Visa’s Blog – Visa Viewpoints


Dec 3, 2013


Merchants Rack Up $7.8 Billion in Online Sales on US-issued Visa Cards in Just Five Days

‘Tis the season of deep discounts, shopping-friendly apps, mobile devices and free shipping to drive record online sales. From Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, online sales – across smart phones, tablets and PCs – from U.S. Visa accountholders increased to $7.8 billion, up 30% over last year. Cyber Monday alone accounted for $2.6 billion in online spending, an increase of 28% over 2012.

Already, we see a number of factors contributing to these Visa numbers:

  • Shoppers have six fewer days this year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, making it the shortest holiday shopping season in more than a decade.
  • Bad weather in the East kept shoppers homebound, shopping online and away from the mall crush.

For more details on the numbers and to see how this year compares to previous years, see the infographic below.


By Wayne Best, Chief Economist


[Note to media/analysts: For any questions related to holiday shopping data, please contact us at [email protected]]






Posted by: Wayne Best, Chief Economist, Visa on December 3, 2013 at 10:39 am

Oct 10, 2013

Stress Test Prepares VisaNet for the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

For many, the changing colors of leaves not only signify autumn, but the transition into the holiday season.  Here at Visa, we don’t wait for the changing colors to prepare for the heavy onslaught of shopping during the most wonderful time of the year.

Every summer, we run our annual Stress Test which pushes VisaNet – the world’s largest retail payments network – to its capacity in order to determine how we can better prepare our systems for the busiest time of the year. In order to do this, a group of VisaNet engineers packs their bags – which include hardware and software that emulates our network – and goes to Gaithersburg, Maryland where an IBM state-of-the-art testing facility is located.

Once there, our engineers create a mirror image of VisaNet’s authorization systems and the fun begins. For five days, they bombard the systems with simulated transactions. The objective is to validate the hardware and software configuration against expected peak message rates. At the same time, we look into extreme message rate scenarios to uncover any possible bottlenecks that may need future remediation.

After the test is concluded, the VisaNet team determines the best configuration to maintain our higher levels of security and reliability when millions of transactions from all over the world hit the network during the holiday shopping season. As a result, they also come back from Gaithersburg with a number that represents the maximum processing capacity VisaNet can handle, which later is stamped on coffee mugs and distributed to the team involved in the test. This year’s “mug number” – as we like to call it – is 47,000 transaction messages per second, which is a huge step forward from 2012’s peak capacity of 30,000 transaction messages per second! 

While VisaNet only processes about a third of its capacity today, the Stress Test demonstrates Visa’s commitment to providing consumers, businesses and governments around the world with a reliable form of payment today and in the future. By future-proofing our network to handle incremental volume – whether coming from newly banked consumers in developing markets or from additional transactional data from emerging channels like mobile – we’re ensuring that consumers all over the world can always count on Visa to securely and conveniently handle their payments.


Posted by: Manny Trillo, Head of Global Transaction Services on October 10, 2013 at 8:15 am

Category: VIsaNet

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

Mar 5, 2013

A Look Inside the Visa Network Center Powering the Global Economy

The next time you’re in a restaurant and pay using your Visa card, think about this scenario. In a fraction of the time it takes the server to take your order, your transaction will travel instantly over VisaNet to Visa’s network operation center located somewhere on the east coast of the United States.

VisaNet is the largest electronics payment network in the world, spanning the globe and supporting electronic payments in countries from Australia to Zimbabwe. The network is in charge of core processing services like authorization, clearing and settlement and can process a single transaction anywhere in the world in just 1.4 seconds. VisaNet is capable of processing more than 24,000 transactions per second and features some of the most advanced risk and fraud detection systems in the payments industry.

To better understand how VisaNet works and how Visa protects each transaction, two Australian journalists were granted access to the network operation center. These two journalists got a behind-the-scenes look at the home of VisaNet, giving them a glimpse of what goes into reliably and securely processing 11,000 transactions per second.

For your own chance to go inside and take a closer look at Visa’s state-of-the-art facility, we invite you to watch this segment from Australia’s Current Affair.


Posted by: Erika White, Visa Corporate Relations on March 5, 2013 at 8:45 am