A new Visa person-to-person payments service will transform how Visa cards are used – from being not only the best way to pay, but also the best way to receive payments quickly.
The result of a major enhancement to the Visa network, the new service enables consumers to send funds to Visa card accounts within minutes both domestically and internationally. It is available to participating Visa clients and their customers in markets across Asia Pacific, Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Watch our recent press conference below, which includes a real-time transaction.
Yesterday, Congress spent its first full day examining the debit card regulation provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act. It is now clear why proponents rushed the regulation without debate or study. Before the Senate Banking Committee, both Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Chairman Sheila Bair expressed concerns about the unintended consequences the regulation could have on small banks and consumers, respectively. Federal Reserve Board Governor Sarah Raskin also told a House Financial Services Subcommittee that “there are legitimate questions” in terms of how small banks will benefit.
“We are not certain how effective that exemption will be. It is possible that because merchants will reject more expensive cards from smaller institutions or because networks will not be willing to differentiate the interchange fee for issuers of different sizes it is possible that the exemption will not be effective in the marketplace.”
Today, Visa’s General Counsel Josh Floum will testify on the debit card regulation provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Financial Institutions & Consumer Credit. (Watch the Hearing live here beginning at 10:00 AM EST). We appreciate that the House is dedicating time to discuss this important legislation, which has the potential to harm consumers, small financial institutions and the economy as a whole. And we’re encouraged that this price control legislation finally is being debated after being rushed through last year without committee consideration or even a House vote.
Today, Visa announced a new partnership with the Cash Learning Partnership (CaLP). The CaLP is a consortium of leading humanitarian organizations focused on improving the quality of “cash transfer programming”—the distribution of money to communities in need particularly during times of emergency. The Visa-CaLP partnership, focused on helping humanitarian aid organizations improve the speed and efficiency of relief payments in times of disaster, is part of our Corporate Responsibility commitment to help during times of humanitarian crisis and builds upon Visa’s experience working with governments around the world to disburse benefits—including helping the government of Pakistan distribute over US$317 million to 1.45 million households in three months in the flood-ravaged country.
Hundreds of millions of people around the world today enjoy spending time playing online games, engaging with digital media and interacting on social networks— buying and selling digital goods while they’re doing it. In fact, digital goods purchases is one of the fastest-growing segments of eCommerce.
Visa is extending its leadership in eCommerce into that segment with the purchase of PlaySpan, a Silicon Valley-based company whose technology lets consumers make safe and convenient purchases online for items such as game credits, premium memberships and digital goods. Consumers have the choice of using more than 85 global payment methods with PlaySpan’s technology, which is used in 180 countries.
PlaySpan’s payments platform is popular with some very high-profile brands: Its 1,000 or so global customers include 700 of the top application developers on social networks, such as Facebook, and mobile platforms, such as Google Android, as well as 300 of the most popular online games and digital media publishers, including Warner Bros., Nickelodeon, Microsoft, Disney and Adobe.
Square is a service that enables merchants, who have traditionally been limited by paper-based payments, to accept electronic payments through a credit card reader that plugs into a phone or iPad. This is a big deal and will help the entire payments industry’s efforts in bringing access to electronic payments to a segment that has historically not been easy to serve—very small merchants.
In 2010, remittances to Mexico rose for the first time since 2007. Dow Jones’ Laurence Iliff recently spoke with Visa’s Kelly Alpert on the jump in money transfers from the U.S. to Mexico, as well as what Visa expects from its latest announcement about extending its remittances program with MoneyGram to include all of Mexico. This program, which allows customers to send money to Mexico from any of the 35,000 MoneyGram locations in the U.S, is an expansion of MoneyGram’s first ever cash-to-Visa service in Guatemala, which was announced in 2010.
Andrew Johnson from American Bankeralso explored Visa’s relationship with MoneyGram and its role in boosting Visa’s presence in the U.S. to Mexico money transfer market. In 2010, Mexico was the third-largest country for remittances, and with this latest announcement, Visa is poised to help deliver money transfers to Mexico easier and faster than ever before.
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.”
Voices opposing the proposed Federal Reserve rules regulating debit interchange continue to grow louder. Community banks, credit unions, consumer groups, and even Senator Dodd and Representative Frank are concerned that the rules will not actually accomplish their charge and have several unintended consequences. Industry experts continue to challenge these rules as well. Take two op-eds by Eric Grover of Intrepid Ventures and Patti Hewitt of Mercator that were recently published in Digital Transactions.
Grover expresses concerns that the Fed’s rules could turn payment networks into public utilities that will inevitably lead to higher costs and poorer service for consumers and merchants. Patti, for her part, believes that while we won’t know the true effects of Durbin for some time, it’s possible the regulation could cause alternative-payments to collapse if they are regulated.
We hope this growing chorus of voices is considered by members of the 112th Congress.