve seen our payment systems continuously evolve over the last century. Today, we’re about to embark on another major milestone in the payment industry – and an entirely new group of stakeholders has been shaking up the conversation: digital wallet service providers. During this panel, we’ll bring together various financial “disruptors” as well as traditional payment leaders, who’ll discuss and provide insight on how payments have evolved and what they will look like in the next decade. The panel will go in depth about new technologies that are revolutionizing our payment systems and how and when consumers and merchants will fully adapt them in their everyday lives.

Click here to vote for ‘Shirt? Skirt? How We’ll Pay in 2020′


From Mom and Pop to Y-Not Shops

The GenY crowd is said to be the most entrepreneurial in history. Technology is now the great enabler for all businesses, but Generation Y entrepreneurs have an added advantage: a lifetime of exposure to interactive digital devices has given them an enviable comfort level with new technology and the ability to intuitively navigate and exploit the Internet.  During this panel, we’ll bring together young, emerging entrepreneurs with well-known small business advocates to explain why mom-and-pop shops are no longer that. It is the young entrepreneur who is setting up shops these days, whether it is a food truck, the latest app, or a time-saving technology.

Click here to vote for ‘From Mom and Pop to Y-Not Shops


Mobile Money – Trust, Probability and the Future of Payments

Technology companies, financial institutions, payment networks and mobile network operators are working to transform the lives of consumers and are counting mobile technology to offer new financial services and electronic payments that promise to impact our lives.  As the industry claims that consumers will have choices like never before, what does the definitive future actually entail? How are consumers going to start? This panel will answer everything you want and need to know about mobile payments: Where the technology currently stands, what options will come to fruition and what will need to happen to get us there.

Click here to vote for ‘Mobile Money – Tryst, Probability and the Future of Payments


Posted by: Lucas Mast, Visa Corporate Relations on August 16, 2012 at 6:51 pm

Aug 14, 2012

Financial Literacy: Real Educators, Real Feedback

Financial literacy is a topic a great importance to those of us who work at Visa. We take great pride in the resources that we have created for educators, parents and students to address important financial questions and topics as people reach various milestones in their lives through our “Practical Money Skills for Life” program. Whether it is creating lesson plans for elementary school teachers or developing “Financial Football” to use sports to promote financial literacy, we are constantly thinking about ways to innovate around the topic.

And while Visa has strong voice to contribute to the conversation, we partner closely with educators on our advisory council to continually update our curriculum and offerings to make sure that the message we are helping to communicate resonates with students.

See what Chauncey Veatch, Advisory Council member and National Teacher of the Year from Coachella Valley (California) has to say about the importance of educating students about financial literacy:


Posted by: Jason Alderman, Visa Corporate Relations on August 14, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Aug 14, 2012

CNN’s “Marketplace Africa” Talks Mobile Technology With Visa’s Elizabeth Buse

Elizabeth Buse, Visa’s Group President, APCEMEA, recently sat down with CNN’s “Marketplace Africa” to discuss the importance of mobile technology in reaching the unbanked.

In the segment, Buse also explains Visa’s distinguishing characteristics in comparison to other mobile money programs and the role that financial education plays in enabling people to take full advantage of having access to financial services.

Watch the segment here:


Posted by: Lucas Mast, Visa Corporate Relations on August 14, 2012 at 9:12 am

Aug 13, 2012

Postcards from London: U.S. Chip Cards Excel In Trials Around the City

Just in time to travel to the London 2012 Olympic Games, my new Visa EMV chip corporate credit card arrived in the mail.  This type of card was new to me,  so I put it to the test in London, where this technology is more commonplace.  One place I tested it out was Upper Playground, a cool store in London’s Soho neighborhood that features the work of local artists.



Making purchases was quick and simple. The main difference was that instead of swiping my card, I inserted it in the terminal.  Then I simply signed for my purchase, just as I normally would in the U.S.

Other American travelers at the Olympics this year are likely to have been carrying their new chip cards with them, too.  That’s because last year, Visa announced plans to accelerate the migration to chip technology in the U.S.  Since that time, U.S. financial institutions have reported issuing an estimated 1.5 million chip cards as of June 30, 2012, and we are continuing to see positive momentum as the industry moves toward more broad-based adoption of this technology.

Why is chip coming to the U.S. now?  EMV contact and contactless technology will help lay the foundation for NFC-based mobile payments, which we expect to take-off in the coming years.  Chip also provides an added layer of security to transactions and enhanced acceptance for Americans traveling abroad.

Being at the center of innovation is nothing new for Visa.  Bringing chip to the U.S. is another way that we are paving the way forward.


Posted by: Lucas Mast, Visa Corporate Relations on August 13, 2012 at 11:45 am

Aug 12, 2012

Postcards From London: Team Visa Thanks You, The Fans

As the London 2012 Olympic Games draw to a close, we wanted to thank you for supporting the Team Visa athletes.  Over the next few days, we will continue to reflect on additional memories from London.

Your cheers helped Team Visa’s athletes  keep their drive and determination alive during their training and competition at London 2012.  But don’t take our word for it–hear directly from the athletes themselves what your cheers meant to them!

Thank you from Michael Phelps, winner of 6 medals at the London 2012 Olympic Games:

And more personal “thank yous” to fans  for the cheers from more Team Visa athletes:

Gold medal winning United States volleyball duo Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings

Australian gymnast Lauren Mitchell

Canadian bronze medal winning swimmer Brent Hayden

Canadian bronze medal winning diver Emilie Heymans

Russian bronze medal winning pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva


Posted by: Lucas Mast, Visa Corporate Relations on August 12, 2012 at 6:19 pm

Aug 10, 2012

Postcards From London: The Story Behind Visa’s Real Time Congratulatory Ads

As a sponsor of the London 2012 Olympic Games and a company that has been involved with the Olympic movement for over 26 years, Visa is a passionate supporter of the athletes that compete.  To show out support of Team Visa, we have produced videos that introduced you to athletes like Chinese tennis player Li Na and even videos of athletes thanking you for your amazing cheers!

But during the Olympics, some of our most popular videos have been those Visa created in  real time to congratulate the athletes for their successes at the Olympic Games.  When Canadian diver Emilie Heymans competed and medaled in her first Olympics, we produced a video entitled “Congratulations Emilie” that ran on Canadian television within a matter of hours.  This was followed up by similar ads for medalists Michael Phelps and Mark Oldershaw, among others.

We sat down with Kevin Burke, CMO of Core Products at Visa, to understand the strategy and planning required to create the ads and get them broadcast on TV–all in 4-6 hours from the time a Team Visa athlete wins a medal.


Posted by: Lucas Mast, Visa Corporate Relations on August 10, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Aug 10, 2012

Postcards From London: Buying Coffee With An Olympic Icon

For fans of the Olympic Games, there will always be memories that stand out and stir emotional responses. For many Americans, one iconic memory is of Kerri Strug, performing through the pain of injury to complete a vault that helped the United States women’s gymnastics team to win a gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.



We were able to spend some time with Kerri in London, and her pride in the performance of members of the 2012 team was obvious and her passion for the Olympics was contagious. And in preparation for a long day of interviews and appearances, we took the time to buy Kerri coffee using the mobile payment application we were testing around London. And given my hectic schedule running around London during the Olympics, better make that two!


Kerri Strug Mobile Payments Demo


Posted by: Lucas Mast, Visa Corporate Relations on August 10, 2012 at 12:06 pm