Visa USA reports strong e-commerce growth


During the first quarter of 2004, e-commerce spending in the United States on Visa branded credit and debit cards reached $22.3 billion. Through May 31st, Visa USA's year-to-date e-commerce dollar volume increased 59 percent over the same period in 2003.

Driven in part by innovative online security programs like Verified by Visa® that protect Internet shoppers, Visa's growth in e-commerce is outpacing last year's gains. In 2003, Visa debit and credit card e-commerce volume increased by 53.2 percent to a total of more than $60.4 billion. At the same time, the number of transactions grew 44.5 percent, to more than 722 million.

"Clearly, Verified by Visa is helping consumers feel more secure about using their Visa cards to make purchases online, which is the best way to ensure that e-commerce volume continues to grow," said Jim McCarthy, senior vice president of emerging technology at Visa USA. "Verified by Visa is an innovative way to address the two key priorities all online retailers share: driving sales volume and managing risk."

Today, more than 9,000 Visa issuers worldwide offer Verified by Visa, making it available to more than 250 million debit and credit cardholders. These cardholders can shop safely knowing their account information is guarded at more than 17,000 Internet retailers, and that the rate of merchant acceptance continues to grow.

Visa USA has recently reached agreements with several key e-commerce players to adopt the Verified by Visa. Among the major companies that have recently implemented Verified by Visa are: CompUSA, one of the nation's leading retailers and resellers of personal computer-related products and services; JetBlue Airways, the rapidly-expanding, low-fare air carrier; Digital River, a leading e-commerce outsourcing provider; and, a provider of turn-key e-commerce solutions for business worldwide.

As part of its efforts to build consumer awareness of Verified by Visa, the company has launched a new online advertising campaign. The series of ads focuses on the message of "prevention," and uses familiar consumer goods to convey the tangible consumer benefits of Verified by Visa.

The seven-month campaign is designed to increase both awareness and activation of the service. Advertisements will be featured on major Internet portal, news and shopping sites including AOL, Yahoo!, CNN, Disney,, and "We want to make sure consumers understand the simple, effective tool they have available to them through Verified by Visa - and how it can help them feel confident making purchases online," McCarthy said.

Momentum Builds

Even as the e-commerce channel continues to grow rapidly, consumers remain concerned about sharing personal information online. In fact, a recent Visa survey showed 83 percent of respondents would feel more secure while shopping online if they were presented with a payment card authentication option, such as Verified by Visa.

Online merchants are increasingly taking steps to bolster their security efforts at check-out and further boost confidence among their existing and new customers. Many of America's leading online merchants, e-commerce solution providers and card issuers have chosen to implement Verified by Visa because of its ability to increase online sales volume, reduce fraud and decrease the costs associated with resolving fraud-related disputes.

"Our research shows that implementing Verified by Visa greatly improves consumers' perceptions of online merchants, and increases the likelihood of repeat customers," said James Van Dyke, analyst for Javelin Strategy & Research.

For merchants, Verified by Visa is an important tool in helping to reduce fraud. Merchants also benefit from protection from liability for fraud-related chargebacks on consumer transactions, even if the consumer or issuing bank is not participating in Verified by Visa, with limited exceptions. As a result, some merchants using Verified by Visa have reported significantly reduced fraud-related chargeback volume, in some cases up to 100 percent.

Additionally, Visa has implemented a five basis point discount on interchange reimbursement fees applied between the merchant's bank and the cardholder's bank for all Verified by Visa transactions. Actual merchant pricing, including application of any discount for Verified by Visa transactions is determined solely by the merchant's acquiring bank, subject to agreement between the merchant and their bank.

"Security and confidence are absolutely vital to the continued growth of online commerce, and Visa is committed to making the channel appealing for shoppers and secure for merchants," said McCarthy.

Verified by Visa is one more layer of fraud protection and prevention Visa offers merchants and consumers. In addition, although online card fraud is rare, all Visa debit and credit cardholders are protected by Visa's Zero Liability commitment, which means consumers won't have to pay for any unauthorized purchase on their Visa card. Visa's Zero Liability commitment surpasses protections mandated by federal regulations.

Through significant investments in technology, cooperative efforts between Visa, its member financial institutions and law enforcement agencies, and through a wide variety of educational initiatives, the incidence of Visa-system fraud in recent years is at an all-time low, even as the volume of Visa card transactions has grown dramatically.

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