Visa’s Blog – Visa Viewpoints


Mar 21, 2013

Voices of Inclusion: Premal Shah,

From the William J. Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Arkansas, Visa’s Head of Corporate Responsibility, Douglas Sabo, continues a series of conversations with leaders from the financial inclusion community.

Next up, we speak with Premal Shah, President of While best known for its work connecting the Internet community with entrepreneurs in emerging markets, has expanded its scope to include support for aspiring entrepreneurs in the U.S. We speak to Premal during the launch event for Kiva City Little Rock, the latest addition to the Kiva City initiative that expands the availability of financial resources to small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. Kiva City is a partnership between Kiva and Visa Inc. launched at the Clinton Global Initiative America meeting in June 2011.

Watch more videos in the “Voices of Inclusion” series.


Posted by: Douglas Sabo, Visa Corporate Responsibility on March 21, 2013 at 9:11 am

Mar 20, 2013

Voices of Inclusion: Janie Barrera, Accion Texas

Visa continues our “Voices of Inclusion” series of conversations with leaders from the financial inclusion community. This week, Douglas Sabo, Visa’s Head of Corporate Responsibility, shares conversations with financial inclusion leaders recorded at the William J. Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Arkansas.  

First up, we speak with Janie Barrera, President and CEO of Accion Texas. Accion Texas is a partner in launching Kiva City Little Rock, the latest addition to the Kiva City initiative that expands the availability of microloans for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs in the United States. Barrera discusses the opportunity to expand access to financial resources and the impact this has on entrepreneurs.



Watch more videos in the “Voices of Inclusion” series.


Posted by: Douglas Sabo, Visa Corporate Responsibility on March 20, 2013 at 11:56 am

Mar 20, 2013

Japan, China and Africa took big travel strides in 2012

Bags were packed. Tourists donned their favorite travel attire. And Visa account holders traipsed across the globe in 2012. While tourism spending growth on Visa accounts slowed slightly compared to 2011, travelers from Brazil, Canada, Mexico and the United States were still stretching their travel legs and spending along the way.

Roaming the world – People traveling to Brazil, Canada, Mexico and the United States spent $57 billion on their Visa accounts–a six percent spend increase in these countries compared to 2011.

China continues to jet to the U.S. – Visa account holders from China had their sights set on the U.S. as they moved into the top three contributors to U.S. inbound tourism. Chinese Visa account holders increased spending by almost 30 percent in 2012 – knocking the United Kingdom out of the top three for the first time since 2009.

Seeking adventure in Japan – Visa account holders from the United States, Mexico, Brazil and Canada showed an increased interest Japan – increasing travel spend in the country by an average of 25 percent, spending $948 million in 2012.

For more information about the 2012 Travel Snapshots, visit our Tourism Media Kit. For information about traveling with your Visa card, visit


Posted by: Lucas Mast, Visa Corporate Relations on March 20, 2013 at 5:29 am

Mar 18, 2013

President Clinton Helps Kick Off Kiva City Little Rock

Last Friday, we were proud to stand beside President Bill Clinton, and Accion Texas for the launch of Kiva City Little Rock, an initiative that expands the availability of microloans for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. Nearly 300 people from the Little Rock community joined us for the announcement at the William J. Clinton Presidential Center.

Visa’s partnership with Kiva to help U.S. small businesses began in 2010 and led, in part, to the announcement of the Kiva City initiative at the inaugural Clinton Global Initiative America meeting in June 2011. The Kiva City program is focused on expanding Kiva’s efforts to bring the power of the “Internet Community” to more small business borrowers in cities across the U.S.

During the event, the enthusiasm about what this meant for the Little Rock community was palpable. While the loan amounts typically are small (often $5,000-$10,000), the potential impact can be big. I heard this directly from a number of the Kiva City Little Rock borrowers who were in attendance, including representatives from handmade jewelry, artisanal cheese and handmade baby clothing businesses. I look forward to hearing more about the future successes of these businesses.

Commenting on the significance of the announcement, President Clinton noted, “The genius of Kiva is that they took everything we had learned – the lessons of what worked and what doesn’t in microlending – and the promise of crowdfunding and putting it in to building a new economy brick by brick – or person by person, if you will. It’s an exhilarating thing. And I am happy to support it.”

If you would like to help fund a borrower’s dream in Little Rock, visit:

Watch a video of President Clinton introducing Kiva City:


Posted by: Douglas Sabo, Visa Corporate Responsibility on March 18, 2013 at 3:51 pm

Mar 15, 2013

Guest Blog: President Clinton Helps Launch 4th Kiva City in Little Rock

Visa partners with many organizations, companies and governments as part of our shared goal of reaching full financial inclusion globally by 2020. One of those organizations is, a nonprofit working to alleviate poverty by connecting people around the world through microlending. In 2010, we announced a partnership with Kiva to help more U.S. small businesses tap into microfinance, in part through launching Kiva City in areas of the country where small business is struggling in the economic recovery. Today, we invited Kiva President Premal Shah to share the news of the launch of the latest Kiva City, in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Guest post by Premal Shah, President,

Today, I look forward to standing alongside President Clinton, Visa and Accion Texas to announce the launch of Kiva City Little Rock, an initiative to help more small business owners in Arkansas get access to the financial tools they need to create jobs and a better life for themselves and their communities. As we enter the third year of the partnership between Kiva and Visa, I am thrilled to announce that this is the fourth Kiva City we’ve launched together as a part of our CGI Commitment to Action. Kiva City Little Rock joins initiatives already underway in Detroit, Los Angeles and New Orleans.

In the words of President Clinton, “Successful small business owners in Little Rock and across the country have the power to accelerate job growth and economic opportunity for all of us. They have the plan and the passion; and this Commitment to Action will provide the much-needed capital to start or expand.”

Kiva City Little Rock provides access to capital for small business owners and budding entrepreneurs by crowdfunding loans on – often $25 at a time – that add up to job creation and economic growth.

The initiative is a collaboration between Kiva, Visa, Accion Texas, and nonprofit organizations in Little Rock working as Kiva Zip Trustees. Accion Texas works to identify small businesses in the Little Rock area that would benefit from a loan and then posts their profiles on for crowdsourced funding opportunities. The real power of Kiva City comes from local people with local solutions for growing new businesses.

In the Little Rock region, there are more than 69,000 small businesses that employ nearly 330,000 people. Through Kiva City, anyone with an Internet connection has a chance to help support local small businesses. Every dollar lent helps create jobs in the community, in turn supporting another local business, and then another. As small businesses grow and expand, local economies start to improve, then take off.

Both Kiva and Visa share the belief that small businesses and the entrepreneurs behind them are the engines of economic prosperity – and that’s what makes our partnership so effective.

For more information on Kiva City Little Rock or to lend to a small business owner, visit


Posted by: Douglas Sabo, Visa Corporate Responsibility on March 15, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Mar 13, 2013

Brazil Experiencing Business Travel Boom

Visa has long recognized the importance of travel and tourism to global economies. In addition to working with tourism entities around the world, we also work with organizations like the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) to understand the key trends in business travel. We invited the GBTA to share the latest findings of the GBTA BTI™, an index of business travel spending sponsored by Visa. For more information, to read the entire report or any past BTI outlooks, visit – Tad Fordyce, head of global commercial solutions at Visa Inc.

Each year the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) takes a comprehensive look at business travel spending in key countries throughout the world in our GBTA BTI™ Outlooks. The reports, which are sponsored by Visa, help companies and the travel industry understand the current business travel landscape, make better decisions about their travel spending and forecast future business travel trends.

Today, we released the GBTA BTI™ Outlook report on Brazil, which confirms that Brazil continues to be red hot in terms of travel. While total travel spending is expected to rise with large number of tourists anticipated to visit the country with the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ and the 2016 Rio 2016 Olympic Games, business travel is also booming in the largest South American economy.

The GBTA BTI forecasts Brazilian total business travel spending to grow 14.3% in 2013 to $34.5 billion, and will continue to grow another 16.1% to $40 billion in 2014. With these forecasts, Brazil business travel spending is on track to surpass Italy, France and the UK over the next two years. This impressive feat is even more astounding when you consider Brazilian business travel spending has nearly tripled since 2000, from $11 billion to more than $30 billion in 2012.

When examining what’s driving the growth, domestic business travel continues to be the bulk of the spending, with a forecasted 12.9% growth in 2013 to more than $27 billion. International outbound travel from Brazil is expected to grow even faster, expanding 20.2% in 2013 to a total of $7.1 billion. These numbers correspond closely to Brazil’s overall economic and job growth.

While Brazil is poised to continue its rapid ascent in both economic and business travel growth, there are still issues that need to be addressed to maximize the nation’s opportunity. Both domestic and international inbound business travelers can expect to see higher air and hotel prices, driven by increased demand and a lagging supply. The country is continuing to rapidly modernize its travel infrastructure, including Visa’s efforts to increase the country’s electronic payment network, helping to ensure that business travelers can pay securely and conveniently throughout Brazil.

Joe Bates, Vice President, Research, GBTA


Posted by: Visa Corporate Relations Team on March 13, 2013 at 9:48 am

Mar 8, 2013

International Women’s Day

As the world celebrates International Women’s Day today, Visa is proud to join the global movement to honor the achievements of women around the world. Yet, while we acknowledge the many advancements for women, we also recognize that many challenges remain.

Today, an estimated 2.5 billion adults lack access to formal financial services, and a disproportionate number of them are women.  In many developing countries – as our recent research with the GSMA mWomen Programme demonstrates – women often are the primary household financial managers: paying bills, making daily purchases and trying save for the future. However, many women lack access to the basic financial services – a secure way to carry money, a safe place to save – that could help them better manage their unpredictable and often precarious lives. Access to basic financial tools such as payments and savings is a key driver of women’s empowerment, helping them improve their daily lives while also lifting themselves and their families out of poverty.

At Visa, we are proud to know that our products, services and global network are helping provide women with access to the financial tools they need to lead safer, more convenient and dignified lives. One example is the Visa Giro program, through which many women in Latin America are gaining first-time access to more formal financial services and a secure way to manage their finances In addition to the financial inclusion benefits generated by our products and network.

We’ve also built several partnerships aimed at improving women’s access to financial services, including:

  • Partnering with Women’s World Banking to advance financial inclusion in Nigeria by supporting the development of a commercially-viable savings product tailored to the needs of underserved women. Women will be able to access their savings accounts via bank branches, ATMs and mobile phones, providing them convenience and security.

International Women’s Day offers an opportunity to reflect on the progress that has been made and recommit ourselves to the work ahead. At Visa, through our products, network and partnerships, we look forward to finding new ways to empower women worldwide in the years to come.

Please click here for an executive summary of Unlocking the Potential and watch on-the-ground reports from the team of researchers here.

Visa’s Head of Corporate Responsibility, Douglas Sabo and Cherie Blair, Founder of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women discuss the profound impact mobile technology is having on the lives of low-income women around the world.


Posted by: Douglas Sabo, Visa Corporate Responsibility on March 8, 2013 at 9:28 am

Mar 7, 2013

SBA and Visa Business Video Contest: Share Your Export Small Biz Story and you could win $10,000

Each year, businesses across the U.S. produce goods and provide services that are in high demand – in the U.S. and across our borders. In fact, according to an article currently posted on the U.S. Small Business Administration website, 97 percent of all exporters are small businesses.

To celebrate small business success in international exporting, and to increase awareness of government assistance available for small business exporters, the Office of International Trade at the SBA and Visa Business invite small businesses to share their export story via a three minute video. The winning video, in accordance with the Official Rules, will be awarded $10,000.

The contest opened February 25 and runs through April 22*. Details on the video challenge can be found at

All eligible videos will be scored by a panel assembled by the SBA and will select five winning videos from each of the following categories:

  • Manufacturing
  • Consumer products
  • Professional services
  • Technology
  • Agribusiness

Winners will be awarded cash to help with their business, and could receive an additional $1,000 for travel reimbursement and hotel to participate in the awards ceremony in may in Denver, CO.

  • 1st Place: $10,000
  • 2nd Place: $8,000
  • 3rd Place: $6,000
  • 4th Place: $4,000
  • 5th Place: $2,000

Check out the 2011 winning video!

*The video submission deadline has been extended. The new deadline is April 22nd by 5:00 p.m. EDT. Visit for more information, to see the Official Rules and to enter to win.

Ready, set, GO!


Posted by: Janet Zablock, Head of Global Small Business, Visa Inc. on March 7, 2013 at 2:41 pm

Mar 6, 2013

New World Economic Forum Report Underscores the Importance of Data Collection and Use in Context

Last week the World Economic Forum release a report called, “Unlocking the Value of Personal Data: From Collection to Usage.” As part of the Forum’s steering board on personal data, I was able to contribute to the report, which explores the importance of unlocking the value of data in a way that preserves the trust of all stakeholders.

One important theme in the report is the value of managing consumer expectations through context setting. What that means is the use of personal data should be understandable when compared to what is being shared and why. Most consumers don’t need or want every detail of every data flow. What they are ultimately looking for is clear benefits from use of their data. For that they need context.

At Visa we understand the importance of context. In the Visa system, for example, consumers are delighted when analytics are used to identify attempted fraud on their accounts. I have repeatedly heard from consumers who applaud us for working with their bank to flag a suspicious purchase. It makes them feel safer. It is only possible if we use their own shopping behavior to look for patterns. But this data use is expected — and welcomed — by consumers because they understand the context.  And they support its purpose.

As companies explore new ways to use data and the opportunities and responsibilities that come with them, they need to keep the importance of context and consumer expectations in mind. When consumers understand the context, they feel a sense of transparency and control. With context, there is trust. And with trust, there is opportunity.


Posted by: Ellen Richey, Chief Enterprise Risk Officer on March 6, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Mar 6, 2013

A Proud Day: Visa Named One of the World’s Most Ethical Companies

Visa runs the world’s largest retail electronic payments network, but our business isn’t just about technology – it’s about trust. We need to earn the trust of everyone we partner with and serve, every single day, in order to succeed.

That’s why being named to the 2013 list of the World’s Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere Institute is such an important honor for us. It reflects our commitment to the highest ethical standards in everything we do – not just what we say, but what we actually do – as well as our determination to live up to the trust that people all over the world put in our brand.

A leading international think tank, the Ethisphere Institute is dedicated to promoting best practices in business ethics, corporate social responsibility, anti-corruption, and sustainability. As Ethisphere explains, companies that receive the World’s Most Ethical Companies designation “truly go beyond making statements about doing business ‘ethically’ and translate those words into action.”

Visa takes a comprehensive approach to ethical business practices, including industry-leading policies, trainings and programs. Visa also has a Corporate Responsibility program focused on responsible business practices and community involvement, and areas where our business expertise and philanthropic contributions can contribute to financial inclusion and improving humanitarian aid.

Joining this global list of companies dedicated to doing business with world-class ethical practices is, to us, a sign that we are on the right track.

View the complete World’s Most Ethical Companies 2013 list here.


Posted by: Ellen Richey, Chief Enterprise Risk Officer on March 6, 2013 at 6:39 am