Senin, 16 Juni 2008

Visa International

Visa International, credit card and payment system company based in Foster City, near San Francisco, California. Visa is the world’s largest consumer payment company, with more than one billion cards issued, more than $1.8 trillion in transactions annually, and more than half of the world’s market in transactions. Visa is collectively owned by more than 21,000 member financial institutions around the world. These institutions issue Visa cards, and each establishes the terms that it will offer to consumers, such as rates and fees.

Visa traces its roots to 1958, when Bank of America, based in San Francisco, issued the BankAmericard (see BankAmerica Corporation). At the time, many banks in the United States offered charge cards, or cards that enabled consumers to charge goods and services to an account. Banks required cardholders to then pay their account balances in full each month. Unlike charge cards, the BankAmericard offered cardholders credit privileges, so they could pay their balance over a longer period of time in increments, plus interest. Bank of America licensed the card throughout California and eventually in other states as well.
The BankAmericard suffered from transactions problems and fraud during the early 1960s because of unreliable interchange systems between Bank of America and other banks licensed to issue the card. In 1968 Dee Ward Hock, an executive of the National Bank of Commerce in Seattle, Washington, headed a committee of BankAmericard licensees that was formed to resolve the problems among credit-card issuers. Two years later Hock was instrumental in creating National BankAmericard Inc. (NBI), a consortium of BankAmericard licensees designed to conduct more reliable transactions between the banks. NBI bought the domestic bankcard system from Bank of America, and Hock became the head of NBI. By 1970 the BankAmericard and its biggest competitor, Master Charge (later MasterCard), were offered nationwide, and most banks had eliminated their own bankcard programs to join one or both of the national systems.

In 1974 Hock formed IBANCO, which took over administration of BankAmericard’s foreign operations. In 1977 Hock changed the name of the BankAmericard to the Visa card. NBI became Visa U.S.A. and IBANCO became Visa International. Visa International Incorporated became the umbrella organization for Visa’s business units. Visa International and Visa U.S.A. share corporate headquarters in Foster City.

In 1977 MasterCard held 60 percent of the bankcard business, compared with 40 percent for Visa. By 1983 those percentages were reversed, making Visa the leading U.S. credit card. Credit-card use expanded dramatically in the 1980s, and Visa continued to dominate the market. Visa had 56 million cardholders worldwide in 1979, but that figure rose to 220 million ten years later.
Credit-card use continued to grow in the 1990s as businesses ranging from supermarkets to health care providers began accepting payment with cards. Visa also offered premiums, such as airline discounts, for using its card. The number of Visa cards worldwide increased from 255 million in 1990 to more than one billion in 2000. The company’s revenues grew from $720 million in 1990 to $1.8 billion in 2000.
Of the more than $1.6 trillion in credit-card transactions worldwide in 1996, 55.8 percent used a Visa card, making it the worldwide leader in the credit-card industry.
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