Visa Inc.

THE SCOOP

Merger accomplished

It's hard to imagine a company with as much international name recognition as Visa getting even bigger, but in 2007 somehow the credit card behemoth managed to do just that.  The company's latest growth comes as the result of a series of mergers that combined all of its various subsidiaries (including Visa Canada, Visa USA and Visa International) into one global entity called Visa, Inc.  The new company brings together the company’s U.S. and Canadian operations with those in Asia Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, and Africa.  The year 2008 has been another exciting one for Visa.  After years of operating as a private entity, Visa, Inc. has gone public.  The company filed its initial public offering (IPO) in November 2007, following in the footsteps of its competitor, MasterCard, which took the plunge in 2005.  Visa’s IPO made a huge splash when it finally struck gold in March 2008, raising a record $7.9 billion for its debut.

The newly formed Visa, Inc. is already a giant of global commerce.  The combined company boasts more than 16,300 financial institution clients, 28 million Visa merchant outlets, 45 billion yearly transactions processed and 1.4 billion Visa cards issued.  In 2008, $4.3 trillion of business was conducted on Visa cards.  Though the company is still headquartered in San Francisco, it now has offices in 30 countries around the world and approximately 5,581 employees.

The Net

Visa’s processing system, VisaNet, facilitates over $4.3 trillion in annual transaction volume.  U.S. consumers carry more than 520 million Visa-branded smart, credit, commercial, prepaid and check cards that offer unsurpassed acceptance at millions of merchant locations worldwide.  VisaNet’s global presence is also impressiveâ€"it is one of the largest transaction and information processing networks in the world, providing approximately 74 billion authorization, clearing and settlement transactions per year.  These transactions operate from three continents which have power data centers allowing the company to process more than 12,000 messages per second.  In 2008 fiscal year, Visa’s operating revenue increased from $1.95 billion in 2007 to $3.06 billion in 2008.  Net income for 2008 was at $804 million.

Circling the globe

San Francisco-based Bank of America created Visa’s predecessor in 1958 when it launched what was then called BankAmericard.  In 1966, Bank of America formed BankAmericard Service Corporation, which licensed banks outside of California to issue cards to their customers.  Four years later, National BankAmericard Inc. was created, and BankAmericard transferred control and ownership of the BankAmericard program to the banks issuing the cards.  In 1973, the company launched the first global electronic card authorization system, BASE I, which reduced the time consumers needed to wait for purchase authorization from more than five minutes to less than one.  Wanting to shed its image as a California company to that of a world player, the card changed its name to Visa in 1976.  In another first, Visa created a global ATM network in 1983 to provide access to cash around the clock to cardholders around the world.  Today, Visa claims its Visa/PLUS ATM network is the world’s largest, giving customers access to local currency at more than one million ATMs in more than 170 countries.  Visa also operates the world’s largest consumer payments processing system.  It has enough communication lines to encircle the globe nearly 400 times and can process more than 6,300 transactions every second.

Presently, much of Visa’s latest marketing campaigns have been accomplished through sports.  Visa is an exclusive sponsor of the FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football) World Cup, with a firm hold on the partnership through 2014.  The World Cup gives Visa access to millions of customers in virtually every country in the world.  The credit card company also lends its name branding to the Olympics, extending its sponsorship even to the name given to the competitors, or Visa athletes.  Visa was the only card that could be used as payment at the Beijing Olympic Games of 2008, and it will be the only card able to be used at the Vancouver Games of 2010 and London Games of 2012.

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Visa Inc.


900 Metro Center Boulevard
Foster City, CA 94404
Phone: (650) 432-3200
Fax: (650) 432-3631
www.usa.visa.com

STATS


  • Employer Type: Public
  • Stock Symbol: NYSE
  • President and CEO: Joseph W. Saunders
  • 2008 Employees: 5,581

Key Financials

  • 2008 Income: $804 million
  • 2008 Revenue: $6,263 million

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