Visa’s Blog – Visa Viewpoints


Dec 20, 2012

Bill Gajda on the Future of Mobile Payments

The widespread adoption of Internet-enabled devices – smart phones, tablets, laptops and PCs – enable consumers to shop online, anywhere, anytime – especially this holiday season. According to IBM, 24% of consumers used a mobile device to visit a retailer’s site over Thanksgiving & Black Friday, up from 14.3% in 2011.

As we shared earlier this week , while Cyber Monday remained the busiest online shopping day of the year – representing an astounding $2.1 billion in online sales from U.S. Visa account holders – Visa’s network has seen seven days that topped more than $1 billion in online sales in the U.S. this holiday season.

In the following video, Bill Gajda, Head of Global Mobile Products for Visa, shares his view on how innovations in mobile and payment technology, including near-field communications, are changing the landscape of commerce this holiday season and into the future. 



Posted by: Jennifer Schulz, Global Head of eCommerce on December 20, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Dec 18, 2012

Perspectives on eCommerce

Earlier today, we shared a look into the growth of U.S. consumer online shopping behavior during the holiday peak season (Nov. 1st – Dec. 16th). It’s no surprise that with the advent of tablets, mobile devices, the growing number of online merchants, and the widening adoption of new payment technologies, eCommerce remains Visa’s fastest growing commerce channel – and we don’t see that changing for a long time to come.

As eCommerce grows, consumers are looking for services that are designed to make online payments simple and secure, without all the hassles of entering bill-to, ship-to, and account information.  Visa understands that, and is helping to usher in this next generation of commerce with a digital wallet service called by Visa.

In the following video, Jim McCarthy, global head of product for Visa, provides his thoughts on how eCommerce has evolved since its inception and the tools Visa is developing to improve the online shopping experience, for everyone.


Posted by: Jennifer Schulz, Global Head of eCommerce on December 18, 2012 at 11:55 am

Dec 18, 2012

2012: The Year of the Cyber Holiday Season

Today, Visa reported that merchants made more than $50 billion in online sales from U.S. Visa accountholders from November 1 to December 16, 2012, up 16% from the same period in 2011. While Cyber Monday remained the busiest online sales day of the year – representing $2.1 billion in online sales from U.S. Visa accountholders – Visa’s network has seen seven days with more than $1 billion in online sales during the 2012 holiday season, making this what Visa is declaring the first official Cyber Holiday Season.

In fact, merchants have been increasingly benefiting from eCommerce throughout the holiday season for several years, spurred in part by offering free shipping and other deals well before Thanksgiving when consumers shop online. According to IHS Global Insight, overall U.S. holiday sales growth is expected to be 3.9%, with online sales growth at 17%, indicating that merchants’ online sales continue to outpace in-store purchases and represent a growing portion of all holiday sales.

In addition to facilitating eCommerce, our partnerships allow merchants of all sizes to better serve their customers and grow their businesses during the busiest time of the year. We’ve been doing it since the advent of online shopping and, today, more merchants accept Visa for online purchases than any other payment method (Source: comScore, December 2012).

Accepting Visa online enables even the smallest merchants to reach consumers regardless of their location or time zone, and can increase merchants’ sales, efficiency and security.  Additional benefits of acceptance include guaranteed payment, simplified accounting and the ability to take advantage of Visa’s innovative products and services – such as and Visa Offers – which enable merchants to deliver a streamlined online checkout process and use SMS text messages to send tailored promotions to Visa account holders who have opted in, respectively.

Watch the video below to see Visa Chief Economist Wayne Best discuss eCommerce trends for the 2012 holiday season:



Posted by: Jennifer Schulz, Global Head of eCommerce on December 18, 2012 at 6:35 am

Dec 17, 2012

Global Financial Literacy Goals Met Early

At the recent Citi FT Financial Education Summit in Manila, Visa announced that the company was one full year ahead of schedule in achieving its goal of bringing financial literacy to 20M people in developing economies. In its ninth year, the Summit attracted 300 delegates from non-profits to NGOs to global financial institutions.  Attendees were able to compare best practices for building financial literacy programs and network with colleagues from throughout the region.

We had a chat at the conference with Hope Ewing, head of Visa’s financial literacy program in the Asia Pacific region, Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East.  When we met up with her, she re-emphasized points from her summit presentation entitled “Exploring the Challenge of Financial Education Across Emerging Economies.”  Her speech underscored the points that:

  • The health of local economies depends to a large degree on financial education.
  • Financial literacy programs and measurement tools must be customized to reflect the habits, customs and value systems of particular countries.
  • There is no single problem, which means there is no one single solution.

What are some other challenges you see in addressing Financial Education within your local market?



Posted by: Jason Alderman, Visa Corporate Relations on December 17, 2012 at 9:17 am

Dec 12, 2012

Analyst Viewpoints: Innovation in developed and developing economies

Until recently, George Peabody served as director of emerging technology at Mercator Advisory Group, a company that provides research and advisory services for the payments industry. George is about to start a new journey he is calling the ‘payments innovation roadshow’ to connect with others in the industry and to experience alternate payment methods first-hand. I caught up with George before he embarked on his trip to hear about what trends he is seeing in the mobile payments sphere and what changes he predicts will occur.

George talked to me about the payments innovations that are happening in developed and developing economies. For instance, he mentions that Square, an electronic payment service which allows users to accept card payments through their mobile phones, was created in the United States and is being used more within the Country while similar products are appearing abroad. In developing countries, he points out that innovation using mobile money services tied to mobile operators or banks is enormously impacting economies and contributing to nation building. Looking ahead, George expects to see innovation affecting the customer experience and security.

In addition to watching George’s interview or visiting his blog, you can explore Mashable’s Innovation Index to see 15 winners that have been crowned for their role in creating life-changing innovations. Take a look and let us know what you think by tweeting us at @VisaNews!



Posted by: Erika White, Visa Corporate Relations on December 12, 2012 at 10:19 am

Category: Innovation, Mobile

Dec 11, 2012

The Mashable Innovation Index 2012 Winner’s Circle

Less than four weeks and more than 22 thousand votes since the Mashable Innovation Index competition kicked off, 15 winners have been crowned for their role in creating life-changing innovations.  Last month 15 handpicked industry experts were chosen to curate 15 innovative categories and nominate five “game-changers.”  Mashable readers were then asked to vote on their favorites, and the winners are being revealed today.

Nominees selected by Sree Sreenivasan, Chief Digital Officer of Columbia University

Nominees selected by Martha Stewart, Entrepreneur

Nominees selected by Lance Ulanoff, Editor-in-Chief of Mashable

Nominees selected by Stacy London, Host of What Not to Wear and Founder, Style for Hire

Nominees selected by Adam Braun, Founder of Pencils of Promise

Nominees selected by Jess Lee, CEO and Co-Founder of Polyvore

Nominees selected by Chris Hughes, Editor-in-Chief of The New Republic

Nominees selected by Lorena Garcia, Chef

Nominees selected by Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, Co-Founder of Gilt Groupe

Nominees selected by Jon M. Chu, Filmmaker and Founder of DS2DIO

Nominees selected by Rafat Ali, Founder of Skift

  • Winner in Travel: High-Tech Airports

Nominees selected by Brett Terpstra, Podcaster and Life Hacker

Nominees selected by Coco Rocha, Model

Nominees selected by Sarah Robb O’Hagan, President, Equinox

 Nominees selected by Jon Dube, GM of CBS Fantasy Sports by Visa and Mashable recognize 2012 has been an outstanding year for innovation.  These 15 winners are setting new technology trends, creating new products, changing the way people connect and communicate, and reinventing the way consumers shop and merchants do business.

We’re inspired by the level of innovation each winner represents, and we offer our congratulations to all the winners.


Posted by: Ryan Donovan, Corporate Relations on December 11, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Dec 11, 2012

LivingSocial and are the Latest Merchants Live with by Visa

Whether you’re celebrating the holidays with family, friends, or both, early eCommerce data is showing just how generous people are through the holidays. Consumers are spending more time—and money—online as more people log-on to do their holiday shopping to avoid crowds, save money and simplify the gift buying experience. This year, Visa is making it even easier by adding two more leading online retailers to our growing roster of by Visa merchants and further eliminating the hassles of online shopping. 

Today, visitors to and can sign up for, checkout with a few simple clicks, and say goodbye to having to enter their bill-to, ship-to and account information each time they make a purchase online.  For both adventure lovers looking to book New Year’s Eve plans or discover a weekend excursion, or tech-enthusiasts looking for holiday shopping deals or the latest gadget, LivingSocial and are sure to have the perfect gift.

With just two weeks to finish holiday shopping before Christmas, it’s important to be able to buy gifts quickly. allows people to do just that, enabling checkout with just a few clicks of the mouse at any of the leading 25 eCommerce merchants using  Today’s news builds on the recent launch of, where more than 50 financial institutions participated in the announcement, bringing the addressable base of cardholders to as many as 55 million.


Posted by: Jennifer Schulz, Global Head of eCommerce on December 11, 2012 at 11:56 am

Dec 11, 2012

Empowering Women through Mobile Financial Services: Stories from the Field

Today, half the world’s adult population (2.5 billion) lacks access to basic financial services – the majority of which are women.[1] With the rapid spread of cell phones, mobile financial services offer a unique opportunity to help close this gender gap.

At Visa we’re working with banks, governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to provide the financially underserved with secure, reliable and affordable financial services at scale. To that end, Visa has partnered with GSMA’s mWomen Programme (GSMA) and Bankable Frontier Associates (BFA) to understand the wants and needs of women for mobile financial services in Indonesia, Kenya, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, and Tanzania.

Mobile technology in the hands of women can provide access to life-enhancing services, but studies have shown that there is a demonstrated gender gap in mobile phone ownership and usage. In Pakistan, for example, only 12 percent of the total population has a bank account, and those who do are primarily men. In contrast, mobile phone usage hovers around 70 percent. This research will identify how to bridge that gap – connecting women to the mobile financial services they desperately need to enter the financial mainstream.

To learn more about women’s banking experiences in Pakistan, watch this video from the field and visit Mobile Payments Today for a guest contribution from Fundamo’s Aletha Ling and GSMA’s Chris Locke.

To read more about Visa’s commitment to financial inclusion and its mission to be the best way to pay and be paid, for everyone, everywhere click here.

[1] Half the World is Unbanked, Financial Access Initiative


Posted by: Douglas Sabo, Visa Corporate Responsibility on December 11, 2012 at 8:52 am

Dec 10, 2012

#HolidaySuccess Tips for Small Business Owners: Post-Holiday Management

The New Year’s light at the end of the tunnel is near, but don’t let the last few holiday moments distract you from making the most of the holiday rush.

Our final blog series from USA Today small business columnist Rhonda Abrams, reminds small business owners what they need to do to help take advantage of the final days of the holiday season and make them last throughout the New Year.

For more information on other holiday planning advice, download the full Small Business Holiday Success Guide at

Happy Holidays!

Janet – @JZablock

Phew! We’re almost to the end of the holiday season. But that doesn’t mean you’re out of the holiday woods. You’ll still have post-holiday customers, and you certainly want to find ways to keep the customers you acquired during the holidays and turn them into year ‘round fans.

As you prepare for the post-holiday season, concentrate on four major objectives:

    1. Keeping holiday customers
    2. Redeeming gift cards
    3. Handling returns
    4. Planning post-New Year promotions

Keeping holiday customers. Every name and email address you capture, with consent, every new follower on Facebook or Twitter, is an extremely valuable lead and potential future customer for your business. After all, these folks have already sought you out—either by walking into your storefront, visiting your website, “liking” your Facebook page, or otherwise connecting with you.

Be creative about how you capture contact info. Of course you can simply ask people for their information at checkout, but you can also hold weekly drawings for gifts when people give you their business cards at your place of business or “like” you on Facebook or other social media, offer discount coupons on your eCommerce website if prospects register for your newsletter. (You do have a newsletter, don’t you?)

Just be sure to ask the customer’s permission before adding them to your mailing list – and of course, promptly honor any unsubscribe requests you receive.

Gift card redemption. One of the best things you’ll deal with after the holidays are all those customers coming to redeem gift cards, if you’ve offered them for sale during the holidays. Many of these customers may be new to you—the happy recipients of a gift card. So make sure you encourage them to sign up for your newsletter or Facebook page. Also, make certain you’re set up to give them excellent service—have enough inventory and staff to handle demand. Keep in mind, many gift card recipients spend more than the amount of the card, so be sure to merchandise your products or services well during this time.

Handling returns. If you have a physical location or are an eCommerce company, you’ll likely have some returns. Make sure you schedule extra staff for the first week or so after Christmas specifically to handle returns. And have a very clear and specific return policy in place (ideally, this should have been clear to buyers before they made a purchase). Your policies may be very strict, such as no cash refunds, only merchandise exchanges, and only items unopened in original boxes, but such policies discourage future purchases. You can certainly have more lenient policies if returns are rare. Whatever your policy, make sure your employees understand its terms. And emphasize to your staff the importance of accepting returns gracefully. Few things are more off-putting than a store that handles returns impolitely. Remember, your goal is to create lifelong customers!

Post-New Year promotions. Last but not least, as the holidays wind down, start thinking of creative ways to keep people coming in, even during the typical doldrums of late January and February. Tactics include:

  • Beginning-of-the-year sale
  • Two-for-one specials for slow periods
  • Multiple purchase packs of your goods or services
  • Loyalty programs
  • Free trials

If you’re diligent about capturing contact information (paying close attention to getting your customer’s consent first) throughout the holidays—and afterward—you could have a large audience for your 2013 marketing campaigns.

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.


Posted by: Janet Zablock, Head of Global Small Business, Visa Inc. on December 10, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Dec 7, 2012

ANALYST VIEWPOINTS: What innovation questions do you have for George Peabody?

On November 29 we sat down with Patricia McGinnis, an analyst with Mercator Advisory Group who has observed industry trends for over the last 15 years.

Today, I’m sitting down with George Peabody, former director of emerging technology at Mercator Advisory Group. George is especially knowledgeable on payments security and innovation, and in early 2011 predicted “more and more people leaving their home without their wallets” George foresees that in the coming years Near Field Communication (NFC) will continue to grow in popularity while other alternative transaction origination and payment methods will also appear. He suggests that over the next seven years there will be a transition from using magnetic stripe cards to using smart cards, as smart cards are harder to counterfeit and therefore more secure. George is an active Twitter user and frequently posts about new developments in the cloud computing and mobile payments space.

We want to know what questions you have for George. Visa Viewpoints invites readers to submit questions they have for George by commenting on this post or tweeting to us @VisaNews.


Posted by: Erika White, Visa Corporate Relations on December 7, 2012 at 7:06 am