Visa’s Blog – Visa Viewpoints


Jul 23, 2013


Talking Mobile Wallets at Fortune Brainstorm TECH #fortunetech

Fortune Brainstorm TECH brings together the tech world’s top media thinkers, entrepreneurs, and influencers. The issues being debated this year range from the role of technology in the global economy to the impact of mobile devices on society.


One important topic covered in detail today was mobile wallet technology and what the future holds for this rapidly evolving sector of the electronics payments industry. Participants included Jim McCarthy, Global Head of Innovation and Strategic Partnerships from Visa, top executives from Bank of America, Stripe, American Express and Cardspring with moderation by Fortune’s Miguel Helft.


Miguel kicked off by asking the group why despite all the hype, there wasn’t more widespread adoption of mobile payments. Among other reasons, Jim noted that replacing POS terminals was a huge cost for merchants without big upside – one reason why Visa is focused on helping eCommerce merchants to drive greater acceptance for, Visa’s digital wallet service. He also discussed how there will be no “winner takes all” in mobile payments which is why Visa adopted an open approach, allowing consumers to load their wallets with the payments cards they are already carrying.


Bank of America’s Aditya Bhasin noted that he already has a mobile payment device, holding up his Bank of America Visa card. Cardspring’s CEO, Eckhardt Walther opined that the mobile opportunity is to add greater context around the payment, whether it’s real-time discounting associated with that card or allowing the merchant to have a closer relationship with their customer.


All in all, the panelists presented multiple viewpoints but were in agreement that mobile payments is indeed still in its infancy and that consumers will decide how and when they want to use mobile devices as payment tools.


We’re following the rest of #fortunetech highlights and mobile wallet developments @VisaNews. See you there.


By Ryan Donovan (@rdono)



Posted by: Ryan Donovan, Corporate Relations on July 23, 2013 at 12:11 pm

Category: Innovation, Mobile

Jul 18, 2013

Innovation in Development Disbursements: Visa Innovation Grant Recipients Announced


Today we’re proud to recognize the recipients of the Visa Innovation Grants Program. In partnership with NetHope, a consortium of more than 40 humanitarian organizations, and an Expert Advisory Committee of distinguished public and private sector leaders, five leading development organizations were selected to receive funding for projects that will modernize the distribution of agriculture, health and emergency relief payments to those living below the poverty line.

The Visa Innovation Grants Program is one component of Visa’s ongoing dedication to advancing financial inclusion around the world.  Every year, billions of dollars in cash payments are distributed to people in need through emergency relief efforts, benefit stipends, conditional cash transfers, microfinance programs, and other development initiatives.  Digitizing these payments through mobile phones or other electronic methods not only improves the distribution of aid, but can also help recipients gain access to broader financial services, including savings and electronic payments tools.

The group of five grantee organizations includes: Agribusiness Systems International (ASI), Freedom from Hunger, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Mercy Corps, and Pathfinder International.

Each organization has been awarded $100,000 to support innovation in and adoption of electronic payments. The projects are focused on a wide variety of sectors, yet all are seeking better ways to distribute aid to the people who need it most.

Here is an introduction to the projects selected for funding, which we will cover in depth in future posts:

  • Agribusiness Systems International (ASI)

ASI will use the Visa Innovation Grant to bring formal financial services to rice farmers in Ghana. The program will extend branchless banking in rural areas by integrating mobile finance into the rice value chain. Mobile finance will reduce the risk of theft, connect farmers and other actors with financial services, and ensure timely payments to farmers. Founded in 1993 as an affiliate of ACDI/VOCA, ASI is a nonprofit consulting organization that helps smallholder farmers become competitive in the agribusiness sector.

  • Freedom from Hunger

Freedom from Hunger will use the Visa Innovation Grant to improve access to health services in rural Ecuador by integrating electronic payments for health services through local microfinance institutions that provide health savings and credit accounts. The program combines payment services with improved access to health services and education. Freedom from Hunger has more than six decades of experience fighting global poverty and hunger, as well as developing and testing flexible and sustainable approaches that provide group-based financial services, education and access to additional products and services to poor women and youth.

  • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)

IFRC, along with its partner American Red Cross, will use the Visa Innovation Grant to design and test a rapidly implementable and scalable electronic cash transfer system(s) with Red Cross National Societies in Latin America and the Caribbean. Electronic payments improve security and transparency of aid payments, enable families to begin their recovery in the shortest time possible and create a pathway to more formal financial services. The IFRC is the world’s largest humanitarian network, acting before, during and after disasters and crises to meet the needs and improve the lives of vulnerable people.

  • Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps will use the Visa Innovation Grant to provide smallholder farmers in Indonesia with access to mobile money, improving their productivity and increasing incomes. The program’s scalable and replicable model connects banks, mobile network operators and a full range of stakeholders in the agricultural value chain, while also helping farmers gain the knowledge and tools they need for success. Mercy Corps is an international development organization that helps people around the world survive and thrive after conflict, crisis and natural disaster.

  • Pathfinder International

Pathfinder International will use the Visa Innovation Grant to introduce a mobile money-based payroll system for its community health workers in Kenya. The pay-for-performance incentive model will be combined with access to real-time field data, improving transparency and the quality of services delivered. Pathfinder International is a nonprofit organization with a focus on access to contraception; maternal and newborn health; and HIV and AIDS services. The organization has implemented projects in more than 100 countries worldwide, and is recognized for its innovative and responsive approaches to meeting health needs at the community level.

There were many impressive ideas submitted by all applicants, and we believe these projects have particular promise for scaling electronic payments across diverse sectors. We look forward to supporting these projects and seeing how each will spur new ideas and models for the future of aid and development payments around the globe.

[Photo above: Elizabeth Mueni (right), a community health worker in Kenya trained by Pathfinder International, uses a mobile phone to collect data and track the health needs of her clients. Photo by Sala Lewis.]

 Check back for more updates about the Visa Innovation Grants Program and the group of recipients highlighted above.


Posted by: Douglas Sabo, Visa Corporate Responsibility on July 18, 2013 at 6:13 am

Jun 10, 2013

Accelerating the migration to electronic payments through mobile acceptance solutions

The way we pay has evolved dramatically over the last 50 years. The “electronification” of commerce has helped to stimulate economic growth, reducing inefficiencies and providing consumers convenient and secure access to their funds. Mobile technology, in particular the introduction of low cost mobile “card readers” is helping to drive the migration from cash and checks to electronic forms of payments.

From emerging markets, where traditional acceptance infrastructure simply does not exist, to farmers markets and coffee shops in developed countries, mobile point-of-sale acceptance is helping to displace cash payments and enabling merchants of all sizes – even the smallest ones – to accept card payments. It is an inventive solution from both the technology and business model points of view, which leverages the broad penetration of mobile phones to add acceptance to those segments of merchants where cash used to be the only available option.

At Visa, we see great potential to accelerate the migration to electronic payments through mPOS solutions. By helping to promote the use of these services in the Visa system, we believe they will have a greater uptake and benefit more consumers and merchants worldwide. But we want to do that in a responsible way, so to ensure that innovative payments like mPOS technology provides the same security, reliability and scale as traditional payment terminals.

This is why earlier this year we launched the Visa Ready Program, a streamlined process for the testing and approval of new payment solutions that enables our business partners to more rapidly deploy products for use with Visa payments. Last week, we’ve announced five new leading mobile acceptance providers to join the program: AnywhereCommerce, iZettle, Miura Systems, SumUp and Swiff. Two of them, AnywhereCommerce and Miura System, already have mPOS devices that are approved to accept Visa payments.

There are over two billion Visa cards around the world today and with every new mPOS device that is put out there lays an opportunity to displace paper-based payments. In the United States alone, mPOS can help to migrate more than $1.1 trillion yearly from paper to electronic payments[1]. This is a tremendous opportunity for solutions providers, financial institutions and merchants. Visa is ready to help our clients and partners seize this great momentum, while at the same time giving consumers the peace of mind they need to transact in the mobile channel.

For detailed information on last week’s announcement, click here.


[1] Javelin Strategy & Research, Mobile POS (Point of Sale) Business and Market Impact 2013: Emerging Technologies Expand Reach with Lower Cost, Disruptive Services, April 2013,


Posted by: Matt Dill, Global Head of Business Development on June 10, 2013 at 11:56 am

May 28, 2013

With 3.5 Million Visa Chip Cards Issued Since 2011, EMV Continues to Gain Momentum










Since announcing our EMV migration roadmap in August 2011, Visa issuers have put what averages out to over 5,000 new chip-enabled cards in the hands of U.S. cardholders every day. As of March 31, the total number of Visa chip cards in market was at 3.5 million and growing.

We’re very pleased with the progress the U.S. has made over the past two years. With each new card, the U.S. payments ecosystem gets one step closer to achieving the improved security that EMV technology affords to consumers, merchants and issuers. That’s because when a chip is inserted into the payment terminal, the chip generates a code that is unique to that transaction. This code renders stolen payment information useless at the point of sale, reducing its value to criminals and shrinking counterfeit fraud. The opportunity that chip presents goes beyond security, and will enable new and emerging forms of electronic payment, such as NFC-based mobile payments.

“We are always looking for new ways to provide our customers with better ways to pay,” said Clifford Cook, chief marketing officer for U.S. Bank Retail Payment Solutions. “EMV is a secure and trusted technology that is in use globally. We’re excited to offer chip technology to our cardholders, adding not only an additional layer of protection to transactions, but extra convenience when traveling abroad.”

We have heard similarly positive feedback across the industry. And while 3.5 million cards represent a strong start, we know that there is still work to do before the U.S. is fully migrated to EMV. That’s why we’re working with financial institutions and merchants of all sizes to provide them with the guidance, tools and resources they need to help support their migration plans. We’re also actively participating in discussions with the various EMV industry groups to provide our input and expertise.

I frequently hear the question, “How long will it be until everyone in the U.S. has a chip card?” The ubiquity of chip cards is still a few years out, but we’re proud to be at the forefront of this evolution, working alongside other stakeholders in the payments ecosystem.


Posted by: Stephanie Ericksen, Head of Authentication Product Integration, Visa Inc. on May 28, 2013 at 4:48 pm

Apr 17, 2013

Split Bread Gets Rid of Cash and Ahead of the Curve


“Cash is dirty in a food environment,” says David Silverglide, co-founder of the hip San Francisco sandwich shop, Split Bread.

Split Bread offers it consumers multiple ways to pay, none of which include cash.  Customers can scan a QR code at their table and have their sandwiches delivered directly to them, use a card at a payment kiosk, or order online.

Only accepting electronic payments allows Split Bread to operate more cost effectively by not having to count and reconcile cash and customers can move in and out at a much quicker pace.

Smarter, faster, and in this case delicious.

To learn more about Split Bread and other restaurants embracing electronic payments, please visit Currency of Progress.

Related post: Visa Blog: Will 2013 Be the Year of Cashless Restaurants?


Posted by: Lucas Mast, Visa Corporate Relations on April 17, 2013 at 11:25 am

Feb 26, 2013

Postcards From #MWC13: Greetings from Bill Gajda

Greetings from Barcelona!

Mobile World Congress is underway and Visa’s presence is stronger than ever. With mobile commerce and mobile payments listed among MWC13’s top three agenda items, Visa’s Head of Mobile Bill Gajda (@billgajda) welcomes those in person and online to #MWC13.  For those attending the show, please drop byVisa’s booth  at Hall 6, Booth 6E40.

As we continue to feature highlights from the show  floor, we welcome you to share comments and questions around Mobile World Congress.  Follow us @VisaNews for updates from #MWC13!

Watch the clip below to see a welcome note from Bill:


Posted by: Lucas Mast, Visa Corporate Relations on February 26, 2013 at 6:26 am

Feb 22, 2013

Visa Showcases Mobile Payments at Mobile World Congress 2013

Next week, Visa heads to Barcelona, Spain, for Mobile World Congress 2013, the world’s premier mobile industry event, where we will showcase the latest Visa offerings in mobile payments and digital wallets.  The event in Barcelona always proves to be a stage for true mobile innovation – and at Visa, we continue to collaborate with mobile operators, financial institutions, device manufactures and technology providers to transform the way people shop, pay and get paid.

We are truly making mobile payments and digital wallets a reality for consumers around the world.

Our schedule is listed below so please stop by the booth (Fira, Hall 6 – Booth 6E40) and view the latest technology offerings, or join one of our events.  We’ll also be tweeting and blogging (and posting videos) from Mobile World Congress, so send along your questions or comments on trends in mobile.

Visa Press Conference
Monday, February 25, 4:30 p.m. CET
Fira, Hall 6 – Stand 6E40
Visa mobile initiatives are scheduled to be announced during the press briefing, which will be streamed live.

Building the Ecosystem for NFC Services
Bill Gajda, Head of Global Mobile Products, Visa Inc.
Monday, February 25, 2:00 p.m. CET
Fira, Hall 4, Conference Village, Auditorium 3
Visa’s Head of Global Mobile Products will discuss the current state of NFC, as NFC services are continuing to be rolled-out by mobile operators, payment providers and handset manufacturers across the world.

Visa and GSMA to Launch mWomen Research
Aletha Ling, Chief Operating Offer of Fundamo, a Visa company
Tuesday, February 26, 12:00 p.m. CET
Fira, Hall 4 – Conference Village, Room CC1 – 1.5)
Visa and GSMA will release a new five-country study, “Unlocking the Potential: Women and Mobile Financial Services in Emerging Markets,” offering insights on how mobile financial services can better support the complex financial lives of women at the base of the pyramid.

Retail Therapy; Enhancing the Shopping Experience through Mobile
Sandra Alzetta, Senior Vice President of Mobile for Visa Europe
Wednesday, February 27, 4 p.m. CET
Fira, Hall 4 – Conference Village – Auditorium 3
Visa’s Senior Vice President of Mobile for Visa Europe and industry experts will discuss the latest uses of mobile technology in the retail environment.


Posted by: Lucas Mast, Visa Corporate Relations on February 22, 2013 at 1:58 pm

Jan 28, 2013

New Year, Renewed Focus: Responsible Innovation

Today is Data Privacy Day, an annual event observed internationally to promote privacy awareness and education. While the day is an important reminder, creating and maintaining a data privacy culture is a year-round job — an important one as companies explore the explosion of data availability and the opportunities and responsibilities that come with it.

There’s no question that Visa — like most companies — is striving to evaluate how the age of “big data” will shape our business and how information can deliver greater value to cardholders, merchants, and clients.  But in this changing technology landscape, one guiding value remains constant at Visa: the importance of maintaining trust.  So no matter what 2013 brings, we resolve that payment innovations at Visa won’t come at the expense of our long-held commitments to security and privacy that have made us a trusted name in payments for over 50 years.

Hear more about Visa’s approach to responsible innovation:


Posted by: Russell Schrader, Visa Chief Privacy Officer on January 28, 2013 at 8:55 am

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

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