Viewpoints

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PERSPECTIVES ON DIGITAL CURRENCY

Jan 10, 2013

Currency of Progress

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

Sep 26, 2012

Money Management Made Easy

Helping college students manage money is an issue for millions of families today. For Japanese student Sho Ninagawa and his parents, Sho’s opportunity to study abroad at the University of Colorado presented a unique challenge with respect to money management. How could they quickly and conveniently provide Sho with funds when needed?  How could he avoid carrying large sums of cash? And how could they help him manage his spending?

A Visa Debit card provided the solution they needed.  The account made it possible to conveniently deposit funds in Japan for his access in the U.S., as well as solve concerns about his safety and the security of making payments—no need to carry large sums of cash that put him at risk of loss or theft, and Visa’s security features protect Sho and his family from fraud.  Plus, his spending could be tracked and managed, easing another parental concern.

We visited Sho and his parents to learn more about their experience with Visa Debit. See how it benefitted them in our video interview.

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Posted by: Lisa Kimberlin, Global Corporate Relations on September 26, 2012 at 10:59 am

Sep 24, 2012

Postcards from Russia: Oh, the Traffic

Getting around in Russia is no joke. It is one part ballet, one part Nascar, and one part slo-mo James Bond. Talk of traffic in Russia is like talk of weather in Chicago; it’s the constant life companion and an easy topic of conversation. Distances in Russian cities are not measured by kilometers or in miles but in minutes and, more frequently, hours.

That is to say that driving in Russia is an art (one perhaps too intense for my easygoing Hawaii driving roots).  A keen practitioner of this art was Mikael, our driver with a fondness for designer sunglasses and shirts, an appreciation for pop and club mixes—and a mobile POS terminal that accepts electronic payments always at the ready.

When we found out he accepted Visa, we couldn’t resist finding out more.

Here’s a picture of our interview with Mikael, which we filmed on a breezy side street in the Sochi. As we talked, he expressed his excitement for the coming Sochi 2014 Wummer Olympics, pride in his home city and the convenience of accepting Visa. Stay tuned for the full interview which will be posted on Currency of Progress.

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Posted by: Noelle Chun, Corporate Relations, Visa on September 24, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Sep 11, 2012

Canadian Economy Gets Boost From Electronic Payments (Study)

The benefits of electronic payments for consumers, business and governments are well understood but often difficult to quantify in real numbers. How do you measure the value to consumers who don’t have to worry about not having enough cash in their pockets; or for businesses that lower their cash handling costs and governments that improve efficiencies.

Visa Canada recently commissioned IHS Global Insight, a leading economic and financial consulting firm, to model and measure the total value and impact of electronic payments in the Canadian economy. The results are significant: electronic payments contributed $196 billion to Canada’s economic growth over the past 25 years. That’s equal to nearly 25 percent of the $786 billion in total GDP growth.

Benefits of Electronic Payments in Canada

Here are some of the report’s key findings:

  • Between 1991 and 2010, electronic payments contributed an additional $3.1 billion in economic activity to the travel and tourism sector.
  • Canadian businesses that use commercial card programs can better manage, track and control their travel and entertainment and procurement expenses.  Commercial card programs have been proven to reduce costs by as much as $71 per transaction when compared to a traditional purchase-order process.1 Across North America, commercial card use drives $38 billion in savings for businesses annually.
  • Online activity doubled over five years to $15.3 billion in 2010. In 2010, more than 11 million online shoppers spending an average of $1,460 every year.

To read more about the study, visit Canada’s Currency of Progress site or download the study here .

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Posted by: Wayne Best, Chief Economist, Visa on September 11, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Jul 31, 2012

Postcards from London: London Taxis Take Visa

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When I told friends I was traveling  to London, the first advice many offered was to carry cash in case I needed to take one of London’s famous black taxis around town.  While I was planning on riding the Underground as much as possible,  the expected traffic around the London 2012 Olympic Games meant I needed to be prepared for whatever transportation option would be the fastest.

So when I took my first taxi in London, I was pleasantly surprised to find that he not only accepted Visa, but that he enthusiastically did so.  He shared with me that people who pay with Visa tend to tip better by a substantial percentage and it requires him to keep less cash on hand. 

The London taxi driver’s view was similar to those of drivers interviewed for our Currency of Progress video ”New York Cabs Embrace Digital Currency“.

I’m off to another location in London–but expect more dispatches as I explore Visa acceptance and highlight Visa’s sponsorship of the 2012 London Olympic Games!

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Posted by: Lucas Mast, Visa Corporate Relations on July 31, 2012 at 1:14 am

Dec 7, 2011

Creating Opportunities for Mexico’s Underserved

If seeing is believing, then my recent trip to Mexico re-opened my eyes to the real benefits of digital currency, particularly in the lives of low-income families around the world. During a whirlwind four-day trip, we captured the experience of Angélica Cruz Romero, who receives her government benefits on the Oportunidades Visa card, as part of the Currency of Progress video series.

Angélica lives in a modest home on the outskirts of San Juan del Rio, a city of 120,000 people in the state of Querétaro. She is one of millions of formerly unbanked or under-banked Mexican consumers who receives social benefits on a prepaid debit card that keeps her money safe and can be used anywhere Visa is accepted.

As part of the visit, we also interviewed Bernardo González, general associate director of Bansefi, the government-owned issuer of the Visa card. In the coming months, Bansefi aims to include all 6.5 million beneficiaries in the Visa debit card program as part of its long-term goal to reduce poverty by bringing more Mexicans into the formal financial system.  “This is absolute[ly] the door to financial inclusion,” he said.

For Angélica, receiving funds electronically gives her peace-of-mind, flexibility and the promise of a better life for her family. I’m very optimistic because I’m taking my children on the right path,” she said. “And this program has helped me a lot because I am heading in the right direction where I wasn’t before.”

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Posted by: Richard Martin, Visa Corporate Relations on December 7, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Oct 3, 2011

Currency of Progress Expands to Brazil

When Currency of Progress launched in the United States in 2009, we told the story of a Brazilian father – and passionate soccer fan – who could finally take his son to a match thanks to the safety and speed of ticketless entry at the stadium, powered by Visa digital currency. 

Today, Visa is launching a Currency of Progress website just for Brazil, providing Visa with a robust platform for communicating the benefits of digital currency to key local influencers. Brazil is the latest of six priority countries where we’re activating local sites, including India, Japan, Mexico, and Russia, with China planned for the end of the calendar year. We’ve also redesigned the Currency of Progress global website and developed supporting materials that tell the breadth of Visa’s story – from our impact on economies to the unique value of our global network, VisaNet.

We believe that when influential stakeholders see these stories – spanning the globe from India to Brazil to the United States – they will develop a deeper understanding of the important and positive effects Visa has on individuals, businesses and governments.

As stakeholders visit the site and learn more about Visa’s Currency of Progress, they will be able to understand the ways Visa is:

  • Supporting business by showing how Visa technology and payment products help merchants manage their cash flow, improve their bottom line and grow their business.  
  • Empowering people by giving individuals fast, convenient, reliable and secure access to their money, empowering them with the tools they need to live their lives.
  • Growing economies by facilitating the shift to electronic payments from cash and checks thereby delivering tangible benefits to economies.
  • Partnering with government to improve efficiencies and empower their citizens — from the distribution of benefits in digital currency to the procurement of vital goods and services electronically.  

Check out the latest stories at http://currencyofprogress.visa.com/.

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Posted by: Ruben Osta, Country Manager, Brazil on October 3, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Feb 7, 2011

Digital Currency Hits the Sweet Spot

Chocolate and Valentine’s Day. This pairing goes back at least 150 years when Richard Cadbury in the U.K. created the first heart-shaped candy box for Valentine’s Day. Today, couples, young and old, consider chocolate to be an indispensible part of this romantic celebration. In fact, according to Nielsen research, more than 58 million pounds of chocolate candy will be sold during Valentine’s week. For artisan chocolatiers, like John and Tracey Anderson of Woodhouse Chocolate, Valentine’s week is among their busiest of the year.
 
Operating from a shop in Napa, California, the Andersons have expanded their business across the U.S. by opening a virtual storefront online. “We knew that we needed to be a Web-based business,” says Tracy, “and we hope someday to do at least 75 percent of our business online. It’s currently 50 percent and growing.” The Andersons credit electronic payments as a catalyst for the growth of their business. “There is a cost of accepting cash,” says John. “You do have to go to the bank, and you do have to worry about honesty issues.”
 

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Posted by: Richard Martin, Visa Corporate Relations on February 7, 2011 at 11:58 am

Jun 22, 2010

Currency of Progress: Greetings from Nashville

The rolling hills and rich farmland around Nashville, Tennessee are an appropriate location for the headquarters of Tractor Supply Company that, in the words of Brian Evans, “caters to people who like to get their hands dirty.” Brian is the company’s director of HR and an articulate advocate of Visa’s prepaid payroll product issued by Citi since 2007. The Currency of Progress team visited Brian and his team in Nashville to capture the latest video vignette. We were, dare I say it, inspired and a little humbled by stories told by payroll cardholders Linda Bennett and Cat Kitzmiller. While neither of them have bank accounts they both enjoy all the benefits of being a Visa cardholder, including online bill payment, acceptance at millions of merchants and ATM access. It’s all too easy to take these benefits for granted when you’ve had a Visa card all your adult life. As with other Currency “heroes”, Linda and Cat are not nearly as glib and nonchalant. They are honest and direct about why they prefer their card over the alternative. In Linda and Cat’s case, this means no exorbitant check-cashing fees and a greater sense of freedom and inclusion.

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Posted by: Richard Martin, Visa Corporate Relations on June 22, 2010 at 5:17 pm