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Visa – Past And Present

The global credit card processing company Visa has its origins in humble beginnings. Bank of America introduced one of the first credit card programs, BankAmericard, in Fresno, California in 1958. The bank originally planned to keep its credit card business within the state of California. As time passed, Bank of America slowly began to make deals with out-of-state banks. Over the next several years, numerous banks across the United States would license the BankAmericard system. As the number of banks increased, a suggestion eventually arose to start an association of banks.


This association would take the form of a joint venture. All members would have the advantage of a centralized payments system while having the freedom and leniency to compete on a fair basis for their own benefit. This arrangement continued into 1970 when the newly formed National BankAmericard, Inc. received control of BankAmericard and passed it to member banks using the system inside the United States. Bank of America still continued to issue licenses for BankAmericard in different countries. By 1972, 15 countries had been issued licenses. A multinational corporation, IBANCO, was established in 1974 to manage the BankAmericard program in foreign countries.


IBANCO decided to form a single corporation in 1976 despite the hesitancy that surrounded using Bank of America’s name internationally. BankAmericard became Visa U.S.A. in 1976, and IBANCO became Visa International. The name “Visa” was adopted because the word is pronounced the same in many different languages.

Growth Period

Phenomenal growth over the past 30 years led to Visa’s initial public offering (IPO) on March 18, 2008 for $17.9 billion, the largest IPO in United States history. Technological improvements include a worldwide network of automated teller machines (ATMs) providing cash globally to personal and business travelers. Visa was one of the first companies to make a coordinated effort to crack down on credit card fraud. In 2007, Visa restructured itself, creating a new global corporation: Visa, Inc. The Visa Europe brand name remains the same as a member-owned entity.


The ability to settle transactions in multiple currencies and having access to cash all over the world make Visa one of the most trusted names in international commerce. Today, Visa, Inc. is a trillion-dollar global entity processing transactions for billions of customers. As of March 31, 2011, 1.87 billion Visa cards are in use worldwide. In the four quarters ending on June 30, 2011, Visa processed a total of 74 billion transactions with a total volume including cash transactions and payments of $5.6 trillion. Visa provides an indispensible service that many customers use to buy essentials like food, shelter and gasoline. Today, Visa, Inc. is a brand name that rightfully commands global respect and ensures its position as a top-rated digital currency company.

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March 10, 2012 um 8:13 am
Personal Finance
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