Visa Hits 100 Million Chip Cards Milestone in Latin American and the Caribbean

Visa Hits 100 Million Chip Cards Milestone in Latin American and the Caribbean

Miami, May 6th, 2010–Visa Inc. reported more than 100 million chip cards issued in the Latin America and the Caribbean, as of the first quarter of the company’s 2010 fiscal year1. This milestone marks a growth of 10 times the number of Visa smart cards in circulation in the last three years, demonstrating the strength of chip as a security solution against fraud, and positioning Latin America at the forefront of this technological innovation.

“At a time when everybody is preparing for a new normal, Visa is focused on providing valuable payment innovations that bring efficiency, convenience and security to our clients”, says Jose Maria Ayuso, Head of Products for Visa Latin America and the Caribbean. “This chip milestone consolidates Visa’s innovation leadership in the region, demonstrating that our product offerings drive real benefits to our cardholders and bottom line results to our partner-banks”.

Visa launched its first Visa Smart Debit and Credit (VSDC) program in 1996, introducing consumers to a new generation of electronic payments, which promised to reduce card skimming and increased product value proposition by adding multiplications to a same plastic. In 2006, 10 years later, the company reached the 10 million chip cards milestone in the region, a momentum which was celebrated with the regional campaign “10 years, 10 million”. Today, only three years later, the number of chip cards issued in the region has grown 1000%.

While security of electronic transactions continues to be a top priority for consumers, regulators and payments industry alike, driving national migrations in Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela and, more recently, in Colombia, it is the chip multi-application platform that opens an new world of benefits to all members of the electronic payments value chain.

Currently, 17 countries in Latin American and the Caribbean count on a VSDC program. An upward trend in the issuance of multi-application cards enabled with debit and credit in the same plastic, approximately 30% of Visa smart cards in the region, signals a consumer preference for consolidated, more convenient solutions.

Other programs that bring more efficiency to the financial system and contribute to more secure and vibrant commerce include: payment cards enabled with Visa payWave contactless solution, public transportation and toll payment, instant rewards, and digital signature application for corporate taxes payments.

Amongst the countries in the region that are leading the way in terms of issuance and activation of Visa
smart cards, the most relevant by number of chip cards issued are:

1) Brazil
2) Mexico
3) Venezuela
4) Peru
5) Panama
6) El Salva
7) Chile
8) Costa Rica

1 Quarter ending in 12/31/09

*All card numbers are based on data reported by issuing-banks in the Operating Certificates as of 12/31/2009.

About Visa

Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable digital currency. Underpinning digital currency is one of the world’s most advanced processing networks–VisaNet–that is capable of handling more than 10,000 transactions a second, with fraud protection for consumers and guaranteed payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa’s innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer onsumers more choices: pay now with debit, ahead of time with prepaid or later with credit products. For ore information, visit


Claudia Parazzoli, Visa Inc., Latin America and Caribbean, Tel +1 (305) 328-1268,
Sandra Pinto, Burson-Marsteller, +1 (305) 347-4324,