Visa Inc.

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Visa Inc.

legal form Corporation
ISIN US92826C8394
founding 1970
Seat Foster City , California , United States
United StatesUnited States 
management Alfred F. Kelly ( CEO / Chairman), Ryan McInerney (President)
Number of employees 19,500 (2019)
sales 23 billion US dollars ( FY 2019)
As of December 31, 2019

The Visa Inc. is a public company and next Mastercard one of the two major companies for payment cards ( credit cards , debit cards and credit cards ) and employed 2,016 14,200 employees. The VISA brand is a recursive acronym and stands for Visa International Service Association . Visa issues licenses to banks around the world for issuing their cards (issuing licenses) and billing contractors (so-called acquiring licenses). In Europe, Visa Europe Services Inc. , based in London-Westminster , is responsible. The non-European states Turkey and Israel also belong to their sphere of influence . The tasks and rights of visas are carried out by so-called domestic members in the individual states .

With a turnover of 19.4 billion US dollars, a profit of 9 billion US dollars and 15,000 employees, Visa Inc. ranks 164 among the world's largest companies according to Forbes Global 2000 (as of mid-2018). The company had a market capitalization of approximately USD 295 billion in mid-2018.


Visa logo 1977-2006
Visa logo 2006-2014

The credit card is the further development of the earlier BankAmericard. National Bank Americard Inc. was founded in 1970 with 243 banks as founding members and renamed Visa in 1976. The blue and gold colors used in the Visa logo are intended to symbolize the blue sky and gold-colored hills of the US state of California , where Bank of America was founded. From 1981 to 1987 Visa cards were only issued by Bank of America in the Federal Republic of Germany. In April 1987, Santander Direkt Bank AG took over Visa membership from Bank of America. In 1988 Citibank Privatkunden AG and Noris Konserbank GmbH followed . In 1992 SGZ Bank AG and Postbank became members of Visa and in 1995 the German Savings Banks and Giro Association (DSGV) followed.

In 2006, Visa had a 44 percent share of the credit card market and 48 percent of debit cards in the United States. According to a study by the financial news agency Bloomberg , the market share in 2010 was 65 percent worldwide.

Together with Europay International (formerly Eurocard ) and Mastercard International, Visa is one of the founders of the EMV specification for credit cards with a chip.

With the latest generation of cards, Visa offers the Visa payWave card the option of making contactless payments directly via Near Field Communication (NFC) by holding the card in front of a secure point-of-sale system.

Visa CodeSure card

In August 2010 Visa Europe started a pilot project in Germany together with the Deutsche Kreditbank (DKB) to introduce the Visa CodeSure card, which has a random security code that is generated via a keypad on the card.

The credit card company is one of the first main members of the FIDO alliance , which has been developing the Universal Second Factor (U2F) industry standard for generally applicable two-factor authentication since 2013 .

On November 2, 2015, it was announced that the US American Visa Inc. intends to buy back the former subsidiary Visa Europe for up to 21.2 billion euros. Initially, 16.5 billion euros are to be paid, and as part of a price adjustment, Visa Europe member companies may receive a further 4.7 billion euros four years after the transaction has been completed. The prepayments are expected to consist of 11.5 billion euros in cash and 5 billion euros of preference shares convertible into Visa Inc. Class A common stock . The transaction is subject to the approval of the antitrust authorities. Visa Inc. aims to close the transaction in the third fiscal quarter of 2016. Visa Europe, headquartered in London, was spun off in 2004 and became an independent company in October 2007, before Visa Inc. went public on the NYSE in March 2008.

In fiscal 2017, Visa had 15,000 employees and sales of $ 18.4 billion.

In June 2019, it was announced that Visa had acquired a stake in the Internet currency Libra .

Cartel dispute 2007

In the run-up to its 2008 IPO, Visa paid American Express out of court in 2007 US $ 2.1 billion to avoid legal action by its competitor. American Express had accused Visa of anti-competitive behavior. Visa is said to have banned its member banks from issuing American Express credit cards between 1996 and 2004.

IPO in 2008

On March 19, 2008, the credit card provider Visa Inc., based in San Francisco, achieved the largest IPO in US history. Originally an issue price of 37 to 42 US dollars was charged. Due to the high demand , 406 million shares were placed at a price of 44 US dollars. Thus, the issue volume was around 17.86 billion US dollars. Since the buying interest in securities increased extremely on the second day, another 40.6 million shares of Visa were allotted. On the day of the IPO, the security (security symbol V ) started on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) at a price of 59.50 US dollars. In some cases, a share reached a high of 69 US dollars, but the price sank to 56.50 US dollars at the end of the market with a total of 177 million securities traded.


Business and employee development (respective fiscal year)
year Sales
in US $ million
Balance sheet profit
in million US $
2005 2,665 360
2006 2,948 455
2007 3,590 -1,076
2008 6.263 804
2009 6,911 2,353
2010 8,065 2,966
2011 9,188 3,650
2012 10,421 2.144
2013 11,778 4,980 9,500
2014 12,702 5,438 9,500
2015 13,880 6.328 11,300
2016 15,082 5,991 11,300
2017 18,358 6,699 12,400
2018 20,609 10.301 17,000

Product portfolio

Credit cards

Credit card with pigeon hologram
  • Visa Classic
  • Visa Premium (Gold, Platinum, Infinite)
  • For small to medium-sized business customers, special business cards (Visa Commercial) are available and for larger companies and authorities also in the corporate design as Visa corporate cards.
  • The Visa Infinite Card from UniCredit Bank AG is currently the only bank issuer of the Premium Card from Visa Inc. in Germany.
  • Black Card Visa - The Black Visa credit card is an exclusive credit card made of black stainless steel / carbon and has been issued to a small group of customers by Barclays Bank Delaware since 2008 . The annual fee is $ 495 as of January 2015. Every transaction made with this card is refunded with 1%. Customers must spend at least $ 50,000 per year. It is comparable to the American Express Centurion Card . Cards of this type have been used e.g. B. issued by the Spanish bank Bankia to its board members and managers. See Bankia credit card scandal.

Debit cards

Visas V-Pay logo
  • Visa Electron in Europe. This card is not embossed and can only be used at the point of sale or on the Internet. Visa Electron can be issued as a debit, credit and prepaid card .
  • V Pay , was introduced in Europe as a chip and PIN-based debit card alongside Visa Electron in 2006 and is based on EMV technology ; can be used both in stores and at ATMs, except in Ukraine, in large parts of Europe.
  • Visa Check Card in the USA.
  • Visa Debit Card in Japan, the USA, Canada, Finland, Sweden and many more countries. Marketed as Visa Delta until 2004 in the UK and Ireland. In summer 2019, VISA announced that it would also be offering the debit card in Germany from 2020.
  • Visa Carte Bleue in France can be issued as a debit and credit card.

Prepaid cards

  • With this version, money must first be transferred to the credit card account. Disposals are only possible within the scope of this credit. The prepaid card (Visa prepaid) is issued by the contractual partner.


  • The pure cash withdrawal card PLUS, analogous to the ATM brand of the same name , is rare, but possible . Every Visa-Plus card can be used worldwide at ATMs that have the Plus acceptance logo (similar to Cirrus ). The SparCard of Postbank or the Postcard of PostFinance are for. B. Visa-Plus cards.

Visa Europe

From October 2007 to November 2015 Visa Europe Services Inc. was independent from Visa Inc. , with an irrevocable and perpetual Visa license for Europe. Visa Europe member organizations came from 36 European countries. Visa Europe was a member association at that time - an organization owned and controlled by its 4,600 European member banks - and since July 2004 an independently registered company.

Visa Europe is headquartered in London. Further offices are located in Athens, Brussels, Berlin, Frankfurt, Paris, Istanbul, Lisbon, Madrid, Milan, Stockholm and Warsaw.


In Germany, over 2,500 banks and savings banks are responsible for issuing Visa cards, and as Visa member institutions, they offer the relevant cards with an individual catalog of prices and services. Numerous providers offer the Visa credit card free of charge for the first year or at a special rate, for example for schoolchildren and students, or in connection with a new current account, where credit cards are added free of charge as a bonus service. Some banks offer a permanently free Visa card in combination with a free checking account.

This is very often a so-called batch card, with which there is a statement of the card sales once a month. Purchases that are paid for by credit card are sometimes only billed one month after purchase, so that an interest rate advantage can arise.

In December 2004 there were 404,202 and in 2009 there were around 490,000 Visa acceptance points in Germany and the possibility of obtaining cash with a credit card at 49,344 ATMs and 8,111 cash points. At the beginning of 2007 Visa agreed contracts for acceptance points in retail stores of the Rewe Group , since 2008 also in 52 ProMarkt branches as well as in Hugendubel and Peek - & - Cloppenburg branches. In addition to the immediate conclusion of a purchase contract, the debiting of the credit card account only takes place after the selected billing period has expired.


From November 1, 2011, customers of eleven Luxembourg commercial banks will receive their V-Pay cards.


In 1975, Cornèr Bank was the first bank in Switzerland to introduce the Visa card.

Business model

The business of the credit card provider works according to the following principle: fees are charged for processing credit card payments alone. The risk of unpaid card debt is borne by banks and other organizations that issue the credit card. Many Visa products are offered together with free checking account packages that incur a monthly or annual basic fee. Some account plans offer Visa products without a basic fee. Some payment transactions take place without authorization , for example under certain conditions for amounts up to 50 euros in Germany. According to the company, this is described as "particularly secure" compared to cash.

Web links

Commons : Visa Inc.  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Ron Leuty: Visa moving headquarters from San Francisco to Foster City . In: San Francisco Business Times , September 13, 2012. Retrieved February 27, 2013. "[Visa] said Thursday that it is closing its headquarters in San Francisco and moving about 100 employees back to its Foster City campus, effective Oct. 1. [...] The bulk of the company's employees - 3,100 of more than 7,700 worldwide ... are in Foster City. " 
  2. Year-end financial highlights. Retrieved May 12, 2020 (English).
  3. ^ Visa Inc. In: Forbes . ( [accessed July 17, 2018]).
  4. VISA . In: Börse am Sonntag . ( [accessed on 23 August 2017]).
  5. ^ COMPANY NEWS; BankAmerica Sale of German Units . In: The New York Times . March 6, 1987, ISSN  0362-4331 ( [accessed August 23, 2017]).
  6. How Visa operates. In: Forbes . February 25, 2008, archived from the original on January 19, 2012 ; accessed on April 29, 2017 (English).
  7. , accessed on May 6, 2014
  8. STANDARD Verlagsgesellschaft mbH: Despite the chip and pin code: credit card fraud discovered . In: . ( [accessed on September 4, 2017]).
  9. Visa payWave. In: Postbank . February 10, 2013, accessed February 20, 2013 .
  10. Visa Europe introduces first Visa CodeSure card. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on January 2, 2012 ; Retrieved April 29, 2017 .
  11. Johannes Wendt: Yubikey: No more bad passwords . In: The time . April 29, 2015, ISSN  0044-2070 ( [accessed September 4, 2017]).
  12. Security Key: Google expands two-factor authentication . In: . ( [accessed September 4, 2017]).
  13. Visa buys Visa Europe: The 21 billion euro deal is sealed . ( [accessed September 4, 2017]).
  14. Visa Inc., Visa Inc. to Acquire Visa Europe , November 2, 2015
  15. , credit card provider Visa pays 21.2 billion for former subsidiary , November 2, 2015
  16. Annual Report 2017. Visa Inc., November 16, 2017, accessed April 12, 2018 .
  17. This is how Facebook money works. In: . June 18, 2019, accessed June 18, 2019 .
  18. Matthias Eberle: Visa has to pay in the cartel dispute. In: Handelsblatt . November 9, 2007, accessed September 16, 2011 .
  19. Wall Street: Visa achieves record IPO . ( [accessed September 4, 2017]).
  20. FOCUS Online: Largest IPO in US history . In: FOCUS Online . ( [accessed September 4, 2017]).
  21. Visa Financial Statements 2005-2018 | V. Accessed October 21, 2018 .
  22. Company profile . Retrieved October 21, 2018 .
  23. Black Card Visa credit card information from credit card of January 30, 2015.
  24. Visa wants to compete with the banks with its own debit card. Retrieved June 14, 2019 .
  25. Visa buys Visa Europe: The 21 billion euro deal is sealed. Retrieved April 7, 2019 .
  26. Les Luxembourgeois recevront la carte de débit V PAY avant la fin de cette année paperjam, October 17, 2011.
  27. Contactless payment with Visa. Retrieved April 7, 2019 .