Case studies

We offer a range of solutions to help public sector organisations to manage and improve the way they make payments.

Improving procurement in Bolton

In 2006 Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council (MBC) in the UK decided to use the Visa Government Procurement Card (GPC Visa) to improve its procurement practices and meet the growing demands of the council.


Although Bolton MBC has used an electronic procurement system to handle invoicing and purchase orders since 2002, not all council sites could access the system. As a result, invoices would often take some time to arrive at the vendors payable department, with some suppliers waiting too long for payment and the council experiencing escalating time and overhead costs.

After reviewing the system, Bolton MBC began its GPC Visa programme with an extensive pilot phase, which was first implemented in May 2006 and lasted until October 2008. During this period the use of the card was continually expanded throughout the council.


The widespread use of GPC programmes has given greater flexibility to a range of council staff and has saved time and money.

  • Bolton now process around 4,000 transactions per month on GPC Visa. Over the course of the last year the programme has led to audited savings for the council of about £440,000
  • Partly as a result of the shift from paper invoicing to GPC Visa, Bolton have been able to reduce staff numbers in the vendors payable department from 23 to 15 and redeploy resources elsewhere within the council.

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SmartPay® in the USA

The US General Services Administration (GSA) SmartPay® programme generates high volumes and significant savings.


Visa has provided the US federal government with innovative and highly efficient electronic payment solutions since 1986. One of the most successful initiatives is the government SmartPay® programme, which provides government agencies with Visa Purchasing and Visa Corporate cards.


The GSA estimates that Visa Purchasing saves the government an average of US$70 per transaction over paper-based methods. It also estimates that the government saved US$1.8 billion on 25.7 million transactions in 2007. Finally, for every dollar spent on government corporate and purchasing programme, 81 cents is on a Visa-branded card.