Visa’s Blog – Visa Viewpoints


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

Aug 7, 2012

Postcards From London: Michael Phelps Gets His Own Visa Debit Card (Literally)

Michael Phelps Debit

6 medals at the London 2012 Olympic Games.  22 total medals in his Olympic career.  Multiple current swimming world records.  So what do you get the man who has (almost) everything?

For Team Visa athlete Michael Phelps, we thought it would be fun to design and present him with a customized Visa Debit card to celebrate the many accomplishments of the man who changed the sport of swimming forever.

So “Good Luck” Michael, and enjoy the Visa card to finally see some of the sights around London! [Or to get a head start on fine-tuning your golf game....]


Posted by: Lucas Mast, Visa Corporate Relations on August 7, 2012 at 9:03 am

Jan 12, 2012

It’s Time to Start Using Those Visa Gift Cards

Now that the presents have been opened and the holidays are behind us, those who unwrapped a Visa Gift card are beginning to log in online and speed through checkout lines as they purchase those perfect gifts.  Whether it’s used at any of the millions of brick and mortar locations that accept Visa Debit cards, online, or by phone – shoppers are experiencing the convenience and flexibility the Visa Gift card offers to shop where they want for what they want.

How will people use their Visa Gift cards?

According to the recent Visa Gift Giving Survey, people will spend their Visa Gift card in the following ways:

61%  Indulging in something they might not normally be able to buy/afford

58%  Buying “life essentials” such as groceries or paying bills

41%  Using it to help purchase gifts for other people

Follow these simple tips when using a Visa Gift card:

  • Activate and Read: The gift card is activated upon purchase, so the recipient can begin using the card immediately. Recipients should be sure to read the issuer’s terms and conditions of their Visa Gift card, which are included in the original packaging, or can be found on the issuer’s web site.
  • Use It: The card was given as a gift, and it’s important to use it early to enjoy the full benefits of the gift.  If the purchase price exceeds the value of the gift card, another form of payment can be provided in addition to the gift card.  Tip: Recipients can send a thank you note to the gift giver letting them know what was purchased with the card.
  • When Paying – Know the Balance and Choose “Credit:” Know the value remaining on the Visa Gift card before shopping, either by calling the card issuer or checking the balance online. When paying in person, card holders should select the “credit” option as the payment method when checking out.

For more tips and information on how to use a Visa Gift card – visit


Posted by: Lucas Mast, Visa Corporate Relations on January 12, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Dec 7, 2011

Creating Opportunities for Mexico’s Underserved

If seeing is believing, then my recent trip to Mexico re-opened my eyes to the real benefits of digital currency, particularly in the lives of low-income families around the world. During a whirlwind four-day trip, we captured the experience of Angélica Cruz Romero, who receives her government benefits on the Oportunidades Visa card, as part of the Currency of Progress video series.

Angélica lives in a modest home on the outskirts of San Juan del Rio, a city of 120,000 people in the state of Querétaro. She is one of millions of formerly unbanked or under-banked Mexican consumers who receives social benefits on a prepaid debit card that keeps her money safe and can be used anywhere Visa is accepted.

As part of the visit, we also interviewed Bernardo González, general associate director of Bansefi, the government-owned issuer of the Visa card. In the coming months, Bansefi aims to include all 6.5 million beneficiaries in the Visa debit card program as part of its long-term goal to reduce poverty by bringing more Mexicans into the formal financial system.  “This is absolute[ly] the door to financial inclusion,” he said.

For Angélica, receiving funds electronically gives her peace-of-mind, flexibility and the promise of a better life for her family. I’m very optimistic because I’m taking my children on the right path,” she said. “And this program has helped me a lot because I am heading in the right direction where I wasn’t before.”


Posted by: Richard Martin, Visa Corporate Relations on December 7, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Nov 14, 2011

Paper or Plastic? State Governments Choose Plastic

As the year comes to a close, so too does the era of paper unemployment checks in the District of Columbia.  The DC Department of Employment Services recently announced that all new recipients of unemployment insurance benefits will share in the advantages that come with receiving automatic payments through either Visa prepaid debit cards or direct deposit. 

 According to the DC Department of Employee Services, claimants who select Visa prepaid debit cards will be able to:

  • Access fee-free funds at in-network ATMs
  • Make fee-free purchases everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted
  • Pay bills using their prepaid debit card
  • Access fee-free cash at Visa member banks
  • Access fee-free cash at participating retailers
  • Manage their account online 24/7
  • Access their account via toll-free interactive voice response systems 24/7

Government agencies using Visa Prepaid cards instead of checks for disbursements can lower costs and increase operational efficiencies while providing consumers with more convenient and secure access to funds.  Approximately 39 states are using or are in the process of implementing Visa prepaid card programs to disburse child support, unemployment, TANF and other benefits through more than 80 programs. 

In fact, today, approximately 30 of 38 state unemployment insurance card programs and 32 of 49 state child support programs are delivered by Visa1

Visa programs are helping states including California, Maine, South Carolina, Connecticut, New Jersey and Ohio save millions of dollars in administrative costs associated with paper based programs – including lost or stolen check replacements, bank processing and handling fees, check fraud and check printing costs – while providing greater reliability for the delivery of benefits.

Visa prepaid cards offer a secure, convenient and cost-effective alternative to checks and cash, providing consumers a better way to make everyday purchases, pay bills, and receive deposits.  Visa prepaid cards can be especially valuable for those consumers without checking accounts or traditional banking relationships, helping these consumers move from an inconvenient, unsafe, and potentially costly cash-and-carry lifestyle to more convenient and secure access to funds.

 By receiving benefits on a Visa prepaid card, benefit recipients can enjoy:

  • Money Management and Control Prepaid cards offer consumers greater access to and control over their finances than checks or cash, by enabling cardholders to only spend funds loaded on the card.  Cardholders can track their spending online for improved budgeting.
  • Convenience – Cardholders enjoy immediate access to their funds through direct deposit and can eliminate check-cashing fees.  Disbursement recipients can use their Visa prepaid cards to easily make purchases anywhere Visa debit cards are accepted – in-store, online, or by phone – from paying bills, to making travel reservations, and buying gas at the pump. 
  • Security – Like all Visa products, Visa prepaid cards are protected by Visa’s Zero Liability policy2, which means consumers pay nothing for unauthorized purchases made with their card. 

 Visa works with governments all over the world to help get benefits to people faster and with less disruption while helping save taxpayer money by eliminating the costs associated with checks.

1Data reflects public information available through individual state agency websites.

2Visa’s Zero Liability policy covers U.S.–issued cards only and does not apply to ATM transactions, PIN transactions not processed by Visa, or certain commercial card transactions. Cardholder must notify issuer promptly of any unauthorized use. Consult issuer for additional details or click here.


Posted by: Hyung Choi, Visa Head of U.S. Prepaid Products on November 14, 2011 at 2:37 pm