Copyright 1998 Business
April 21, 1998, Tuesday
DISTRIBUTION: Business Editors and Banking Writers
LENGTH: 644 words
HEADLINE: Visa Check Card Experiences Double-Digit Growth; Check Card Scores as Visa's Popular New Payment Product
DATELINE: SAN FRANCISCO
April 21, 1998--Visa U.S.A.'s popular debit card product, the Visa check card, continued its explosive growth in 1997 as the company reported double digit increases in all key categories of tracking.
In 1997, Visa's Member banks issued 12.4 million new check cards, bringing the total number of Visa check cards in the market to 58 million, a 27 percent increase over 1996. Also, the number of check card transactions in 1997 grew by 60 percent to 2 billion, or approximately 63 transactions every second. The total dollar volume of Visa check card transactions grew to $93.7 billion, a 72 percent increase over 1996's total of $54 billion.
Visa also says it expects continued strong growth for the check card, reaching 5.5 billion consumer transactions annually by 2001, or about 10 percent of all personal consumer expenditures in the United States. Visa attributes the growing popularity of its debit card not only to consumer purchasing preferences, but also to consistent and high profile advertising, strategic marketing efforts and its new cardholder protection policy announced in August.
"The check card is Visa's most popular new payment product in the history of our association," said Carl Pascarella, president and CEO of Visa U.S.A. "Consumer demand for more convenience, access and security in managing their money will continue to be the driving force behind the development of efficient, time-saving payment tools like the check card."
Visa's television advertising campaign escalated in 1997 with a Super Bowl spot featuring Bob Dole. The two-year old campaign, which has also featured celebrities such as Deion Sanders, Shirley MacLaine and Pierce Brosnan's James Bond, helped to raise the visibility of the Visa check card before millions of consumers.
In addition, in August Visa announced its $0 liability policy which guaranteed Visa check cardholders the same liability protections as offered to their credit cardholders. This policy offers protections that go well beyond what is mandated by federal regulations.
"As the leading payment solutions provider, we want Visa cardholders to understand the full combined purchasing power of Visa credit and check cards--and that together these payment tools offer consumers greater convenience, security, and choice in how they manage their finances," said Tony McEwen, executive vice president deposits and cash products of Visa U.S.A.
Visa check cards are accepted everywhere that Visa credit cards are--more than 14 million locations worldwide--and offer a convenient and secure alternative to cash and checks. Transactions are deducted from the cardholder's checking or savings account within two to three days.
Visa is the preferred payment brand and the largest consumer payment system worldwide. It plays a pivotal role in advancing new payment products and technologies to benefit its 21,000 financial institutions, their cardholders, and the global economy.
Visa is the only consumer payment system to facilitate $1 trillion worth of purchases of goods and services in a fiscal year. Visa's 618 million cards are accepted at more than 14 million worldwide locations including more than 400,000 ATMs in the Visa/PLUS Global ATM Network. Visa's Internet address is www.visa.com.
CONTACT: Ketchum Public Relations
Mette Busk, 415/984-6322
Susan Forman, 650/432-3510
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