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 [email protected] 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

Oct 28, 2013

Cherie Blair on New Mobile Financial Services Initiative for Women in Nigeria


This week I’m speaking at the Financial Inclusion 2020 Summit, an event that is promoting a global campaign to bring ordinary financial services – banking, credit cards, pensions, etc – to more than 2 billion people around the world who are currently excluded from these everyday services.

It’s an issue that is particularly important to me and my Foundation for Women, which promotes women entrepreneurs in the less developed parts of the world, and through which I’ve learned how hard it is for women to run a business without banking facilities. More than that, everyone needs financial services to manage their day-to-day lives and prepare for a better future. But very few in middle-income and especially low-income countries enjoy the access to quality services from formal financial service providers that many of us take for granted.

In wealthier countries, nearly 90% of the population have basic bank accounts. Most middle-class people are supported at every turn by financial services – such as credit cards for everyday purchases, mortgages to buy a home, quick and easy payment services, insurance or pensions. But in low and middle-income countries, the story is different.

More than 2.5 billion people lack access to quality financial services and at least half of that number will include women. If we want to make an impact on financial inclusion, that effort has to include women. Recent research findings from my own foundation, Visa, BFA and GSMA show that not only are women missing out on access to mobile financial services, they are also missing out on the retail opportunities related to these services.

In partnership with Visa, my foundation aims to address this gap, with a focus on Nigeria. Our project will result in 2,500 women becoming agents in the retail network of a leading financial services provider. As retail agents, they will bring branchless banking and mobile financial services to tens of thousands more women in Nigeria. Alongside the retail agent opportunities, the women involved will also benefit from training and capacity building support.

Our primary aim is to enable a greater number of women entrepreneurs to enter the electronic payment value chain in Nigeria – a sector that is set to grow tremendously in the coming months and years.

Why start in Nigeria? Women in Nigeria experience cultural, social and systemic barriers to entrepreneurship including poor infrastructure, lack of connectivity and other barriers. Three times as many men as women have the benefits of being registered as self-employed in the country, and while there are women entrepreneurs in Nigeria, the majority of them are forced to operate in the informal sector. This collaboration would offer opportunities for women to set up registered businesses in a growing sector.

There is a commercial opportunity as well. With only 30% of Nigeria’s population (84.7 million) using banking services and with more than 159 million mobile phone subscriptions, there is great potential for agent banking and other models which enable remote access to financial services in the country. This is as yet an untapped market representing a multi-million dollar industry.

This partnership is a significant step forward towards financial inclusion for women in Nigeria. Economically empowering women by giving them access to the same financial services as men,  is not only a smart way to raise the status of women and their quality of life but also brings benefits to the families and communities of the women who succeed. My foundation is looking forward to developing this project further and driving financial inclusion for women in Nigeria.


Posted by: Cherie Blair, Founder, Cherie Blair Foundation for Women on October 28, 2013 at 10:57 pm

Oct 15, 2013

Secrets of Small Business Success: Strategic Online Marketing for the Holidays

While some believe that “if you build it (your website), they will come,” most small businesses should face the reality that there is a lot happening online to distract their customers. How do you cut through the clutter and stand out? As part of her holiday series, Donna Fenn shares tips from successful small business owners on how they are differentiating themselves from competitors via online promotions. From working with bloggers to getting in the gift-giving sprit, you’ll have four bases covered this holiday season.


Janet – @jzablock


Strategic Online Marketing for the Holidays

By Donna Fenn, Small Business Author and Expert

Chances are you’re ramping up your online marketing campaign for the holidays right now – along with everyone else, unfortunately! As you look to reach your current and potential customers, the challenge is to market to your customers in the places where they’re most likely to notice you, and with messages compelling enough to convert prospects into buyers. To help differentiate yourself from your competitors, consider trying these online marketing strategies:

Court the right bloggers. Diana Charabin, founder of Tiny Devotions, taps into bloggers who write about yoga and contemplative practices to help her get the word out about her mala beads, which are frequently used in meditation. Rather than approach very high profile bloggers who are typically inundated with requests to review products, Charabin instead targets “the mid-range bloggers – the ones who may just have a few thousand Twitter followers, but they’re very die hard.” She sends them her products, but makes it clear that there’s no obligation to write about the company. It’s a strategy she can use throughout the holiday season, as bloggers are always hungry for content that can be turned around quickly.



Have a mobile strategy. Dr. Marvin Lee, a Los Angeles-based chiropractor, has been working with a company called Signpost to help him with online marketing and to ensure that his content and offers are mobile friendly. “I’m a doctor and I don’t want to wear a marketing hat,” he says. “But you need an online presence, and if that doesn’t translate to mobile devices, you’re behind the times.” For a quarterly fee of $375, Signpost promotes his business on multiple channels, including Yelp, Foursquare, MapQuest, Amazon, and Google. Over the holidays, he’ll promote a special $39 introductory offer that includes a consultation, a first adjustment, and x-rays if needed. “My job is to convert the lookers to regular patients,” he says.

Offer gift-giving advice.  At Book Bouquet, founder Kim Shanahan is already busy marketing her company’s book-centric gift baskets on Facebook. “Every day, we’ll have a post that’s related to how people within our company are using the special that we’re promoting,” she says.  That may include gift baskets for coffee-lovers, cooks or movie buffs. She also offers customers the option of spreading payments over three months.

Personalize your communication. Sure, your customers want to feel that you know them, but they also want to know you. Ada Polla, CEO of the family-owned skin care company, Alchimie Forever, says that email blasts containing images of and content about her mom and her three sisters “get click rates that are much higher.  We’re a family-focused company and email is much more successful when it’s highly personal.”  This year, Alchimie will offer a 30% friends and family discount on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and the email blast will contain images of all four Polla sisters peppered with a bit of family storytelling.

Remember that one of your greatest strategic advantages over your larger competitors is your ability to connect intimately and authentically with your customers. Online marketing enables that, but also make sure that you’re not just “broadcasting.”  Now’s the time of year when you need to make certain that you’re also engaging in dialogue with customers who respond to your online marketing efforts.

Please check out other posts in our “Secrets of Small Business Success” series:

Secrets of Small Business Success: Your Best Strategy for Attracting New Holiday Customers is Hiding in Plain Sight

Secrets of Small Business Success: Holiday Marketing: Be Memorable and Meaningful

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 October 15, 2013 at 8:05 am

Sep 20, 2013

Visa Security Summit 2013: Mobile Payments Security Requires a Little More Effort

Guest blog by Brad Caldwell, CEO, SecurityMetrics

Mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) has the potential to forever change the interaction between business and consumer. Because of the low entry barrier to obtain a smartphone or tablet device, many companies now offer mobile as a way for consumers to process their card payment.

Mobile devices were initially developed for communication and convenience, not necessarily security. Now that devices organize the important details of business and private lives on wireless data networks, security is high on the consumer wish list and requires a bit of extra work to achieve.

Many businesses are enthusiastic and ready to implement mPOS. Although seemingly technologically advanced, smartphones and tablets aren’t created with the typical security features that have evolved in computers over decades of development.

As more and more merchants across the world use mobile devices to process customer payment transactions, hackers will continue to adapt their strategies to gain the most sensitive and profitable information from mobile devices.

Unless security precautions are taken, credit card numbers, personal information, and passwords entered, texted, or saved into personal and business mobile devices may be at risk.

Don’t despair. Though mobile security is in its infancy, there are proven methods to securely process via mobile devices. Here are five tips to help your mobile processing strategies stay one step ahead of hackers.

1. Use an encrypt-at-swipe piece of hardware that attaches to your smartphone or tablet to securely process payment cards. Perform due-diligence when selecting mobile POS hardware to ensure it supports encrypt-at-swipe.

2. Minimize manual key entry of customer’s credit card data, even if a card stubbornly refuses to be swiped! While your hardware card reader may encrypt sensitive information at-swipe, your phone does not have that secure capability. Manually-typed data is not encrypted, and a rogue app could be recording those card numbers.

3. Always update both OS and app software so any discovered security holes can quickly be patched.

4. Use discretion when downloading apps. Many pieces of malicious software infect mobile devices by acting as a Trojan horse inside an app. Even some apps that look legitimate may be infected.

5. Use a mobile vulnerability scanner. A mobile vulnerability scanner, such as SecurityMetrics MobileScan, can check a device for security holes that may grant access to hackers.

As an industry leader in securing payments, SecurityMetrics is on the security front lines providing the technology needed to protect mobile devices. Visit them at for more information.

SecurityMetrics is a sponsor of the 2013 Visa Global Security Summit.  Visit them at the SecurityMetrics booth during the event on October 2. For additional information on mPOS acceptance, Visa has published a list of mobile acceptance best practices, which can be accessed here or visit our website for additional information.


Posted by: Brad Caldwell, CEO, SecurityMetrics on September 20, 2013 at 11:14 am

Sep 17, 2013

Visa Security Summit 2013: Crowd-Sourcing a New Solution to Consumer Education

Did you know that consumers spend more than two hours a day in mobile apps? That’s nearly as much time as people spend watching television. Mobile devices are transforming how consumers learn and engage. When it comes to security, an engaged consumer is a more protected consumer. There are countless studies that have shown consumers who check their accounts online or take steps to monitor their credit report are less likely to be victimized by fraud and identity theft.

As consumer adoption of new technologies evolves, we are evolving our strategies and practices to ensure we’re reaching consumers in relevant ways. And that includes our efforts to educate consumers about payment security.

In April, Visa became a first-time sponsor of TechCrunch Disrupt NY, one of the nation’s top hackathon contests, which attracts more than 700 developers from around the world.  Developers were given 24 hours to create an app that would help consumers learn payment security basics. The event generated a number of creative ideas and lots of interest from developers.

Now Visa is showcasing this fresh thinking at our flagship security event, the Visa Global Security Summit. Two standout teams from Disrupt will showcase their ideas on stage at this year’s event. Attendees will then vote on which app will win the $5,000 Developers Challenge Award. You can preview information on both teams here.

With consumers being inundated with more information today than ever before, it is critical that we continue to find new and innovative ways to reach them with important security information. We’re excited to be tapping into the talent of the independent developer community to help expand our thinking on how to reach consumers via mobile.

We’re looking forward to seeing the demos showcased on October 2…and may the best team win!


Posted by: Jennifer Fischer, Head of Americas Payment System Security on September 17, 2013 at 11:16 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 22, 2013

Expanding Access to Electronic Payments in India

It is well-known now that mobile technology has changed the face of electronic payments in emerging markets. For the past decade, mobile phones have been instrumental in providing unbanked and under-banked consumers with secure, reliable and convenient ways to pay and be paid. Although a lot of progress has been made, here in India, more than 40 percent of the urban population is still unbanked and nearly 90 percent of commerce is still cash-based.

Visa and its clients in India are making great strides to change this reality. Recent stats from the Reserve Bank of India prove that progress: there are now 350 million payment cards activated in the country, many of these in rural areas, and penetration of electronic payments is rising. Through our joint venture with Monitise – Movida – we are enabling financial institutions in India to offer consumers to make payments via mobile phone. In fact, earlier today, Movida announced a new agreement with ICICI Bank to offer mobile payments to its customers in India. Everyday transactions like buying tickets, paying a bill or recharging a wireless account can now be made with any mobile phone, not just smartphones.

Because the service is designed to operate across all mobile networks using any payment card – both Visa and non-Visa – we expect that Indian consumers will be able to wave goodbye to long queues while visiting the post office or paying their bills at automated tellers. These transactions, along with insurance premium and other recurring payments, are now available securely and conveniently to clients of ICICI Bank directly via their mobile phones.

As India continues to expand and upgrade its telecommunications infrastructure to rural areas, more Indian consumers will have access to secure and reliable electronic payments and financial services via a mobile phone– a critical step in the migration from cash to more convenient, secure forms of payment.   

In the long run, electronic payments will help to drive financial inclusion and fuel economic development and growth in our country. It is an exciting time and at Visa, we are proud to play a role in the transformation of India.


Posted by: Uttam Nayak, Group Country Manager, Visa Inc. on July 22, 2013 at 4:24 pm

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

Jun 10, 2013

Accelerating the migration to electronic payments through mobile acceptance solutions

The way we pay has evolved dramatically over the last 50 years. The “electronification” of commerce has helped to stimulate economic growth, reducing inefficiencies and providing consumers convenient and secure access to their funds. Mobile technology, in particular the introduction of low cost mobile “card readers” is helping to drive the migration from cash and checks to electronic forms of payments.

From emerging markets, where traditional acceptance infrastructure simply does not exist, to farmers markets and coffee shops in developed countries, mobile point-of-sale acceptance is helping to displace cash payments and enabling merchants of all sizes – even the smallest ones – to accept card payments. It is an inventive solution from both the technology and business model points of view, which leverages the broad penetration of mobile phones to add acceptance to those segments of merchants where cash used to be the only available option.

At Visa, we see great potential to accelerate the migration to electronic payments through mPOS solutions. By helping to promote the use of these services in the Visa system, we believe they will have a greater uptake and benefit more consumers and merchants worldwide. But we want to do that in a responsible way, so to ensure that innovative payments like mPOS technology provides the same security, reliability and scale as traditional payment terminals.

This is why earlier this year we launched the Visa Ready Program, a streamlined process for the testing and approval of new payment solutions that enables our business partners to more rapidly deploy products for use with Visa payments. Last week, we’ve announced five new leading mobile acceptance providers to join the program: AnywhereCommerce, iZettle, Miura Systems, SumUp and Swiff. Two of them, AnywhereCommerce and Miura System, already have mPOS devices that are approved to accept Visa payments.

There are over two billion Visa cards around the world today and with every new mPOS device that is put out there lays an opportunity to displace paper-based payments. In the United States alone, mPOS can help to migrate more than $1.1 trillion yearly from paper to electronic payments[1]. This is a tremendous opportunity for solutions providers, financial institutions and merchants. Visa is ready to help our clients and partners seize this great momentum, while at the same time giving consumers the peace of mind they need to transact in the mobile channel.

For detailed information on last week’s announcement, click here.


[1] Javelin Strategy & Research, Mobile POS (Point of Sale) Business and Market Impact 2013: Emerging Technologies Expand Reach with Lower Cost, Disruptive Services, April 2013,


Posted by: Matt Dill, Global Head of Business Development on June 10, 2013 at 11:56 am

Jun 7, 2013

Visa payWave: Protecting Consumers While Making Transactions Easier

Contactless technology continues to expand globally, and the number of NFC-enabled devices in use is expected to top 500 million next year according to ABI Research. That’s exciting news, and we expect NFC and other chip-based technologies will help drive future payment innovations.

Visa payWave, our secure contactless payment technology, helps cardholders speed through checkout without having to make physical contact with a payment terminal through their NFC-enabled phones or their contactless cards. With Visa payWave, available globally on debit and credit cards and NFC-enabled mobile devices, a consumer simply holds his or her card or phone in front a contactless terminal in order to pay.

Visa payWave transactions are around three times faster than paying with cash, and they meet all the same security standards as traditional debit and credit cards. Every transaction is protected by multiple layers of security:

• First, Visa payWave-enabled cards and mobile devices must be in a specific position and within two inches of a merchant’s terminal in order for card information to be transmitted.

• Second, each contactless transaction includes a unique code that changes with each purchase – and it’s different from the one encoded on the magnetic stripe of a Visa card. So if a criminal attempted to use intercepted data to manufacture a counterfeit card, the bank that issued the card would be able to immediately identify the fraudulent transaction.

• Finally, because Visa payWave transactions are processed through VisaNet – the same reliable network as swipe transactions – we continuously monitor for suspicious activity, allowing us to help identify and prevent fraud.

As payment technology continues to evolve, so do our security measures, and NFC-enabled mobile payments are no exception. Several layers of security at the device, chip and the Visa network levels work in concert to help prevent unauthorized use of mobile-based Visa accounts. The technology that allows an NFC-enabled device to transmit transaction information wirelessly is only active during a transaction. Account data cannot be read wirelessly from the mobile device if the consumer has not activated the payment application and placed the device within inches of a reader.

Although Visa payWave has been used around the world since 2005, there have been no reports from law enforcement or financial institutions of fraudulent activity associated with contactless technology to date. Nevertheless, Visa remains vigilant in protecting cardholders.

As emerging forms of payment like Visa payWave continue to gain traction, Visa continues to invest in multiple layers of security to prevent, detect, and resolve unauthorized use of consumers’ information.


Posted by: Stephanie Ericksen, Head of Authentication Product Integration, Visa Inc. on June 7, 2013 at 11:09 am