Visa’s Blog – Visa Viewpoints


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

Nov 16, 2011

Visa Marks Two More Milestones in Delivering the Next Generation of Payments

Six months ago, we announced our global innovation strategy to deliver the next generation of payments.  Today, we’re introducing two important building blocks in that effort: opening Visa to developers via the Visa Developer Center – including the introduction of the by Visa digital wallet brand and global acceptance mark – and the new Visa Mobile Prepaid product designed specifically for consumers in developing countries. These milestones reinforce Visa’s ongoing efforts to give consumers more places and ways to pay and be paid, as well as provide financially excluded consumers with secure and reliable financial services.

Embracing the Developer Community

With the Visa Developer Center, we’re standing behind our belief that some of the most innovative ideas for the future of payments will come from leading-edge software developers. We’re arming the developer community with the tools to build person-to-person payment capabilities, domestic and international remittances, and other applications by providing access to Visa tools, API’s, documentation, and code.  Visa is also improving access to the separate developer resources of CyberSource, Authorize.Net, PlaySpan, and the new digital wallet.  We’re excited about the future innovations 3rd party developers may conceive through the Visa platform, and look forward to payment applications not yet imagined today.

Our First Joint Visa and Fundamo Product

After acquiring Fundamo just over five months ago, Visa is introducing its first jointly developed product: the Visa Mobile Prepaid product.  The new product, a Visa prepaid account that can be accessed through a simple menu on a mobile phone, enables consumers in developing countries to send and receive funds, make purchases online or at merchants where Visa is accepted, and withdraw money at ATMs.  It brings Visa’s high standards for security, reliability and interoperability to consumers who have lacked access to formal financial services. The product is the result of a new mobile money platform that connects financial institutions and mobile network operators with VisaNet.

Stay tuned for additional progress in the weeks and months ahead.


Posted by: Jim McCarthy, Head of Global Product, Visa Inc. on November 16, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Jul 19, 2011

Payment Security—What Are Merchants Doing About It?

High visibility breaches remind us that the bad guys are still out there hacking away–all with the goal of stealing your payment data and mine.  In the early days (like, more than seven years ago), hackers mostly fit the adolescent demographic, turning purloined card numbers into a new pair of Air Jordans.  Now, hacking is big business and dominated by well-organized international gangs. According to The New York Times (June 9, 2011), “Consumers…are feeling increasingly vulnerable amid recent reports of data breaches at big companies, like Lockheed Martin, Epsilon and Sony.”

So what steps are companies taking as they try to fight the increasingly difficult fight?  We just announced findings from a new survey by Visa subsidiary CyberSource Corporation, and leading data security and compliance firm Trustwave that get at some answers.  

Moving data out

20th Century American thief Willie Sutton, when asked why he robbed banks, famously answered:  “Because that’s where the money is.”  What if hackers found out there was no payment data once they got inside a merchant’s system?  That’s what a lot of companies are up to—essentially emptying their vaults of cardholder data.  Modern services allow online merchants to trade data for “tokens” and leave the actual data storage to PCI DSS certified service providers (like CyberSource).  According to the survey, an increasing proportion of organizations expect to move their data out, leaving today’s Willie Suttons with nothing to steal.

It’s not just the outsiders

Insiders often have access to sensitive card data, and some of them are less than scrupulous in what they do with that information.  A shocking finding from the survey—merchants say they feel the threat from their own employees is about equal to that of outsiders! So merchants must be aware of the need to protect data from insiders as well as hackers.  All the more reason to get data out.

It’s not about the fines

Back in September of 2006, the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) was founded to provide compliance standards for organizations that sell online—all geared to maximize protection of customer data.  At the time, the big media story was about fines for non-compliance that could ultimately fall on the merchants.  So wouldn’t it be reasonable to assume merchants are motivated to steer clear of financial punishment?  Apparently not.  Merchants in the CyberSource/Trustwave survey overwhelmingly (70%) came down on the side of “protecting the brand” as their primary motivator in tightening controls.  Only 26% said avoiding fines was a key driver in their security investments.     

Learn more about the survey


Posted by: Bruce Frymire, CyberSource Corporate Relations on July 19, 2011 at 12:51 pm

May 11, 2011

Visa Advances Next-Gen Payments Solutions

We have worked tirelessly to accelerate the global shift to electronic payments by integrating VisaNet with services gained through key partners and our acquisitions of CyberSource, and PlaySpan.

Today, as the New York Times reported, we reached a milestone. We announced a cross-channel digital wallet and a range of customized mobile-payment services that address the specific requirements of geographic markets around the world. Both offerings will replicate the ease, reliability and security of Visa point-of-sale payments within traditional and digital eCommerce, mobile commerce and burgeoning social networking commerce environments.

We are working with leading financial institutions and merchants to launch the digital wallet in the U.S. and Canada in fall 2011. It stores Visa and non-Visa payment accounts, supports NFC payments via our PayWave application and delivers various transaction services to accommodate multiple commerce scenarios. We expect key features of the wallet to include:

  • Click-to-buy: Shop conveniently and securely by simply entering an email address, alias or online ID and password, instead of a billing address, account number and expiration date. In addition, Visa is exploring dynamic authentication technologies that will bring added layers of security to online purchases.
  • Preference management: A menu that allows consumers to set preferences for how their wallet will work, allowing them to customize and control the features of their personal wallet from privacy settings to designating which account will be accessed based on merchant type or purchase amount.
  • Merchant offers: A service that allows consumers to personalize their shopping experience by opting-in to receive money-saving discounts or promotions from the participating merchants.
  • Cross-channel payments solution: The wallet consolidates multiple Visa and non-Visa payment accounts and can be used in mobile, eCommerce, social network and retail point-of-sale environments.


Posted by: Jim McCarthy, Head of Global Product, Visa Inc. on May 11, 2011 at 5:04 am

Dec 2, 2010

Cyber Monday Mania

The 2010 online holiday shopping season is shaping up to be one of the best. reported that Cyber Monday may have been the heaviest online spending day in history with a record-breaking $1 billion in online spending, according to comScore.  This data also reflected a nearly 16% year-over-year increase in spending, as well as the first time in history that over $1 billion was spent online in a single day.


Posted by: Paul Wilke, Visa Corporate Relations on December 2, 2010 at 8:45 pm

Oct 25, 2010

Visa Opens World’s Leading Payments Network to Independent Developers

Visa has spent decades investing in the creation of one of the most robust, secure and reliable electronic payments networks in the world: VisaNet. Until now, however, the ability to connect to the network has been limited. We recognize that innovative ideas come from many people and places, and that independent developers have transformed many other industries.

This is why we’re excited to announce today that Visa is accelerating innovation in electronic payments by opening its leading payments network to independent developers with a significant enhancement to the Authorize.Net Developer Center.


Posted by: Paul Wilke, Visa Corporate Relations on October 25, 2010 at 7:31 am

Jun 9, 2010

Recent Developments in Mobile Payments

Innovations in mobile and payment technology continue to shape the future of money. Mobile contactless payments are gaining popularity across Japan, South Korea and Malaysia and other countries where merchants have upgraded their point of sale terminals to accept contactless payments. Meanwhile consumers in India, Peru and Brazil can already use mobile devices to pay bills, order pizza or pay a taxi fare, and families in the U.S, China and Guatemala are able to send money transfers more easily and safely than ever before.


Posted by: Elvira Swanson, Visa Corporate Relations on June 9, 2010 at 3:54 pm