We here at Visa wanted to take the opportunity to clarify a few recent posts about U.S. merchants setting a minimum purchase requirement for using a credit card. For our part, we want to proactively offer Visa’s perspective on this issue to minimize any confusion, particularly since Visa did not allow this practice in the past.
The answer is actually rather simple: We’ve changed our rules to conform to U.S. federal law.
Attendees of last week’s closing ceremonies of the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, participated in two “firsts”: Participants who attended the first Youth Olympic Games and used Visa’s first all-in-one event ticket, transit and prepaid card.
Those who were awarded tickets to the opening and closing ceremonies in The Singapore Youth Olympic Games Organizing Committee’s April ballot received the card to use as their means of entry for the celebratory events. The plastic card is more than a replacement for paper tickets; the Visa Prepaid card’s functions include the ability to make purchases at Visa merchants, and pay for trips on Singapore’s public transportation system as well.
As the global tourism industry continued to experience economic turbulence in 2009, spending on Visa cards by international visitors to the U.S. decreased by nearly 12 percent from $32.9 billion in 2008 to $28.9 billion in 2009. However, according to VisaVue data in the new 2010 Tourism Outlook: USAreport, the trend reversed during the first half of 2010. The only exception to this is the Gulf Coast region, which has been overwhelmingly affected by the recent oil spill.
From January 1 – June 30, 2010, spending by international visitors to the U.S. on their Visa-branded payment cards was up 20 percent over 2009, with the largest contributions coming from Canada ($4.6 billion) and the United Kingdom ($1.2 billion).
While the oil spill began in April, its effect on tourism wasn’t seen until June according to new data released by Visa today in its Tourism Outlook: USA report. Inbound spending by international travelers on Visa cards was up in May 2010, compared to 2009. Just one month later, the effects of the spill began to reflect on the region’s tourism economy. From May 2010 to June 2010, the Gulf Region saw a significant 42 percent ($21.7 million) decline in spending by international Visa cardholders traveling to the United States.
More and more prominent voices are joining the chorus for the need to improve the nation’s financial literacy levels. This week Brett Nelson posted a compelling piece on Forbes.com that details a painful litany of America’s money management shortcomings.
Brett ends his sobering post with a succinct cry of: “Help!”
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.
We’ve arrived in Singapore for the Youth Olympic Games and as the events get underway you can feel the energy and excitement building! Singapore offers the perfect backdrop for the inaugural Youth Olympic Games and as we look forward to the next few weeks, we wanted to make sure you know what’s happening on the ground.
Achieving goals is the cornerstone of any successful small business. And for growing a business, learning the process of establishing and pursuing goals is the best place to start. The problem is, many small business owners don’t know where to begin, until now. Visa has just unveiled a feature called Business Goal Toolkits, just one of several enhancements to the Visa Business Network. With Business Goal Toolkits, small business owners can now find unique step-by-step guides to help them through the process of setting and achieving basic goals – like using social networking sites to promote their business and drive sales – or more complex milestones, such as developing marketing materials to reach new and existing customers.
Whether it is because of the recent recession or increased interest in financial literacy, consumers today are looking much more closely at their finances. To assist them, Visa has developed several tools to help our financial institution partners better serve, inform and protect their cardholders.
Barron’s asserts that new regulations “won’t jeopardize the company’s leading role in paperless economy.” As Visa CFO Byron Pollitt mirrors this sentiment and is quoted as saying, “We are a technology play…We are not a bank. We are not a financial-services company. We are a company based on innovation.” He also adds that regardless of what direction financial reform takes, the digital currency business is “a rock-solid concept.” Check out the video here: