Visa’s Blog – Visa Viewpoints


Sep 4, 2013


Secrets of Small Business Success: Put On Your Innovator’s Hat

We are more are half way through our special series of uncovering the secrets of small business success with Donna Fenn. If you’ve missed a post, click back through and read some of her expert insights and interviews with successful small business owners. This month, Donna will dive into ‘Nurturing Your Entrepreneurial Spirit’. Her first article uncovers four steps on how to stay on top of your innovation game to continue cultivating your inner entrepreneur.


Janet – @jzablock


Put On Your Innovator’s Hat

By Donna Fenn, Small Business Author and Expert

Whether you’re a local retailer or CEO of the trendiest new tech startup, you can’t afford not to think like an innovator.  Granted, that can be tough when you’re bogged down with the day-to-day details of running your company. But if you don’t keep your creative juices flowing, you’re in danger of stagnation or, worse, extinction. You may not be making innovation a top priority, but you can bet your competitors are.  Here are four ways to stay at the top of your innovation game:

  1. Step outside your industry. “I surround myself with the right people and ask the right questions,” says Justin Brown, CEO of First Global Xpress, a shipping company. “But I don’t speak to people in my industry.”  Brown, 34 and a serial entrepreneur, thinks he learns more by talking to smart people in other industries and asking them “how they view the future” so that he can get a fix on supply and demand trends that will direct him toward new opportunities for his own businesses. You might also consider attending trade shows outside your own industry; go with the intention to learn and gain a new perspective.
  2. Solve real world problems. Innovation doesn’t happen in a void – it occurs when you solve real problems for potentially large numbers of people. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you need to strive for Apollo 13-level innovation. Look  everywhere for pain points and know that small changes can have a big impact. If you need proof, take a look at Quirky.  This social product innovation company has ordinary people put innovative spins on products as mundane as dustpans, beach bags, and power strips.  The common theme: every new product improves consumers’ lives by solving a common problem.
  3. Foster a culture of innovation. Every employee at your company should be granted the power, the freedom and the responsibility to be an innovator. That could be as simple as putting up a few white boards for brainstorming, or as formal as Google’s 20% program, which allowed all employees to use 20% of their time on side projects that spark their passions.  Sound extravagant? While Google is reportedly winding down the program, consider that Gmail and Google News were 20% projects!
  4. Don’t be afraid to fail.  “Our team likes to say ‘fail fast and fail cheaply,’” says Victor Hwang, CEO of T2 Venture Creation, a venture capital and ecosystem design studio in Silicon Valley. If you don’t have a basic comfort level with failure, you’ll never muster up the chutzpah to take a risk.  What’s riskier than failing? Never trying. “You don’t know what’s as the top of the mountain until you’ve been at the bottom of the valley,” says Hwang.  He suggests that you surround yourself with a support system of family, friends, and/or peers who are willing to remind you that failure isn’t lethal.

Disclaimer: Practice recommendations are intended for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for legal advice. When implementing any new strategy or practice, you should consult with your legal counsel to determine what laws and regulations may apply to your specific circumstances. Visa makes no representations and warranties as to the information contained herein.


Posted by: Janet Zablock, Head of Global Small Business, Visa Inc. on September 4, 2013 at 9:12 am

Aug 5, 2013

Fandango and Rue La La Help #SaveTheCart

Today’s savvy consumer scouts the web to find beloved brands at affordable prices on sites like Rue La La or to book tickets at a highly-anticipated movie using Fandango. And Visa now adds even more convenience to the checkout process on these sites and several more.

Fandango and Rue La La, as well as, Crutchfield, Modnique, Sonic Electronix, are the latest to join a growing list of top eCommerce merchants that offer a simpler way to pay with by Visa, Visa’s digital wallet service. eliminates the need to enter billing, shipping and account information. So, when you’re tucked into bed and realize that deal for a new pair of shoes or tickets for the upcoming Planes movie won’t last until morning, there’s no need to scramble for your wallet. With a account, you can check out with a username and password.

According to comScore, the complexity of checkout contributes to an estimated 67% of online shopping carts that are abandoned before a purchase is completed. Don’t abandon your cart. Visa is encouraging everyone to help #Savethecart this summer. Learn more at and happy shopping.


Click on the images below to view the #Savethecart Infographics


#Fashion Infographic           . #Movie Infographic



Posted by: Sam Shrauger, Digital for Developed Markets, Visa Inc. on August 5, 2013 at 8:08 am

Jul 18, 2013

Innovation in Development Disbursements: Visa Innovation Grant Recipients Announced


Today we’re proud to recognize the recipients of the Visa Innovation Grants Program. In partnership with NetHope, a consortium of more than 40 humanitarian organizations, and an Expert Advisory Committee of distinguished public and private sector leaders, five leading development organizations were selected to receive funding for projects that will modernize the distribution of agriculture, health and emergency relief payments to those living below the poverty line.

The Visa Innovation Grants Program is one component of Visa’s ongoing dedication to advancing financial inclusion around the world.  Every year, billions of dollars in cash payments are distributed to people in need through emergency relief efforts, benefit stipends, conditional cash transfers, microfinance programs, and other development initiatives.  Digitizing these payments through mobile phones or other electronic methods not only improves the distribution of aid, but can also help recipients gain access to broader financial services, including savings and electronic payments tools.

The group of five grantee organizations includes: Agribusiness Systems International (ASI), Freedom from Hunger, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Mercy Corps, and Pathfinder International.

Each organization has been awarded $100,000 to support innovation in and adoption of electronic payments. The projects are focused on a wide variety of sectors, yet all are seeking better ways to distribute aid to the people who need it most.

Here is an introduction to the projects selected for funding, which we will cover in depth in future posts:

  • Agribusiness Systems International (ASI)

ASI will use the Visa Innovation Grant to bring formal financial services to rice farmers in Ghana. The program will extend branchless banking in rural areas by integrating mobile finance into the rice value chain. Mobile finance will reduce the risk of theft, connect farmers and other actors with financial services, and ensure timely payments to farmers. Founded in 1993 as an affiliate of ACDI/VOCA, ASI is a nonprofit consulting organization that helps smallholder farmers become competitive in the agribusiness sector.

  • Freedom from Hunger

Freedom from Hunger will use the Visa Innovation Grant to improve access to health services in rural Ecuador by integrating electronic payments for health services through local microfinance institutions that provide health savings and credit accounts. The program combines payment services with improved access to health services and education. Freedom from Hunger has more than six decades of experience fighting global poverty and hunger, as well as developing and testing flexible and sustainable approaches that provide group-based financial services, education and access to additional products and services to poor women and youth.

  • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)

IFRC, along with its partner American Red Cross, will use the Visa Innovation Grant to design and test a rapidly implementable and scalable electronic cash transfer system(s) with Red Cross National Societies in Latin America and the Caribbean. Electronic payments improve security and transparency of aid payments, enable families to begin their recovery in the shortest time possible and create a pathway to more formal financial services. The IFRC is the world’s largest humanitarian network, acting before, during and after disasters and crises to meet the needs and improve the lives of vulnerable people.

  • Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps will use the Visa Innovation Grant to provide smallholder farmers in Indonesia with access to mobile money, improving their productivity and increasing incomes. The program’s scalable and replicable model connects banks, mobile network operators and a full range of stakeholders in the agricultural value chain, while also helping farmers gain the knowledge and tools they need for success. Mercy Corps is an international development organization that helps people around the world survive and thrive after conflict, crisis and natural disaster.

  • Pathfinder International

Pathfinder International will use the Visa Innovation Grant to introduce a mobile money-based payroll system for its community health workers in Kenya. The pay-for-performance incentive model will be combined with access to real-time field data, improving transparency and the quality of services delivered. Pathfinder International is a nonprofit organization with a focus on access to contraception; maternal and newborn health; and HIV and AIDS services. The organization has implemented projects in more than 100 countries worldwide, and is recognized for its innovative and responsive approaches to meeting health needs at the community level.

There were many impressive ideas submitted by all applicants, and we believe these projects have particular promise for scaling electronic payments across diverse sectors. We look forward to supporting these projects and seeing how each will spur new ideas and models for the future of aid and development payments around the globe.

[Photo above: Elizabeth Mueni (right), a community health worker in Kenya trained by Pathfinder International, uses a mobile phone to collect data and track the health needs of her clients. Photo by Sala Lewis.]

 Check back for more updates about the Visa Innovation Grants Program and the group of recipients highlighted above.


Posted by: Douglas Sabo, Visa Corporate Responsibility on July 18, 2013 at 6:13 am

Feb 22, 2013

Visa Showcases Mobile Payments at Mobile World Congress 2013

Next week, Visa heads to Barcelona, Spain, for Mobile World Congress 2013, the world’s premier mobile industry event, where we will showcase the latest Visa offerings in mobile payments and digital wallets.  The event in Barcelona always proves to be a stage for true mobile innovation – and at Visa, we continue to collaborate with mobile operators, financial institutions, device manufactures and technology providers to transform the way people shop, pay and get paid.

We are truly making mobile payments and digital wallets a reality for consumers around the world.

Our schedule is listed below so please stop by the booth (Fira, Hall 6 – Booth 6E40) and view the latest technology offerings, or join one of our events.  We’ll also be tweeting and blogging (and posting videos) from Mobile World Congress, so send along your questions or comments on trends in mobile.

Visa Press Conference
Monday, February 25, 4:30 p.m. CET
Fira, Hall 6 – Stand 6E40
Visa mobile initiatives are scheduled to be announced during the press briefing, which will be streamed live.

Building the Ecosystem for NFC Services
Bill Gajda, Head of Global Mobile Products, Visa Inc.
Monday, February 25, 2:00 p.m. CET
Fira, Hall 4, Conference Village, Auditorium 3
Visa’s Head of Global Mobile Products will discuss the current state of NFC, as NFC services are continuing to be rolled-out by mobile operators, payment providers and handset manufacturers across the world.

Visa and GSMA to Launch mWomen Research
Aletha Ling, Chief Operating Offer of Fundamo, a Visa company
Tuesday, February 26, 12:00 p.m. CET
Fira, Hall 4 – Conference Village, Room CC1 – 1.5)
Visa and GSMA will release a new five-country study, “Unlocking the Potential: Women and Mobile Financial Services in Emerging Markets,” offering insights on how mobile financial services can better support the complex financial lives of women at the base of the pyramid.

Retail Therapy; Enhancing the Shopping Experience through Mobile
Sandra Alzetta, Senior Vice President of Mobile for Visa Europe
Wednesday, February 27, 4 p.m. CET
Fira, Hall 4 – Conference Village – Auditorium 3
Visa’s Senior Vice President of Mobile for Visa Europe and industry experts will discuss the latest uses of mobile technology in the retail environment.


Posted by: Lucas Mast, Visa Corporate Relations on February 22, 2013 at 1:58 pm

Jan 28, 2013

New Year, Renewed Focus: Responsible Innovation

Today is Data Privacy Day, an annual event observed internationally to promote privacy awareness and education. While the day is an important reminder, creating and maintaining a data privacy culture is a year-round job — an important one as companies explore the explosion of data availability and the opportunities and responsibilities that come with it.

There’s no question that Visa — like most companies — is striving to evaluate how the age of “big data” will shape our business and how information can deliver greater value to cardholders, merchants, and clients.  But in this changing technology landscape, one guiding value remains constant at Visa: the importance of maintaining trust.  So no matter what 2013 brings, we resolve that payment innovations at Visa won’t come at the expense of our long-held commitments to security and privacy that have made us a trusted name in payments for over 50 years.

Hear more about Visa’s approach to responsible innovation:


Posted by: Russell Schrader, Visa Chief Privacy Officer on January 28, 2013 at 8:55 am

Dec 20, 2012

Bill Gajda on the Future of Mobile Payments

The widespread adoption of Internet-enabled devices – smart phones, tablets, laptops and PCs – enable consumers to shop online, anywhere, anytime – especially this holiday season. According to IBM, 24% of consumers used a mobile device to visit a retailer’s site over Thanksgiving & Black Friday, up from 14.3% in 2011.

As we shared earlier this week , while Cyber Monday remained the busiest online shopping day of the year – representing an astounding $2.1 billion in online sales from U.S. Visa account holders – Visa’s network has seen seven days that topped more than $1 billion in online sales in the U.S. this holiday season.

In the following video, Bill Gajda, Head of Global Mobile Products for Visa, shares his view on how innovations in mobile and payment technology, including near-field communications, are changing the landscape of commerce this holiday season and into the future. 



Posted by: Jennifer Schulz, Global Head of eCommerce on December 20, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Dec 11, 2012

The Mashable Innovation Index 2012 Winner’s Circle

Less than four weeks and more than 22 thousand votes since the Mashable Innovation Index competition kicked off, 15 winners have been crowned for their role in creating life-changing innovations.  Last month 15 handpicked industry experts were chosen to curate 15 innovative categories and nominate five “game-changers.”  Mashable readers were then asked to vote on their favorites, and the winners are being revealed today.

Nominees selected by Sree Sreenivasan, Chief Digital Officer of Columbia University

Nominees selected by Martha Stewart, Entrepreneur

Nominees selected by Lance Ulanoff, Editor-in-Chief of Mashable

Nominees selected by Stacy London, Host of What Not to Wear and Founder, Style for Hire

Nominees selected by Adam Braun, Founder of Pencils of Promise

Nominees selected by Jess Lee, CEO and Co-Founder of Polyvore

Nominees selected by Chris Hughes, Editor-in-Chief of The New Republic

Nominees selected by Lorena Garcia, Chef

Nominees selected by Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, Co-Founder of Gilt Groupe

Nominees selected by Jon M. Chu, Filmmaker and Founder of DS2DIO

Nominees selected by Rafat Ali, Founder of Skift

  • Winner in Travel: High-Tech Airports

Nominees selected by Brett Terpstra, Podcaster and Life Hacker

Nominees selected by Coco Rocha, Model

Nominees selected by Sarah Robb O’Hagan, President, Equinox

 Nominees selected by Jon Dube, GM of CBS Fantasy Sports by Visa and Mashable recognize 2012 has been an outstanding year for innovation.  These 15 winners are setting new technology trends, creating new products, changing the way people connect and communicate, and reinventing the way consumers shop and merchants do business.

We’re inspired by the level of innovation each winner represents, and we offer our congratulations to all the winners.


Posted by: Ryan Donovan, Corporate Relations on December 11, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Oct 23, 2012

#ConnectingCommerce – A new video series exploring the next generation of commerce

As we continue to push forward with innovating the ways we pay and are paid, today we’re launching a new video series called #ConnectingCommerce. The series will be hosted on Visa’s YouTube page and showcases the progress and benefits of going cashless, especially when it comes to eCommerce and mCommerce in today’s hyper-connected world. This first episode features author David Wolman – interviewed by journalist Mark Veverka – and his views on becoming a cashless economy.

According to Wolman, the benefits of a society without cash are staggering: “Reduced cash-management costs are really just the beginning. One must consider the broad spectrum of socio-economic gains — things like reduced criminal activity of nearly every stripe and the promotion of financial inclusion. Whether we will ever do away with it completely remains uncertain, and in many ways is less critical than the developments that are pushing it toward obsolescence, because those are what really change the way we live. That is true for consumers, merchants, and especially those who for too long have been denied the benefits of money in electronic form.”

Follow along as we post more candid interviews with thought leaders, consumers and payment luminaries. Will killer apps pave the way for a cashless society? What other tools will we need to rid ourselves of cash? Is this cashless society just around the corner?

Stay tuned to find out – and follow us @VisaNews.


Posted by: Erica Harvill, Visa Corporate Relations on October 23, 2012 at 6:01 am

Oct 15, 2012

Making Online Purchases Simple (and Secure) for PNC Customers

“Keep it simple.”  While this phrase has become harder to embrace in today’s fast-paced world, it’s an important reminder that innovation doesn’t have to be complicated to tackle complex problems, like commerce.

Today, life just got a little bit simpler for more than 1.2 million PNC Virtual Wallet® customer accounts who will have access to by Visa, Visa’s new digital wallet service, making PNC the first bank in the U. S. to integrate with It’s fast, easy and safe.

As a next-generation payment service, makes eCommerce simpler by removing friction from online transactions. PNC Virtual Wallet customers who register with can make secure online purchases at a growing number of participating merchants without the hassle of constantly entering account numbers and bill-to and ship-to information. stores a customer’s personal account information behind layers of security within the industry-leading Visa network. With the click of a mouse, a touch on a mobile browser, or in the future, a wave at the physical point-of-sale, customers can easily make purchases, whether from the couch or on the go.

PNC customers can go to to get more information on Virtual Wallet and enrolling in

©2012 The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. All rights reserved. PNC Bank, National Association. Member FDIC


Posted by: Jennifer Schulz, Global Head of eCommerce on October 15, 2012 at 5:34 am

Aug 16, 2012

Visa Competes for a Voice at SXSW: Vote Now!

While South by Southwest (SXSW), the annual convention in Austin that brings together the best in music, independent film and emerging technologies, isn’t for several months, we have a favor to ask.

SXSW is the premier destination for the “who’s who” of technology and innovation, and payments is a hot topic. Visa submitted three compelling future of payments-related panels for SXSW’s Interactive Festival that will discuss how technology is going to impact the way you pay and get paid in the next coming years and we need your help to get us in!

Each year the SXSW community – which includes you – is invited to vote on the agenda. Your vote dictates thirty percent of the overall selection criteria, so make your vote count and choose Visa.

Voting closes on August 31st, so we only have two weeks left. Here is what you need to do:

  • Register: To vote, you have to register. All that’s required is your name and an email address. Fill out the form, hit submit, and an email verification will be sent to you. Even if you registered last year, you need to re-register this year.
  • Socialize your Vote:  Want your vote to go the extra mile? Include comments. The quality of feedback is also weighed in the voting process, so make sure you log in via your favorite social network and share what you think. We want your feedback to help shape the panels.

See Visa panels and click to vote once registered!

Shirt? Skirt? Latte? How We’ll Pay in 2020 

We’ve seen our payment systems continuously evolve over the last century. Today, we’re about to embark on another major milestone in the payment industry – and an entirely new group of stakeholders has been shaking up the conversation: digital wallet service providers. During this panel, we’ll bring together various financial “disruptors” as well as traditional payment leaders, who’ll discuss and provide insight on how payments have evolved and what they will look like in the next decade. The panel will go in depth about new technologies that are revolutionizing our payment systems and how and when consumers and merchants will fully adapt them in their everyday lives.

Click here to vote for ‘Shirt? Skirt? How We’ll Pay in 2020′


From Mom and Pop to Y-Not Shops

The GenY crowd is said to be the most entrepreneurial in history. Technology is now the great enabler for all businesses, but Generation Y entrepreneurs have an added advantage: a lifetime of exposure to interactive digital devices has given them an enviable comfort level with new technology and the ability to intuitively navigate and exploit the Internet.  During this panel, we’ll bring together young, emerging entrepreneurs with well-known small business advocates to explain why mom-and-pop shops are no longer that. It is the young entrepreneur who is setting up shops these days, whether it is a food truck, the latest app, or a time-saving technology.

Click here to vote for ‘From Mom and Pop to Y-Not Shops


Mobile Money – Trust, Probability and the Future of Payments

Technology companies, financial institutions, payment networks and mobile network operators are working to transform the lives of consumers and are counting mobile technology to offer new financial services and electronic payments that promise to impact our lives.  As the industry claims that consumers will have choices like never before, what does the definitive future actually entail? How are consumers going to start? This panel will answer everything you want and need to know about mobile payments: Where the technology currently stands, what options will come to fruition and what will need to happen to get us there.

Click here to vote for ‘Mobile Money – Tryst, Probability and the Future of Payments


Posted by: Lucas Mast, Visa Corporate Relations on August 16, 2012 at 6:51 pm