Visa Money Transfer, a card-based service enabling a Visa cardholder to send funds conveniently and securely to another Visa cardholder, debuted in Ukraine in 2003. Since then, the service has been extended to tens of millions of people who no longer need to wait at a money transfer agent's office, but instead can use the convenience and security of their 16-digit Visa account number to send and receive money. Depending on their issuing bank, they can execute the transfer at a bank branch, using the internet, via an ATM or self-service kiosk.
"Visa's growth has been the result of an unwavering commitment to finding innovative ways to use our network and products to make payments more secure and more convenient," said Elizabeth Buse, Visa's global head of product. "Our approach to person-to-person payments and remittances is to use our global technology to create tailored solutions for various countries and apply what we've learned to expand the service worldwide."
The demand for money transfer includes domestic remittances, person-to-person payments and remittances by expatriate workers who continue to have commitments in their home countries. The World Bank has reported that workers' remittances around the world were US$240 billion in 2007.(1) In addition to cardholder convenience, money transfer programs enable financial institutions to better meet the needs of their existing customers.
Asia Pacific Expansion of Visa Money Transfer
Bank Mandiri, Indonesia's largest bank, made Visa Money Transfer available to approximately eight million Mandiri Visa Debit cardholders in June. The service allows Mandiri Visa Debit cardholders to send money through any of the bank's 3,000 ATMs to any other Visa cardholder in Indonesia. Recipients are able to use the money to make purchases, pay bills or withdraw cash from any Visa or PLUS ATM anywhere Visa is accepted in the world.
Singapore Post Limited, (SingPost), became the first post office in the world to offer a Visa Money Transfer service when it rolled out a program to all of its 51 branches earlier this year. Today, just four months after introduction, SingPost is expanding the service to enable customers to remit funds through more than 60 SingPost automated machines, making it possible for customers to send money 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The SingPost service facilitates money transfer from customers in Singapore to Visa cardholders in nine countries around the world - Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and the United Kingdom.
In India, the largest remittance recipient country in the world(2), Visa Money Transfer has gained critical mass since its introduction there in 2004. Fourteen banks offer domestic Visa Money Transfer programs to more than 60 million Visa cardholders across more than 150 cities and towns in India.
Visa Money Transfer Momentum
Since 2003, a total of 46 Visa Money Transfer programs have been rolled out in the following 13 countries - France, Georgia, Greece, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Russia, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates. While the Asia Pacific region is leading the deployment of new Visa Money Transfer programs, significant momentum has been gained in Central Europe and the Middle East.
Examples of other innovative Visa remittance programs include:
-- United Arab Emirates: Since 2006, Visa has worked with a National Bank of Abu Dhabi to fully manage a Web-based, domestic and cross-border Visa Money Transfer program, providing ease of deployment and faster time to market for the bank.
-- Russia: In 2008 alone, ten new Visa Money Transfer programs have launched in Russia. Beginning in 2006, banks in Russia offered the first Visa Money Transfer programs providing services at ATMs. Today 16 banks offer domestic money transfer and card account repayment services at over 5,000 ATMs, enabling consumers to send money to any of the Visa card accounts in Russia.
-- Ukraine: In 2003, Privatbank launched the first Visa Money Transfer service as a pilot program where the money transfer was offered at bank branches. They continue to be a pioneer by offering web-based, cross-border Visa Money Transfer service, using Verified by Visa to authenticate senders.
-- Kazakhstan: In April 2007, four banks launched the first 24/7 cross-border Visa Money Transfer service at ATMs with Halyk Bank leading the way. The transfer funds are sent to Visa cards all over the world with the most favorite destinations being Russia, China, United Kingdom, Israel, Germany and South Africa. Halyk's service is now being extended to a mobile channel where senders can initiate transfers from their mobile phone via text message.
Global Expansion of Visa Money Transfer
Visa's goal is to utilize its global processing platform and payments network to make money transfer between the 1.6 billion Visa cards around the world safe, convenient and reliable. To this end, Visa is continually enhancing existing programs and developing new services. Work underway includes technology infrastructure improvements to support global processing of card-based remittances, and to open new channels through which remittances can be sent and received, including through financial institution branches, the internet, mobile devices and Visa's global ATM network.
As a global company, operating the world's largest electronic payments network, Visa Inc. is uniquely positioned to deliver flexible services that meet the demand for money transfer services and to support the introduction of Visa Money Transfer service to new geographies in key domestic and cross-border money transfer corridors.
About Visa Inc.: Visa Inc. operates the world's largest retail electronic payments network providing processing services and payment product platforms. This includes consumer credit, debit, prepaid and commercial payments, which are offered under the Visa, Visa Electron, Interlink and PLUS brands. Visa enjoys unsurpassed acceptance around the world, and Visa/PLUS is one of the world's largest global ATM networks, offering cash access in local currency in more than 170 countries. For more information, visit www.corporate.visa.com.
(1) The World Bank, "Migration and Development Brief," by Dilip Ratha, Sanket Mohapatra, K. M. Vijayalakshmi and Zhimei Xu, November 29, 2007
(2) US$27 billion in 2007, ibid