Viewpoints

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PERSPECTIVES ON DIGITAL CURRENCY

Dec 2, 2011

South Africa

The Next Frontier for Financial Education

When I arrived in South Africa for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s conference on financial education I was struck by the contrasts in this fascinating country.

But even more intriguing than the economic, social and topographical diversity was a striking commonality. From the densely packed urban townships, to the opulent Cape Town shopping malls, to the rural farm communities, there are mobile phone towers. They spring up everywhere, even in places without running water or reliable electricity.

I was startled to find that 3G network access was available every place I went, including, at one a point, on a bone-rattling, dusty road miles from any buildings. Being in South Africa it became clear to me the need to also deliver financial education by this ubiquitous tool.

One of the biggest challenges for those of us working to improve financial literacy is how to have this vital information connect with consumers. It has to be relevant, timely and accessible. And it’s ‘accessible’ that is the moving target.

Ten years ago web-based content was often seen as the best way to reach the end user. While traditional computers accessing the Internet are still a powerful tool, mobile phones have become the screen of choice today for many audiences including everyone I met in South Africa.

I am convinced that in places like Africa, the next opportunity in financial literacy is to take the fundamentals of personal finance – budgeting, saving, responsible spending, wise use of credit and access to the banking system – and deliver them on a mobile device at the right time, to the right audience. This won’t be accomplished overnight or by one organization. Working collectively, though, I am convinced we can make it happen.

A mobile phone tower perched on a thatched roof in rural South Africa.

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Posted by: Jason Alderman, Visa Corporate Relations on December 2, 2011 at 9:48 am

Nov 1, 2011

Fifteen Years of Financial Literacy Programs

Visa launched its financial literacy program 15 years ago.  This program grew out of our belief that one of the most important financial tools is not a product – it’s knowledge, and that’s why we’ve been developing financial literacy programs that teach individuals how to spend, save and budget responsibly. It’s good for our business, for progress, and is the right thing to do.

Our first program launched in 1995 and spread globally a year later.  As a sign of our commitment, in 2009, we pledged to reach 20 million people through financial literacy education by 2013.  We’re well on our way to that goal with localized programs in more than 20 countries, and our program websites receive 75,000 unique visitors and 1 million page views each month. One popular initiative last year was Visa’s FIFA World Cup themed “Financial Football,” (known as “Financial Soccer” in the US) a fast-paced, multilingual educational video game that taught the fundamentals of finance.  We continued that on a local level with a theatre program for schoolchildren in South Africa.

Improving access to and education around financial services and electronic payments is a critical building block to helping more people improve their lives and lift themselves out of poverty.  Read more about some of our financial literacy programs here.

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Posted by: Jason Alderman, Visa Corporate Relations on November 1, 2011 at 11:01 am

Sep 29, 2010

Global Financial Literacy: Then and Now

The global recession taught the world many lessons. One of the most urgent of those lessons is the need for financial education. For 15 years, Visa has been a private sector leader in developing free, high-quality financial literacy programs for parents, teachers, students and consumers. With more and more prominent voices echoing our belief that we need to improve financial literacy levels, we wanted to share one best practice that contributes to our successful impact on better consumer behavior: culturally tailored literacy programs.

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Posted by: Jason Alderman, Visa Corporate Relations on September 29, 2010 at 5:02 pm

Jul 14, 2010

FIFA World Cup™ Provides Strong Kick to South Africa Tourism Revenues

While Spain celebrated their first ever FIFA World Cup™ championship on Sunday, host country South Africa was also celebrating the end of a successful tournament that saw hundreds of thousands of soccer fans descend upon the country. While blasting their vuvuzelas and celebrating their countries’ involvement in the FIFA World Cup™, international visitors have used their Visa cards to make a significant contribution to South Africa’s tourism revenues leading up to and during the month-long tournament.

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Posted by: Paul Wilke, Visa Corporate Relations on July 14, 2010 at 3:23 pm

Jun 23, 2010

Boosting South Africa’s spirit and economy

From the sound of the vuvuzelas to the action on the field, South Africa has managed to capture the spirit of sports fans this month. Since June 11, hundreds and thousands of passionate soccer fans from around the world have converged on South Africa to take part in the excitement and festivities of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™.  As they have celebrated and cheered on their teams, these fans have also made a significant contribution to South Africa’s tourism revenues.

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Posted by: Paul Wilke, Visa Corporate Relations on June 23, 2010 at 3:44 pm