Corporate

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What is Visa Europe and who owns it?

Visa Europe is a membership association of European members and other payment service providers that have collectively issued more than 460 million Visa debit, credit, commercial and prepaid cards in Europe. In the 12 months ending June 2012 those cards were used to make purchases and cash withdrawals to the value of €1.8 trillion.

What does Visa Europe do?

As a dedicated European payment system Visa is able to respond quickly to the specific market needs of its European members and their customers – cardholders and retailers and businesses, and to meet the European Commission’s objective to create a true internal market for payments.

How is Visa Europe related to Visa Inc.?

Visa Europe is a wholly separate company to Visa Inc. and has a different corporate design. In October 2007, Visa Europe became independent of the new global Visa Inc., with an exclusive irrevocable licence in perpetuity to operate in Europe. At that time, Visa Inc. listed on the New York Stock Exchange, becoming a publicly traded company.

How many countries does Visa Europe operate in?

Visa Europe operates in 37 countries in Europe. Visa Europe’s headquarters and main operational offices are in the UK and there are local offices in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Ireland, Italy, Hungary, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey.

How many Visa cards are there in Europe?

In Europe, there are 460 million Visa debit, credit, and commercial cards.

How many card transactions overall are made every year?

In the 12 months ending June 2012 Visa cards were used to make purchases and cash withdrawals to the value of €1.8 trillion. 14% of consumer spending at the point of sale in Europe is with a Visa card, and almost 80% of that is on Visa debit cards.

Using my Visa card

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Where can I use my Visa card for making payments?

Visa enjoys unsurpassed acceptance around the world. In addition, Visa/PLUS is one of the world’s largest global ATM networks, offering cash access in local currency in more than 200 countries.

Can I get a card from Visa directly?

Visa does not issue cards. Please contact your bank or other payment service provider if you would like a Visa card.

What can I do if I don’t receive goods or services I have purchased using a Visa debit card?

Visa’s consumer protection offers consumers the opportunity to reclaim money spent on a Visa card if they are an innocent victim of fraud, they do not receive goods or services as expected, if goods are lost or the wrong goods are received. Simply put, there is no safer way to pay than with a Visa card. There is no upper limit on the value of the goods or services to be refunded and in most cases customers are covered for purchases abroad on their Visa cards as well as in the UK. The protection is subject to the terms and conditions of the payment services provider issuing the Visa card.

When I shop online how does Verified by Visa help protect me?

Verified by Visa is the password protected service that verifies a cardholder’s identity while shopping online. It requires the cardholder to provide a personal password when paying for goods online with their Visa card – just as they would provide a PIN or signature on the high street. Verified by Visa provides proof that a genuine cardholder and genuine Visa retailer are taking part in the transaction, protecting them against the risk of their card being used fraudulently on the internet. For the retailer it provides a guarantee the cardholder is who they say they are and reduces the likelihood of fraudulent transactions.

New / existing products and technology

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What are contactless payments and how does this technology work?

Contactless payments are where payment instructions are securely exchanged between a contactless EMV chip card and acceptance terminal using wireless communication technologies. The same type of payment instructions could also be exchanged between an acceptance terminal and a contactless EMV chip and PIN standard application in a mobile phone or an item such as a key fob. Irrespective of which method is used, contactless payments can be processed securely and cost-effectively in seconds. They are therefore an ideal payment method in situations where retailers need to process a large number of low value transactions, such as in fast food restaurants, convenience stores and transport terminals. They are also ideal for remote or unattended payment situations, such as vending machines, road tolls or parking meters. Further information can be found in the factsheets section of the website, or see how we’re making money flow with new products and technology.

Fees

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What are interchange fees?

Interchange is the fee typically paid by the retailer’s bank to the cardholder’s bank every time a Visa card is used. It should not be confused with the fees paid by retailers to their banks. Following a transaction, the retailer’s bank pays a fee to the cardholder’s bank. This helps banks share the costs of issuing Visa cards and the cost of signing up retailers to accept those cards. Interchange enables cardholders, retailers and their banks to participate in the transaction process. Further information can be found in the glossary section of the website.

Why do some retailers add a surcharge to card payments? Doesn’t this undermine Visa’s argument that cards are cheaper than cash for retailers?

Visa regulations include a no surcharging rule, however local laws in each European country may specifically allow retailers to surcharge. However, in countries where surcharging is permitted, very few retailers and businesses impose it as they recognise it discourages custom. Furthermore, most retailers benefit from card payments in a number of ways including: cost savings – no need to count, store and collect cash; and increased security - for example chip and PIN which has more than halved fraud levels since it was introduced; and a reduction in losses of cash from till.

With the implementation of the Payment Services Directive (PSD) – a regulatory initiative from the European Commission to regulate payment services and payment service providers, as part of the goal of achieving a Single Euro Payment Area (SEPA) - countries are obliged to legislate on whether surcharging is permissible or not. National Governments are working on transporting the directive into law, and countries are at various stages of this. Any countries that opt to permit surcharging will implicitly encourage the use of cash, which for society at large, is a more expensive and more insecure payment mechanism.

Fraud

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What is Visa doing to tackle payment fraud?

Fraud and business risks are constantly changing. This is why we are continuously working to evolve Visa’s security infrastructure, to develop new security-led products and features and to reduce the impact of fraud when it happens. We do this by working closely with our members, retailers and businesses, developing the tools that support securing transactions.

The biggest single factor in reducing fraud has been the introduction of EMV chip and PIN. Since it was introduced in the UK, high street fraud (known as face-to-face fraud) has more than halved. Fraud on lost or stolen cards in particular has fallen dramatically as they become useless for fraudsters who do not possess the correct PIN.

Visa sponsorship

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What sponsorship deals is Visa currently involved in?

Full details of Visa’s sponsorship deals can be found in the factsheets section of the website.