Visa’s Blog – Visa Viewpoints


Sep 4, 2013

Technology & Innovation

Secrets of Small Business Success: Put On Your Innovator’s Hat

We are more are half way through our special series of uncovering the secrets of small business success with Donna Fenn. If you’ve missed a post, click back through and read some of her expert insights and interviews with successful small business owners. This month, Donna will dive into ‘Nurturing Your Entrepreneurial Spirit’. Her first article uncovers four steps on how to stay on top of your innovation game to continue cultivating your inner entrepreneur.


Janet – @jzablock


Put On Your Innovator’s Hat

By Donna Fenn, Small Business Author and Expert

Whether you’re a local retailer or CEO of the trendiest new tech startup, you can’t afford not to think like an innovator.  Granted, that can be tough when you’re bogged down with the day-to-day details of running your company. But if you don’t keep your creative juices flowing, you’re in danger of stagnation or, worse, extinction. You may not be making innovation a top priority, but you can bet your competitors are.  Here are four ways to stay at the top of your innovation game:

  1. Step outside your industry. “I surround myself with the right people and ask the right questions,” says Justin Brown, CEO of First Global Xpress, a shipping company. “But I don’t speak to people in my industry.”  Brown, 34 and a serial entrepreneur, thinks he learns more by talking to smart people in other industries and asking them “how they view the future” so that he can get a fix on supply and demand trends that will direct him toward new opportunities for his own businesses. You might also consider attending trade shows outside your own industry; go with the intention to learn and gain a new perspective.
  2. Solve real world problems. Innovation doesn’t happen in a void – it occurs when you solve real problems for potentially large numbers of people. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you need to strive for Apollo 13-level innovation. Look  everywhere for pain points and know that small changes can have a big impact. If you need proof, take a look at Quirky.  This social product innovation company has ordinary people put innovative spins on products as mundane as dustpans, beach bags, and power strips.  The common theme: every new product improves consumers’ lives by solving a common problem.
  3. Foster a culture of innovation. Every employee at your company should be granted the power, the freedom and the responsibility to be an innovator. That could be as simple as putting up a few white boards for brainstorming, or as formal as Google’s 20% program, which allowed all employees to use 20% of their time on side projects that spark their passions.  Sound extravagant? While Google is reportedly winding down the program, consider that Gmail and Google News were 20% projects!
  4. Don’t be afraid to fail.  “Our team likes to say ‘fail fast and fail cheaply,’” says Victor Hwang, CEO of T2 Venture Creation, a venture capital and ecosystem design studio in Silicon Valley. If you don’t have a basic comfort level with failure, you’ll never muster up the chutzpah to take a risk.  What’s riskier than failing? Never trying. “You don’t know what’s as the top of the mountain until you’ve been at the bottom of the valley,” says Hwang.  He suggests that you surround yourself with a support system of family, friends, and/or peers who are willing to remind you that failure isn’t lethal.

Disclaimer: Practice recommendations are intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for legal advice. When implementing any new strategy or practice, you should consult with your legal counsel to determine what laws and regulations may apply to your specific circumstances. Visa makes no representations and warranties as to the information contained herein.


Posted by: Janet Zablock, Head of Global Small Business, Visa Inc. on September 4, 2013 at 9:12 am

Jun 17, 2013

Enabling the Future of Payments Through VisaNet

Technology continues to transform payments and it is changing the way consumers all over the world shop, pay and get paid. The advent of the Internet, mobile phones and social networks has started an unprecedented expansion of the payments ecosystem and ignited a series of innovations. From eCommerce and cross-border remittances, to mobile wallets and acceptance devices, consumers never before had so many options on how and where to transact.

As the consumer shopping experience evolves, so does the backbone technology that enables transactions from all over the world to be authorized in less than a second and settled to the penny every time. VisaNet, our global payments network, is an integral part of this backbone. It connects more than two billion debit, credit and prepaid accounts to nearly 15,000 financial institutions and 36 million merchant locations in more than 200 countries around the world. In its data centers, more than 82 billion transactions in 175 currencies are processed yearly, representing US$6.5 trillion in total volume.   

For more than 50 years Visa’s network has played a key role in reducing cash spend across the globe. When we started as a pilot in Fresno, California, in 1957, we could not imagine that electronic payments would turn into one of the best success stories of the 20th century. Today, it is hard to imagine a world without them. From a cup of coffee to a refrigerator, we pay for nearly everything with payment cards. They stimulate economic growth, reduce inefficiencies and benefit consumers, businesses and governments around the globe.

To stay one step ahead of the global adoption of electronic payments, we’ve continuously expanded and enhanced VisaNet. We have built and acquired secure payment gateways, such as Cybersource and Fundamo that enable merchants, financial institutions and mobile network operators to more easily connect to Visa and offer consumers innovative new ways to pay. From mobile offers and transaction alerts delivered via SMS text message, to mobile payments on the go and at physical retailers, the pace of innovation in the payments industry is exciting. However, we have an obligation to innovate responsibly, and ensure that the core attributes of security, reliability and trust in Visa payments applies to new forms of payments. Our goal is simple: Continue to be the best way to pay, for everyone, everywhere.


Posted by: Matt Quinlan, Chief Technology Officer, Visa Inc. on June 17, 2013 at 1:51 pm

May 3, 2013

The Results Are In: Visa’s TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon Generates Fresh Thinking on Payment Security Education

After two days of panels, a Startup Battlefield and a 24 hour hackathon, TechCrunch wrapped up another successful Disrupt NY event with thousands of attendees.  Visa joined in on the fun by sponsoring the Disrupt hackathon, where 700 developers descended on New York City for a chance to win $8,500 from Visa.

My Visa colleagues Lee Mokri and Sofia Mata-Leclerc were on-site at the hackathon helping developers throughout the night and eventually awarding the prizes.  The Hackathon was a way to generate more awareness and create a forum to discuss improving payment security, and make learning about security more engaging and digestible.  We tapped into the incredible creative talent of the developer community to take a new approach to this challenge.  After working through the night, developers submitted numerous creative concepts, making it a tough choice for the judges.

The grand prize winner, Theo Rushin, Jr., created a game designed for kids and parents to play and learn about online security, together.  The runner-up, Frank Denbow, was recognized for creating a phishing game that delivers tips throughout each stage of play.



Here’s a peek inside the hackathon:


Posted by: Mark Norris, Senior Business Leader, Emerging Products, Visa Inc on May 3, 2013 at 4:22 pm

Dec 6, 2012

Analyst Viewpoints: IntelliLink offers Card Solutions for B2B

Last week I shared Patricia McGinnis’ perspective on the future of the paper-based payments. In this second video featuring the payment industry vet from Mercator Advisory Group, McGinnis shares her viewpoint on how Visa IntelliLink Solutions functions as a unique tool in the B2B space. She thinks (among other things) that the flexibility that comes with IntelliLink allows corporations to create distinct card programs with specialized rules, compliance, auditability and risk controls. Check out this video for more of her thoughts on B2B card solutions. Also, I’d be eager to hear readers opinions on this tool so let me know what you think!



Posted by: Erika White, Visa Corporate Relations on December 6, 2012 at 9:34 am

Nov 29, 2012

Analyst Viewpoints: The Future of the Paper-based Payments in the B2B Space

Like many experts, Patricia McGinnis, a payments industry vet with Mercator Advisory Group, foresees a steady increase in card-based payments. She also notes that this shift is already well underway with checks accounting for only about half of B2B payments in the U.S.

I sat down with McGinnis recently. She’s been looking at trends in the industry for more than 15 years and always has an interesting perspective especially when it comes to the commercial market. During this conversation, I asked her how she saw the shift from paper-based to electronic payments playing out in the commercial space. While there is a huge opportunity, McGinnis notes that the opportunity is there for the taking and there are some challenges in the card market that need conquering. Check out this video for more of her thoughts. Where do you see commercial payments in 2013?


Posted by: Erika White, Visa Corporate Relations on November 29, 2012 at 9:42 am

Aug 16, 2012

Visa Competes for a Voice at SXSW: Vote Now!

While South by Southwest (SXSW), the annual convention in Austin that brings together the best in music, independent film and emerging technologies, isn’t for several months, we have a favor to ask.

SXSW is the premier destination for the “who’s who” of technology and innovation, and payments is a hot topic. Visa submitted three compelling future of payments-related panels for SXSW’s Interactive Festival that will discuss how technology is going to impact the way you pay and get paid in the next coming years and we need your help to get us in!

Each year the SXSW community – which includes you – is invited to vote on the agenda. Your vote dictates thirty percent of the overall selection criteria, so make your vote count and choose Visa.

Voting closes on August 31st, so we only have two weeks left. Here is what you need to do:

  • Register: To vote, you have to register. All that’s required is your name and an email address. Fill out the form, hit submit, and an email verification will be sent to you. Even if you registered last year, you need to re-register this year.
  • Socialize your Vote:  Want your vote to go the extra mile? Include comments. The quality of feedback is also weighed in the voting process, so make sure you log in via your favorite social network and share what you think. We want your feedback to help shape the panels.

See Visa panels and click to vote once registered!

Shirt? Skirt? Latte? How We’ll Pay in 2020 

We’ve seen our payment systems continuously evolve over the last century. Today, we’re about to embark on another major milestone in the payment industry – and an entirely new group of stakeholders has been shaking up the conversation: digital wallet service providers. During this panel, we’ll bring together various financial “disruptors” as well as traditional payment leaders, who’ll discuss and provide insight on how payments have evolved and what they will look like in the next decade. The panel will go in depth about new technologies that are revolutionizing our payment systems and how and when consumers and merchants will fully adapt them in their everyday lives.

Click here to vote for ‘Shirt? Skirt? How We’ll Pay in 2020′


From Mom and Pop to Y-Not Shops

The GenY crowd is said to be the most entrepreneurial in history. Technology is now the great enabler for all businesses, but Generation Y entrepreneurs have an added advantage: a lifetime of exposure to interactive digital devices has given them an enviable comfort level with new technology and the ability to intuitively navigate and exploit the Internet.  During this panel, we’ll bring together young, emerging entrepreneurs with well-known small business advocates to explain why mom-and-pop shops are no longer that. It is the young entrepreneur who is setting up shops these days, whether it is a food truck, the latest app, or a time-saving technology.

Click here to vote for ‘From Mom and Pop to Y-Not Shops


Mobile Money – Trust, Probability and the Future of Payments

Technology companies, financial institutions, payment networks and mobile network operators are working to transform the lives of consumers and are counting mobile technology to offer new financial services and electronic payments that promise to impact our lives.  As the industry claims that consumers will have choices like never before, what does the definitive future actually entail? How are consumers going to start? This panel will answer everything you want and need to know about mobile payments: Where the technology currently stands, what options will come to fruition and what will need to happen to get us there.

Click here to vote for ‘Mobile Money – Tryst, Probability and the Future of Payments


Posted by: Lucas Mast, Visa Corporate Relations on August 16, 2012 at 6:51 pm

Aug 14, 2012

CNN’s “Marketplace Africa” Talks Mobile Technology With Visa’s Elizabeth Buse

Elizabeth Buse, Visa’s Group President, APCEMEA, recently sat down with CNN’s “Marketplace Africa” to discuss the importance of mobile technology in reaching the unbanked.

In the segment, Buse also explains Visa’s distinguishing characteristics in comparison to other mobile money programs and the role that financial education plays in enabling people to take full advantage of having access to financial services.

Watch the segment here:


Posted by: Lucas Mast, Visa Corporate Relations on August 14, 2012 at 9:12 am

Aug 13, 2012

Postcards from London: U.S. Chip Cards Excel In Trials Around the City

Just in time to travel to the London 2012 Olympic Games, my new Visa EMV chip corporate credit card arrived in the mail.  This type of card was new to me,  so I put it to the test in London, where this technology is more commonplace.  One place I tested it out was Upper Playground, a cool store in London’s Soho neighborhood that features the work of local artists.



Making purchases was quick and simple. The main difference was that instead of swiping my card, I inserted it in the terminal.  Then I simply signed for my purchase, just as I normally would in the U.S.

Other American travelers at the Olympics this year are likely to have been carrying their new chip cards with them, too.  That’s because last year, Visa announced plans to accelerate the migration to chip technology in the U.S.  Since that time, U.S. financial institutions have reported issuing an estimated 1.5 million chip cards as of June 30, 2012, and we are continuing to see positive momentum as the industry moves toward more broad-based adoption of this technology.

Why is chip coming to the U.S. now?  EMV contact and contactless technology will help lay the foundation for NFC-based mobile payments, which we expect to take-off in the coming years.  Chip also provides an added layer of security to transactions and enhanced acceptance for Americans traveling abroad.

Being at the center of innovation is nothing new for Visa.  Bringing chip to the U.S. is another way that we are paving the way forward.


Posted by: Lucas Mast, Visa Corporate Relations on August 13, 2012 at 11:45 am

Aug 10, 2012

Forbes “Visionary Leaders” Series: Why Visa is a Tech Company

Forbes’ publisher Rich Karlgaard recently sat down with Mike Dreyer, Visa’s Global Head of Technology and CIO, and Bill Gajda, Head of Global Mobile Products.

The interview, part of Forbes’ “Visionary Leaders” series and entitled “Why Visa is a Tech Company”, highlights the technology that makes up Visa’s network and the role Visa plays in keeping the network reliable and secure, especially as Visa uses mobile technology and innovation to tap into new and developing markets.

Watch the video below:


Posted by: Lucas Mast, Visa Corporate Relations on August 10, 2012 at 9:14 am

Aug 6, 2012

Postcards from London: Showcasing the Future of Mobile Payments

In town to showcase the future of mobile payments at the London 2012 Olympic Games, we caught up with Visa’s Head of Global Mobile Products Bill Gajda to get his perspective on mobile innovation, address questions around security and even do a live demo at a local store.




Posted by: Lucas Mast, Visa Corporate Relations on August 6, 2012 at 4:42 pm