Viewpoints

Visa’s Blog – Visa Viewpoints

PERSPECTIVES ON DIGITAL CURRENCY

Feb 19, 2013

Cashless

Electronic Payments Modernize the Face of Government Benefits

From eCommerce to eBanking, digital commerce is changing the way people around the world shop, pay and be paid.  The Electronic Payments Association explains that the average business saves between $2,000 and $7,000 annually by using electronic payments rather than paper checks. 

 The cost savings, enhanced security, broad convenience and universal acceptance of electronic payments have recently prompted the U.S. government to mandate the trend and extend the benefits of digital payments to Social Security payment recipients.  Beginning March 1, 2013, paper checks for Social Security benefits will virtually disappear.

This will affect five million Americans still receiving Social Security or Supplemental Security Income benefits by check, and save taxpayers more than $100 million a year.  The switch will enhance security, help decrease fraud and eliminate theft of paper checks from mailboxes by issuing funds directly to the recipient, electronically.

It’s clear that more than ever technology is shaping the way we live nearly every aspect of our lives.  Single function currency like cash and check comes with significant limitations, especially when consumers shop online, move between payment devices and need their payments to move seamlessly with them and work reliably wherever they shop.  Using credit, debit, and prepaid cards is the norm for many Americans and this is one more step in the march away from paper checks and cash.

For more information on the transition to electronic benefits, visit: http://www.ssa.gov/

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Posted by: Jennifer Schulz, Global Head of eCommerce on February 19, 2013 at 4:19 pm

Jan 10, 2013

Will 2013 Be the Year of Cashless Restaurants?

The benefits of switching to a cashless operation have long been touted as an evolutionary asset of the restaurant industry. In such a competitive market, new technology must be researched, developed and introduced on an ongoing basis. This is especially true in New York City – a city known by many as a forefront of innovation and business, cultural, and educational opportunity. But could 2013 be the year that restaurants go cashless? Some trends are pointing to yes.

As the United States Treasury slows its printing presses and plastic becomes the preferred method of payment for consumers and businesses alike, industry experts predict more establishments will say goodbye to dollars and cents. There is simply no ignoring the convenience and security afforded by going cashless. Furthermore, if predictions are correct, 2013 will be a big year for mobile payment solutions among small and medium size businesses.

The popular New York City eatery Commerce is just one restaurant going cashless. In September 2009,  it announced that it would no longer be accepting cash in September 2009—and now the owners are scouting for locations in New York to expand the business to a cashless fast-food restaurant chain. “It’s because so little of our business is done in cash,” explained owner Tony Zazula, restaurant business veteran of over 20 years. “It’s the age of electronic transfers. There’s no reason to have two systems.”

As Zazula and his business partner Harold Moore are planning their new quick-casual eating venture, they remain steadfast in their card-only policy. Zazula explains, “It makes complete sense.”

Visa and Commerce have joined forces to produce the following mini-documentary about the restaurant and the new NYC spot opening soon. Hear directly from Zazula and Moore about why this initiative has been so successful, and how, as Zazula puts it, “going cashless allows [Commerce] to be true to [its] heart.”

Could 2013 be the year of cashless restaurants?

Also, be sure to check out this original video featuring Commerce’s cashless operation: http://currencyofprogress.visa.com/cashless-cuisine-debuts-in-new-yorks-west-village/

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Posted by: Lucas Mast, Visa Corporate Relations on January 10, 2013 at 7:05 am

Jul 5, 2012

Millennials Believe in a Cashless Future

Let’s take a moment to envision the future – flying cars, hover boards, cars that run on oxygen instead of petrol. Impossible? Maybe not but with new technology and creative minds, the impossible keeps becoming possible everyday.

In fact, even today, many often think that a totally cashless world is impossible. But when we spoke to 18 to 28 year olds in a recent survey – the Visa Connecting with the Millennials study – a large majority of them believe the future will be a cashless one.

With online shopping, mobile banking and virtual games already at our fingertips, it’s not difficult to envision a near future where payments can be made at a click, wave or tap with nary a paper bill or coin in sight. Be it for shopping or bill payments, eight in 10 Millennials believe that they will one day be able to do this all online.

Millennials today are already leading a digital life, with sixty three percent of respondents saying that they currently make online transactions on their personal computers or laptops, and nineteen percent on their mobile phones.

The continued convergence of web, mobile and social networks is revolutionizing the way people shop and pay. With Visa payWave now on more NFC-enabled mobile phones, and a burgeoning infrastructure in place to support the development and acceptance of NFC mobile payments, it seems the stars are aligning – confirming the very real possibility of a cashless future.

Take a look at the video below and hear for yourself what these Millennials from India, South Africa and Singapore think about financial management, payments and life in general here:

For the full report on Visa’s Connecting with the Milliennials study and additional details on the study, please visit: www.visa-asia.com/millennials.

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Posted by: Jag Mistry, Corporate Relations, Visa Inc. on July 5, 2012 at 9:45 am

Mar 27, 2012

Moving Closer to a Cashless Society

At Visa we often talk about the many benefits merchants get by accepting digital currency and shifting their businesses away from cash. In fact, it’s not just Visa. The migration away from cash has generated a lot of discussion on the Internet during the past few days.

In a blog on the Huffington Post, author David Wolman observes that the U.S. is well on its way to this kind of broad acceptance, reducing costs for merchants, consumers and society alike. In his words, cash is “inconvenience incarnate” and, with the advent of the latest technology like mobile, “cash is getting bumped further and further to the edges of our everyday lives.”

Some of that savings comes from not having to produce physical bills and coins. A piece in Slate.com points out that the sheer cost of producing U.S. coins is immense and inefficient: In 2011, “for the first time in history, both the five-cent and one-cent denominations cost double their value to produce.” And, notes the Atlantic Monthly: “Cash and coins are unwieldy. They’re heavy. They’re dirty.”

If you want a glimpse of what a cashless future might be like, all you need to do is look at what’s happening in Sweden. According to a recent AP news story, Sweden has converted almost its entire economy to digital currency, from bus fares to all kinds of business. In fact, cash today represents just 3 percent of the Swedish economy.

But convenience and reducing costs are just two of the advantages of acceptance. In Sweden, it’s also credited with a significant decline in cash crime, the AP reports: The number of bank robberies plunged from 110 in 2008 to 16 in 2011, the lowest level in 30 years. Armored car robberies are down, too. When thieves know people are unlikely to carry cash, they are less likely to target them for street crimes.

This is what motivates us to extend the benefits of digital currency and fulfill our mission of being best way to pay and be paid, everywhere and for everyone. It’s why we keep expanding the number of locations where Visa is accepted and the ways consumers can use their cards. The more merchants that understand the value of accepting digital currency – access to more consumers and business channels (such as online and mobile), guaranteed payment, an enhanced customer experience – the closer we will come to that cashless society.

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Posted by: Ted Carr, Visa Corporate Relations on March 27, 2012 at 9:07 am

Jul 6, 2011

MIGRATION WATCH: “As Plastic Reigns, the Treasury Slows its Printing Presses”

In an article titled, As Plastic Reigns, the Treasury Slows its Printing Presses, the New York Times reported that the Treasury Department has dropped the production of currency notes to some of the lowest levels in modern times. Production of $5 bills dropped to the lowest level in 30 years, and for the first time in that period, there were not any $10 bills printed. Further, the piece went on to conclude: 

“The meaning seems clear: The future is here. Cash is in decline.”

While the article points to several examples of U.S. businesses that have gone cashless, such as Commerce Restaurant in New York, Airlines and Manhattan taxis, we at Visa also see this trend taking place globally.

-       Hong Kong Taxis recently went cashless – eliminating the need for riders to fumble for cash. 

-       Indian Railways, the largest rail system in the world, brought fare payments online to reduce the interminable lines at train stations across the Country.

-       Small Indian businesses, ranging from high-end retailers to movie theatres, have started accepting cards citing security and convenience as key benefits.

As we continue to innovate new and better ways to pay and be paid, we believe the benefits of digital currency, like speed, security and convenience, will continue to accelerate the use of electronic payments around the world.

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Posted by: Will Valentine, Visa Corporate Relations on July 6, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Jan 26, 2011

Migration Watch: San Francisco Considers Opening Golden Gate to Cashless Toll

As we mentioned in a blog post back in July, bridges across the country have stopped accepting cash and coins at the toll booth and have begun charging drivers’ toll fees electronically. Now, one of the most iconic bridges in the world is contemplating “crossing over” to cashless, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.

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Posted by: Liz Nunan, Visa Corporate Relations on January 26, 2011 at 9:58 am