Viewpoints

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PERSPECTIVES ON DIGITAL CURRENCY

Apr 14, 2011

Digital Currency

Migration Watch: Online Payments in India

Over the last few years, India has taken giant strides towards accepting electronic payments to cut their costs and give their customers a more secure, convenient and reliable alternative. This momentum has been observed across private and public institutions.

Indian Railways is a good example of a massive state-run entity that is rapidly adopting card payments, particularly online, to reduce the interminable lines at train stations across the country. Today, more than a quarter of a million tickets are sold online every day. It’s a true win-win, since customers save time by not standing in long queues waiting to book tickets and Indian Railways saves rupees every time a ticket is sold through its eCommerce site.

Recently, there was more encouraging news with Information Kerala Mission, the state’s e-governance authority, announcing that citizens of Thiruvananthapuram in the Indian state of Kerala can chose to pay their property taxes online through debit and credit cards. This pilot program will expand to six other cities later this year and is the first phase in the agency’s program enabling electronic payments for professional taxes and other government services. In the words of Sajjad Bhayani, owner of Asiatic Dry Fruits, who we met during our visit: “The new generation, they are all carrying cards. It’s the future.” We couldn’t agree more!

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Posted by: Uttam Nayak, Group Country Manager, Visa Inc. on April 14, 2011 at 4:39 pm

Mar 2, 2011

Thin Mint for a Swipe?

The next time a Girl Scout asks if you want a Thin Mint or Samoa cookie, she may follow up with another question: “Cash or credit?” In another sign of the migration to digital currency, PaymentsSource reported that Girl Scout troops in San Diego and Northeast Ohio would begin accepting card payments for sales of their popular cookies. The troops will use smartphones equipped with apps and devices that allow buyers to swipe and sign for their cookie purchase. The card acceptance technology could not only help improve sales but also help budding entrepreneurs, like the Girl Scouts, who recognize the benefits that digital currency provides.

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Posted by: Erika White, Visa Corporate Relations on March 2, 2011 at 12:31 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

Nov 29, 2010

In the News: Mobile Payments in Emerging Markets

In the past few weeks, several news stories have highlighted the opportunity to grow mobile payments in emerging markets. We couldn’t agree more that there is a significant opportunity to bring innovative mobile payments solutions to emerging markets and, in doing so, give the underbanked and unbanked population access to the benefits of digital currency.

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Posted by: Erika White, Visa Corporate Relations on November 29, 2010 at 5:10 pm

Nov 26, 2010

Migration Watch – Cash-only Restaurants In Need of a “Tip”

“The customer always comes first.” These are words that every business owner lives by in order to serve customers effectively and keep priorities in order.

Despite this important mantra, an unfavorable trend seems to be spreading across New York eateries, and according to the New York Post, customers are not happy about it. This recent trend is “cash-only” restaurants.

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Posted by: Liz Nunan, Visa Corporate Relations on November 26, 2010 at 9:45 am

Nov 18, 2010

Visa and Oxfam America are “Saving for Change”

This week, financial leaders from 38 countries are meeting in Seattle at the first ever Global Savings Forum. Hosted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the event focuses on how technology innovations and digital currency can help bring financial services—especially savings—to the world’s poor.

Half the world’s adults do not have access to the basic financial services that many of us take for granted, such as a savings account, access to small loans and credit, insurance products or even simple and convenient ways to pay bills or buy goods. Without access to these basic tools, these individuals—known as the “unbanked” or “financially underserved”—face daily hurdles in their financial lives. The inability to plan for their financial futures and a heightened vulnerability to economic shocks such as theft, illness or natural disaster present particular challenges to the poor in their efforts to escape poverty.

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Posted by: Douglas Sabo, Visa Corporate Responsibility on November 18, 2010 at 12:06 pm

Oct 25, 2010

IBM Recognizes Visa’s Cutting Edge Technology and Innovation

IBM recently announced that Visa has won IBM’s annual Information on Demand 2010 Innovation Award. The award is given in recognition of Visa’s leadership in using cutting-edge information technology and real-time data analytics. This mastery of data lets Visa offer an incredible array of products and services that improve the consumer payment experience and drive growth for our clients.

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Posted by: Mike Dreyer, Global Head of Technology on October 25, 2010 at 1:18 pm

Sep 15, 2010

Update from Elizabeth Buse: Dispatch from the World Economic Forum

Greetings from the World Economic Forum in Tianjin, China!

This week’s conference was a fascinating and enriching experience for me, as I engaged with technology leaders, business partners, government officials, media and other influencers from around the world to highlight the benefits of digital currency for consumers, merchants, governments and economies worldwide.

Without question, the goals of the World Economic Forum and Visa are strongly aligned, as both organizations seek to promote social development and economic inclusion globally. In fact, on Monday, I participated in a panel discussion which specifically looked at the importance of aligning commercial and societal objectives when seeking to do business in emerging and “frontier” markets around the world.  In short, I made the point that we all need to seek to understand what governments are trying to do, assess the local situation and be prepared to adapt our business strategy accordingly. For those of you who are interested, a webcast of the panel discussion is available.

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Posted by: Elizabeth Buse, Visa Group President, Asia Pacific, Central Europe, Middle East & Africa on September 15, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Sep 3, 2010

Migration Watch: Cashless Skies

Consumers have long used digital currency to book air travel, whether at the terminal, over the phone or online. So, it is not surprising that airlines around the world are migrating towards new ways to facilitate electronic payments in order to serve customers who expect to be able to pay for everything from tickets to peanuts with their Visa card. In fact, according to a new study cited on PaymentsNews.com, airline payment innovations now go beyond cashless cabins. The study found that:

  • 33% of airlines are accepting payments from mobile devices
  • 50% of airlines are able to accept payments via self-service kiosks

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Posted by: Liz Nunan, Visa Corporate Relations on September 3, 2010 at 12:41 pm

Aug 26, 2010

Bringing the Benefits of Financial Inclusion to India

India is the world’s second-most populous country with more than 1.3 billion people, GDP growth of more than 7 percent and the world’s largest rail system that carries 6 billion passengers a year. Despite its growth, the government is eager to shift consumer spending from cash to electronic payment to accelerate growth, transparency and financial inclusion. In our recent trip to Mumbai as part of the Currency of Progress project, we found many encouraging signs of consumers and merchants embracing digital currency as a more secure, transparent and convenient alternative to cash.

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Posted by: Richard Martin, Visa Corporate Relations on August 26, 2010 at 6:03 pm