The popularity of Visa cards has grown over the years and the convenience of conducting financial transactions using the Visa network will continue to be an important part of the future. Visa is the leading card processing network, providing financial institutions around the world the ability to process and offer financial products to millions of customers.
Brief History of Visa
The use of credit and debit cards is such an ingrained part of modern life that it is difficult to imagine life without the powerful plastic. However, the Visa's history is relatively short. Visa has just been around since 1958, when Bank of America launched its first consumer credit card program in the U.S.
The brand went international in 1974, and Visa debit cards were introduced in 1975. By 2001, Visa had issued over a billion cards. The Visa Inc. company went public with its IPO (initial public offering) in 2008 under the stock ticker symbol 'V.' In 2016, Visa Inc. and Europe Visa joined to create another company expansion. Today, Visa is found in more than 200 countries, with a wide variety of financial offerings.
Types of Visa Cards
Visa offers a wide range of cards that fit every need. Finding the right card may depend on spending habits and each person's creditworthiness.
Many Visa credit card accounts are available for personal or business use. Each one is issued by a bank and has its own terms, interest rates and annual fees that are set by the issuer. Some of these accounts are unsecured and some are secured. Many even offer rewards programs. Visa credit card issuers include Bank of America, Capital One, USAA, and many others. Depending on issuer policy, you can apply for an account online, on the phone or through the mail.
Visa began offering debit cards in 1975. Visa debit cards are a convenient alternative to carrying cash or checks since the transaction will create an immediate deduction of the money directly from the authorized bank account. They are accepted everywhere that Visa is accepted. They also provide access to thousands of ATMs for cash withdrawals. There are hundreds of Visa debit cards available, as banks offer them to account holders as a convenient way to access their deposited funds.
Prepaid cards are similar to debit cards because they can be used for point of sale purchases and to withdraw funds from ATMs. However, they are not tied to a bank account. Instead, funds are loaded directly to the card itself as needed. These can be a great fit for individuals who don't have a bank account, parents who want to give their student(s) a prepaid card rather than a credit card, and travelers, though there are pros and cons to consider. Green Dot and Walmart Money Card are popular options.
There are also Visa gift cards available from issuers such as PNC Bank and Commerce Bank. They differ from prepaid cards in that they are not reloadable.Gifts cards are often an easy and safe alternative to giving cash or checks, and allow for a wide range of purchases.
Visa is a major financial player with many innovations that are being developed for the future.
Paying With Different Devices
The ease of making Visa (or other card) payments with our mobile devices has become commonplace, with options ranging from Apple Pay to Google Pay, Android Pay, and even Walmart and Kohl's Pay. In the future, it may be possible to make payments via fingerprints and other devices considered wearable technology, which contain chips for making purchases. People may someday be making payments with rings, bracelets, key chains, and any other device that can hold the chip.
Cars are getting smarter too, as indicated by new technology for self-driving vehicles. A connected car would use some of the same technology as a smart phone. Watch for a new payment system that is linked to your vehicle that would be able to buy gas, pay for parking, or purchase your morning coffee. There are currently smart appliances such as refrigerators that are able to track your grocery list in the future. New technology that Visa is working on will allow the appliance to place an order and pay for the items.
Shop With Virtual Reality
Visa is currently working toward providing the technology to shop through virtual reality (VR). This means being able to try on a new outfit virtually, and using VR tech and tools in a wide variety of industries from healthcare to commerce. Through features like Visa Checkout's one-click shopping, there will be new developments and features that change how people shop and spend money.
Providing More Secure Transactions
Visa has created more secure transactions by using secured tokens and chip readers. Plus, the use of mobile geolocation features will help track where the cardholder is located. Visa wants to make the process more efficient and personalized for your spending habits.
Preventing Lost or Stolen Cards
Allowing customers to use biometrics to identify themselves as account holders is one way to help prevent fraud. Customers can set up alerts or temporarily suspend their card to protect themselves. Future developments will likely include further technology to prevent theft.
Online Shopping Protection
"Verified by Visa" is a program that offers additional protection for online shoppers by adding a layer of security to web-based transactions. It helps to safeguard against fraudulent use. With more than 209 million people shopping online, it is crucial that future innovation continue to focus on providing more secure online transactions in order to adapt to the way people shop.
Comparing Visa to Other Cards
Chances are, you've probably heard of Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express. Although they all seem to be similar, there are some key differences. Visa and MasterCard are both card processing networks, though Visa has significantly more market share.
One of the major differences between the brands is that American Express and Discover issue cards, authorize purchases and link the merchant transaction with the consumer. While Visa and Mastercard process the transactions, American Express and Discover actually issue their own cards, as well as directly finance and process the transactions.
Merchants may prefer to honor a specific card for their business, and Visa and Mastercard brands are accepted in more countries and locations than Discover and American Express. Merchants are charged a fee on each transaction for offering the convenience of card payments to their customers. It typically costs more for merchants to honor American Express or Discover cards than Visa or MasterCard. This may contribute to the brand's popularity and availability.
Getting a Card
Visa cards are issued from thousands of banks located throughout the world. If you are interested in applying for a Visa card, you can contact your financial institution or apply online for the account of your choice. Each provider has its own application and approval process. Be sure to make sure that you understand all the terms and conditions of the particular card(s) you are considering.