Visa’s Blog – Visa Viewpoints


Nov 12, 2013


Holiday Shoppers Prepare to Hit the Web




As consumers gear up for the holidays, it’s clear we’re in for another growth year in eCommerce.  According to new data from the Visa Spending Intentions survey, 87 percent of people plan to do at least some of their holiday shopping online this year, with 40 percent saying they will do half or more gift-buying online.  That’s good news for retailers, knowing that 72 percent of people also plan to spend more or the same amount of money on gifts this year, compared to last year.

In the first 10 months of 2013, eCommerce sales are up 17 percent from the same period last year, and Visa domestic eCommerce transactions exceeded one billion dollars on 211 days, an increase of 19 percent from 2012.

Other key findings from the Visa Spending Intentions survey include:

Electronic Payments are the Norm

  • 25 percent of respondents plan to use their mobile phone or tablet for holiday shopping this year, up from 22 percent last year
  • Credit and debit cards will be the primary form of payments through the holidays, with 56 percent of people planning to use their credit card and 30 percent to use a debit card

The Holidays are Big Business, for Big and Small Businesses

  • Almost 50 percent expect to spend between $301 and $800, while 14 percent plan to spend more than $800
  • More than 85 percent of consumers are as, or more, inclined to shop at a small business this year, compared to last year

Beat the Crowds, with a Tap of the Finger

  • Online holiday shopping has become the preferred way to shop for a number of reasons, including:
    • Fits my schedule better/Can shop anytime (67 percent)
    • Better prices online (61 percent)
    • Dislike battling crowds (54 percent)

Each year, millions of shoppers rely on Visa for holiday-related purchases, providing a near real-time view into consumer behavior. If you wish to receive regular updates throughout the holiday season, send an email to or follow ongoing updates at

* 2013 VisaNet Data

Survey Methodology:

This survey was conducted for Visa by Prosper Insights and Analytics via an online sample of over 4,600 U.S. consumers aged 18 and over.


Posted by: Wayne Best, Chief Economist, Visa on November 12, 2013 at 7:00 am

Mar 6, 2013

New World Economic Forum Report Underscores the Importance of Data Collection and Use in Context

Last week the World Economic Forum release a report called, “Unlocking the Value of Personal Data: From Collection to Usage.” As part of the Forum’s steering board on personal data, I was able to contribute to the report, which explores the importance of unlocking the value of data in a way that preserves the trust of all stakeholders.

One important theme in the report is the value of managing consumer expectations through context setting. What that means is the use of personal data should be understandable when compared to what is being shared and why. Most consumers don’t need or want every detail of every data flow. What they are ultimately looking for is clear benefits from use of their data. For that they need context.

At Visa we understand the importance of context. In the Visa system, for example, consumers are delighted when analytics are used to identify attempted fraud on their accounts. I have repeatedly heard from consumers who applaud us for working with their bank to flag a suspicious purchase. It makes them feel safer. It is only possible if we use their own shopping behavior to look for patterns. But this data use is expected — and welcomed — by consumers because they understand the context.  And they support its purpose.

As companies explore new ways to use data and the opportunities and responsibilities that come with them, they need to keep the importance of context and consumer expectations in mind. When consumers understand the context, they feel a sense of transparency and control. With context, there is trust. And with trust, there is opportunity.


Posted by: Ellen Richey, Chief Enterprise Risk Officer on March 6, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Feb 19, 2013

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:


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

Nov 15, 2012

The Economist Delves Into the “War of the Virtual Wallets”

Hailing the recent commercial availability of by Visa as “another milestone on the journey to digital cash” the Economist provides an overview of the major players and landscape in the digital wallet space in “War of the Virtual Wallets“, including perspective from Visa’s global head of eCommerce, Jennifer Schulz.

While noting that the competition in the virtual wallet space is white-hot, the article asserts that Visa is well-positioned as the battle intensifies.  Some Visa-specific statistics noted in the article to support this prediction include:

*More than 2.3 billion Visa cards in circulation

*Over $8 billion in total Visa credit, debit and prepaid transactions processed in 2011

*Significant technology investments and acquisitions in developed markets, including and Square

*Strategic investments in developing and emerging markets, including Monitise and Fundamo (a Visa company)

*Strong relationships with large member banks, including 50+ supporting

Please click here to read the entire article.


Posted by: Ryan Donovan, Corporate Relations on November 15, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Oct 23, 2012 by Visa and U.S. Bank Make It Easier to Shop Online This Holiday Season

As the holidays approach, Visa is committed to delivering the very latest in online convenience and security, where consumers are no longer required to share personal account, bill-to and ship-to information at checkout.

Today, U.S. Bank announced its plan to offer by Visa, streamlining the online holiday shopping experience for their customers using a debit or credit card. Today’s news builds on our integration with Pittsburgh-based PNC Bank, which will bring our wallet service to more than 1.2 million PNC Virtual Wallet customer accounts.

U.S. Bank customers will be able to enroll their existing Visa and other payment card accounts, allowing them to buy presents online by simply entering a username and password at checkout.

Visa’s close relationship with U.S. Bank makes buying tickets to visit family or purchasing that perfect gift online easier than ever, allowing their customers to get what they need, and get on with life.

So put down the car keys, throw a log on the fire and let us help you simplify your holiday shopping!


Posted by: Jennifer Schulz, Global Head of eCommerce on October 23, 2012 at 8:48 am

Aug 8, 2012

Postcard from London: Excited Olympic Travelers from Around the World

The spirit of the London 2012 Olympic Games is alive and well!  The sun is shining,  the fans are cheering and the athletes are realizing their dream of competing on behalf of their country.

We wanted to capture some of that excitement, so we set out on the streets of London to talk to Visa cardholders from around the world.  We asked them to share their thoughts about the Olympic Games,  supporting their countries and athletes, shopping and their overall experience using their Visa cards.

We also took a minute to demonstrate the Olympics-themed Visa payWave application showcased on the new Samsung S III, giving them a glimpse into the future of mobile payments.

Thanks to the fans for making this video possible!


Posted by: Lucas Mast, Visa Corporate Relations on August 8, 2012 at 5:45 pm

Jul 31, 2012

Postcards From London: Use Your Visa to Cycle Around the City


From the historic landmarks to the distinctive neighborhoods, London is a great city to see by bicycle. And whether you are a tourist or a local, hopping on a bicycle and touring the city is as easy as paying with your credit or debit card at a docking station.

Barclays Cycle Hire is an innovative, adventurous and environmentally responsible way to see the sights of London. The distinctive blue cycles are located in convenient hubs across the city for less than you would spend on a bottle of water.  And when you are done riding, simply dock it at another station and walk away.

And while it might not be as exhilarating as breaking away from the pelaton like the cyclists in the London 2012 Olympic Games, it will definitely provide a convenient and healthy way to see London.


Posted by: Lucas Mast, Visa Corporate Relations on July 31, 2012 at 4:13 pm

Mar 13, 2012

No Coins Required: Card-Enabled Parking Meters Grow in Popularity Nationwide

A recent article in the Washington Post noted the installation of forty-one parking meters in Bethesda, Maryland, that now accept payment via credit and debit cards, rather than just cash.  This reflects a growing trend of card-enabled parking meters popping up all over the country, from San Francisco to Los Angeles to Washington D.C.  It also speaks to the larger migration from cash to digital currency in the U.S.  Since 2000, electronic payments (including card brands) have increased share of personal consumption expenditure from 20% to 32% (CY 2010).[1]

Smaller municipalities have jumped on the parking-meter bandwagon as well, and some with significant gusto.  Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (population 74,900), recently added 300 card-enabled meters to their existing 100, partly as a result of consumer demand as the new parking meters have been the top request of downtown shoppers, according to the manager of the Downtown Bethlehem Association.  The city has certainly taken note:  according to Bethlehem Parking Authority Executive Director Tom Hartley, “the increased meter rates have more than doubled the authority’s meter revenues…the first two months of 2012 brought in $218,474 compared with $106,670 last year.”

The new meters require a capital investment, but as shown, they can provide more revenue than traditional meters because they are equipped with sensors that detect when cars pull out of a parking spot to absorb any unused time.  For drivers, it means less hassle looking for change to feed hungry meters.   

It seems the new meters are a win-win for all parties concerned, and that’s the kind of progress we support.  Learn more about the ways Visa digital currency is innovating to make transit more efficient for governments and consumers at Currency of Progress.

[1] SEC filings and press releases for card brands and IHS Global insight for PCE


Posted by: Albert Coscia, Visa Corporate Relations on March 13, 2012 at 2:30 pm

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 8, 2011

Consumers’ Association of Canada Study Brings the Consumer Voice to the Table

When it comes to making purchases, a fundamental consumer expectation is that the price advertised will be the price paid at checkout. Penalizing the consumer through added fees or “surcharges” is a practice Visa strongly opposes and is viewed as harmful for unfairly shifting the cost of electronic payments onto consumers.

Recently, the Consumers’ Association of Canada (CAC) released study results on Canadian attitudes towards choice and surcharging at the point of sale. The study affirmed Visa’s strong, pro-consumer sentiments – consumers do not want to be penalized for using their preferred method of payment. In fact, 84% of Canadians oppose surcharging when they choose to pay by credit card and 90% believe they should have the right to choose their preferred payment method be it cash, debit or credit.

The Canadian Competition Bureau is attempting to eliminate Visa’s “no-surcharging and honour all cards” protections for consumers. This is an action that Visa vehemently contests.

Visa’s ‘no surcharging’ policy was created specifically to protect consumers from merchants who seek to impose checkout fees, punishing consumers who choose the convenience, security and reliability of Visa over other methods of payment. 90% of those surveyed by the CAC were unaware of the Competition Bureau initiative to allow merchants to reject a particular form of payment. Visa’s “honour all cards” protection was implemented to prevent merchants from reaching into consumers’ wallets and dictating which payment products they can use. The policy requires that any merchant who elects to accept Visa products for payment must accept all Visa-branded cards. Canadian merchants are able to choose to accept only credit or debit domestically issued cards without having to accept both according to the Voluntary Code of Conduct for the Debit and Credit Industry. Removing this pro-consumer policy will lead to consumer confusion and eliminate consumer choice at the point-of-sale.

Evidence indicates that in those few countries that permit surcharging today, including Australia and the United Kingdom, many merchants have been penalizing their customers with excessive surcharges that far exceed the cost of card acceptance. Surcharges in Australia are now as high as 10 per cent; well above the one to three percent merchants pay their banks for card acceptance. In fact, the Australian situation has become so contentious, that the Payments System Board of the Reserve Bank of Australia is now undertaking a review of their surcharge standards.

Visa remains committed to empowering consumers through a choice of products and resources that allow them to conveniently and responsibly manage their finances. As such, it’s critical that Canadian policymakers review the findings of the CAC study to understand why there will be resounding opposition to any attempts to impose additional checkout fees or dictating which payments products a consumer can use.


Posted by: Melissa Cassar, Visa Corporate Relations, Canada on December 8, 2011 at 7:00 am