Visa’s Blog – Visa Viewpoints


Jun 6, 2013


Advancing Financial Inclusion on the Global Stage: WEF East Asia

Around the world, Visa is driving financial inclusion and increasing financial literacy among the underserved through our products, services and network; strategic partnerships and educational programs. Visa also actively contributes to the global conversation about how to best address financial inclusion and meet the needs of the underserved. This week, Visa is joining leaders in the financial inclusion community for the World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia in Myanmar, IDB Base II Forum in Colombia, and the 8th Annual Underbanked Financial Services Forum in the United States to discuss the global imperative to reach full financial inclusion.

At the WEF on East Asia event in Myanmar, Visa is participating in a variety of activities aimed at bringing attention to the un- and under-served populations throughout the region.

Stephen Kehoe, Head of Corporate Relations, Asia Pacific, Central Europe, the Middle East and Africa (APCEMEA) led a discussion at a financial inclusion luncheon for members of the financial services industry. Leaders discussed the major issues constraining the availability and access to financial services around the region and presented what policies needed to increase the level of financial inclusion. The group explored host country Myanmar as a use-case, identifying what steps could be taken to build a more inclusive system.

Today, Peter Maher, Group Country Manager, Southeast Asia spoke at the session titled “Moving from a Cash to a Banked Economy.” Peter discussed how Myanmar can build the foundation for an inclusive and robust financial system, highlighting Visa’s financial inclusion story to share best practices for shifting from cash-based activity to electronic payments. You can read his post on the World Economic Forum blog, where he discusses Myanmar’s opportunity to expand access to mobile services as a way to reach widespread financial inclusion.

On Friday, Visa will host a financial inclusion thought leader discussion. Gordon Cooper, Visa’s Head of Emerging Market Solutions, APCEMEA, will join the dialogue, exploring what solutions can serve as catalysts in transforming Myanmar and East Asian economies.

While at the event, Erin Steinhauer, Visa’s Head of Corporate Social Responsibility for APCEMEA, talked to The Wall Street Journal’s Duncan Mavin and Shibani Mahtani about Visa’s efforts to promote financial inclusion not only in Myanmar, but throughout Asia Pacific, Africa and across the globe.

To learn more about Visa’s global effort to advance financial inclusion, visit our new Financial Inclusion Interactive Map.


Posted by: Douglas Sabo, Visa Corporate Responsibility on June 6, 2013 at 12:34 pm

Jun 5, 2013

Postcards From WEF East Asia: Upgrading Myanmar’s Financial Systems

Peter Maher, Group Country Manager, Southeast Asia at Visa, shares his thoughts on Myanmar’s opportunity to upgrade its financial systems and advance financial inclusion across the country in an article for the World Economic Forum Blog.

Maher points out that Myanmar is in a unique position to shift its largely cash-based economy into one that’s driven by electronic payments and formal financial services. Since the physical infrastructure for its financial system is broadly underdeveloped, Myanmar has the opportunity to start with a clean slate, and adopt best practices and approaches right for its marketplace.

Maher shares some lessons learned from countries such as Bangladesh and Rwanda, where Visa has developed partnerships and seen positive movement toward reaching more widespread financial inclusion.

To learn more about how Visa is helping to advance financial inclusion around the globe, visit the new Financial Inclusion Interactive Map.


Posted by: Douglas Sabo, Visa Corporate Responsibility on June 5, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Oct 22, 2012

Browse anytime; buy anywhere

American actress Bo Derek once remarked that “whoever said money doesn’t buy happiness simply doesn’t know where to go shopping”. And it now seems that with the growing popularity of online shopping, for many people, this might just be a click away.

Our latest data from the Visa e-Commerce Consumer Monitor Research 2012[1] shows that people are shopping online regardless of where they are, with 9 in 10 consumers from eight countries surveyed saying they have made an online purchase in the past year. This figure is expected to continue to grow with 92 percent of our respondents indicating that they are likely to shop online in the next year.

The 2012 research has highlighted three key trends propelling the mass adoption and rise of e-Commerce.

Beyond just online payments, online browsing is now an essential part of people’s shopping cycle – driving both online and offline purchases. 98 percent of our respondents said that they have gone online for information-gathering in the past year to increase their knowledge of a product and to decide on a purchase location for items such as books, CDs, DVDs, fashion and groceries.

The ability to access the internet via multiple electronic devices has also contributed to the rise in online shopping. Four in 10 people have browsed online for products or services via a mobile phone or tablet device in the last year, and in countries with a higher penetration of smartphone and tablet devices such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Korea, we have seen browsing on mobile phones exceed 40%. Hong Kong in particular saw 13% of online purchases on mobile phones and 11% on tablets. The growing prevalence of smartphone and tablet use translates to greater online access for a consumer to retailers anytime, anywhere; and as a result, we expect to see more people shopping on-the-go and more often.

We have seen a rise in consumer perception of online security and this has also encouraged more online purchases. This view was held by close to half of those we surveyed, who attributed the shift to the availability of more online payment security features such as Verified by Visa and security around personal and financial information upheld by financial institutions and online merchants.

Armed with a deeper understanding of consumer attitudes to online shopping, Visa strives to continually deliver next-generation solutions that allow consumers to enjoy the same convenient, reliable and secure experience they have come to expect from us – both offline and online.

For the full report on Visa’s APCEMEA e-Commerce Consumer Monitor Research 2012 survey, please visit here.

[1] The Visa APCEMEA e-Commerce Consumer Monitor Research 2012 is an online survey conducted by TNS from March to June 2012. The survey asked over 8,000 respondents from eight countries around the world (Hong Kong, Korea, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, Russia, Philippines and South Africa) about their online payment attitudes and behaviour. Respondents were internet users (accessing internet at least once a week), aged 18-55 years old, selected based on a soft quota taking into consideration age, gender and annual household income.


Posted by: Maureen Siah, ECommerce, Visa on October 22, 2012 at 8:50 am

Oct 8, 2012

Postcards from Sochi: A Sneak Peek at the Future Olympic Sites

It is the place where the eyes of the world will be turned in 2014—where dreams will be fulfilled, where flags will be raised, and where anthems played.  


It was hard not feel the weight of history when we got an exclusive tour of the Olympic park in Sochi. Rather than keep the experience to ourselves, we thought we would share a glimpse with our blog readers as well.

The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics are just two years away, and the preparation is well underway. Cranes and tractors across the vast Olympic Park are working nonstop to erect the arenas, rinks, and raceways. Electro-pop seems to be the theme song of progress, echoing across wide, open ice rinks—working music for the crews using soldering irons to install the infrastructure. 

We got to see the main Olympic arenas being pieced together.  The future hockey rink.


The speed skating rink.


The new ski lift.


The future ski jumps.


We were grateful for the grand tour from Tatiana “Tanya” Sanders, our colleague who is the head of Visa Acceptance in Russia and CIS and will be overseeing Visa’s work in helping to prepare Sochi’s payment infrastructure for the big games. She gave us a few minutes of her time to not only shoot a Currency of Progress video (stay tuned for the completed video) but also to give a sense of how things are going.



Posted by: Noelle Chun, Corporate Relations, Visa on October 8, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Oct 8, 2012

Postcards from Russia: Hello from Sochi

Greetings from the city that will host the next winter Olympics! Yes, we said winter, which might surprise you based on the picture above. Indeed one of the charming aspects about this Russian town is the diverse range of climates—tall snowcapped mountains not far from the sunny seashore.

We have traveled from San Francisco to Sochi with the mission of seeing how preparations for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics are progressing. Most important, we came to see how Visa’s work on the ground is helping seed a robust acceptance infrastructure for cardholders from around the world.  The Russian government and the Sochi administrators are eager to ensure the Olympic preparations are not only about making the two-week games run smoothly; it’s about creating an infrastructure that will revitalize the entire region.

We spoke to Alexander Kuyrilenko who runs a souvenir shop on the Sochi boardwalk. In preparation for the Olympic Games, many merchants are bracing themselves for the influx of visitors by setting up systems to accept payment cards.  Alexander, however, is one of the merchants who has already done so and seen the benefits.

He is also one of many merchants already getting in the Olympic spirit by selling all sorts of logo wear. Here is just one stand with Olympic fanfare.

And these bears even strut the Visa logo as part of our official sponsorship of the Games.

Meeting Alexander and seeing how he has incorporated Visa into his life personified the reason we work at this company—to make people’s lives better. Whether it’s helping merchants boost their sales or helping an Olympic enthusiast buy a bear—cards are helping real people in Sochi. And it’s a gold-medal feeling.


Posted by: Noelle Chun, Corporate Relations, Visa on October 8, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Oct 5, 2012

Postcard from Russia: How to do business in Russia

In our travels in Moscow and Sochi, we interviewed people everywhere we went. One of the questions we loved to ask locals was, “What do you love about Russia?” Almost everyone we met focused on “the people”—their kindness, their spirit, their boldness, their warm and hospitality.

So meet another one of our teammates from our Visa Russia office: Elmira Basharova who works in corporate communications. She shared with us what she loves about her job and even gives some tips for doing business in Russia.


Posted by: Noelle Chun, Corporate Relations, Visa on October 5, 2012 at 9:36 am

Oct 2, 2012

Postcard from Russia: Visiting with Roman in Visa Russia

Over the course of our trip to Russia, we have had the privilege of introducing our blog readers to some of the people at Visa Russia who work behind the scenes to make your electronic payment experience successful.

As part of the series, we would like you to meet Roman, our good-natured colleague who works for Visa Consulting in Russia. He gave us a glimpse at what he does every day and shared a little about why he loves Russia.


Posted by: Noelle Chun, Corporate Relations, Visa on October 2, 2012 at 7:26 am

Category: APCEMEA

Sep 26, 2012

Money Management Made Easy

Helping college students manage money is an issue for millions of families today. For Japanese student Sho Ninagawa and his parents, Sho’s opportunity to study abroad at the University of Colorado presented a unique challenge with respect to money management. How could they quickly and conveniently provide Sho with funds when needed?  How could he avoid carrying large sums of cash? And how could they help him manage his spending?

A Visa Debit card provided the solution they needed.  The account made it possible to conveniently deposit funds in Japan for his access in the U.S., as well as solve concerns about his safety and the security of making payments—no need to carry large sums of cash that put him at risk of loss or theft, and Visa’s security features protect Sho and his family from fraud.  Plus, his spending could be tracked and managed, easing another parental concern.

We visited Sho and his parents to learn more about their experience with Visa Debit. See how it benefitted them in our video interview.


Posted by: Lisa Kimberlin, Global Corporate Relations on September 26, 2012 at 10:59 am

Sep 25, 2012

Busting Myths, One Gen Y at a Time

If you were asked to paint a portrait of the modern young adult, most people would list traits such as Smartphone-fanatics, financially irresponsible, perhaps even self-centered. But Visa’s recent survey ‘Connecting with the Millennials’, discovered that these young people are in fact family-centered, aspiring entrepreneurs and financially savvy. The millennials we spoke to save on average up to 32 percent of their income. This can be converted to annual savings valued at USD $300 billion. That is almost on par with the GDP for the United Arab Emirates – an oil exporting nation!

And the best news is? They love using their cards and in particular, their debit card. It keeps them on track financially, they like the convenience of paying bills using their card and a massive 70 percent do so because they don’t want the hassle of carrying cash around with them.

See the infographic below for more on their spending power and why cash is passé for today’s young consumers

For more on the survey visit


Posted by: Jag Mistry, Corporate Relations, Visa Inc. on September 25, 2012 at 9:52 am

Sep 24, 2012

Postcards from Russia: Oh, the Traffic

Getting around in Russia is no joke. It is one part ballet, one part Nascar, and one part slo-mo James Bond. Talk of traffic in Russia is like talk of weather in Chicago; it’s the constant life companion and an easy topic of conversation. Distances in Russian cities are not measured by kilometers or in miles but in minutes and, more frequently, hours.

That is to say that driving in Russia is an art (one perhaps too intense for my easygoing Hawaii driving roots).  A keen practitioner of this art was Mikael, our driver with a fondness for designer sunglasses and shirts, an appreciation for pop and club mixes—and a mobile POS terminal that accepts electronic payments always at the ready.

When we found out he accepted Visa, we couldn’t resist finding out more.

Here’s a picture of our interview with Mikael, which we filmed on a breezy side street in the Sochi. As we talked, he expressed his excitement for the coming Sochi 2014 Wummer Olympics, pride in his home city and the convenience of accepting Visa. Stay tuned for the full interview which will be posted on Currency of Progress.


Posted by: Noelle Chun, Corporate Relations, Visa on September 24, 2012 at 3:46 pm