Visa Takes Big Step Into Small Ticket Payments

Visa Takes Big Step Into Small Ticket Payments

Visa Launches Programs to Expand Card Acceptance and Usage in Small Ticket Segments

SAN FRANCISCO, April 11, 2006–From morning coffee to laundry to parking, purchases less than $25 represent a significant share of U.S. consumer spending. Small is getting even bigger, as Visa is leading the way in making these everyday purchases faster, secure and more convenient for millions of cardholders and participating merchants.

Visa Campaign Drives Small Ticket Acceptance and Usage

Visa has launched a comprehensive strategy to grow its presence in this burgeoning electronic payments space. Visa anticipates that the No Signature Required program and expanded Small Ticket Payment Service will accelerate card acceptance and usage at traditionally cash-heavy merchants by increasing cardholder convenience and providing economic incentives to acquirers.

As part of Visa’s No Signature Required program for transactions less than $25, a broad range of cash-heavy businesses can now accept Visa for purchases without obtaining a cardholder signature. Visa’s small ticket strategy also expands the Small Ticket Payment Service to offer acquirers decreased credit and debit interchange rates on consumer card transactions of $15 or less in seven new merchant categories. Now, a total of 14 categories can benefit from the reduced rates for transactions below this threshold, including a further reduction on debit interchange beginning this month.

“Visa’s small ticket payments strategy is just one example of how we’re working to anticipate needs and give consumers more reasons to use their payment cards in new places,” said Elizabeth Buse, executive vice president, product development and management, Visa USA. “For merchants, card payments that replace cash provide faster service, accounting efficiencies and can bring higher average tickets.”

Visa’s preliminary estimates indicate that by the end of 2006 as many as 27 percent of all Visa transactions may qualify for Visa’s No Signature Required program.

Small Ticket Means Big Prospects

The small ticket payments segment represents a sizable opportunity for Visa, as consumers increasingly use their cards for everyday purchases. The merchant segments that qualify for Visa’s No Signature Required program represent approximately $750 billion in consumer spending, half of which is cash today.

According to a recent Visa survey of 1,132 Americans, more than one in three (38 percent) stated that they use their payment cards at least four times per week for small ticket purchases. The types of small ticket purchases most frequently made by survey respondents are: gas and service stations (71 percent); meals and fast food restaurants (60 percent); drug stores (51 percent); and convenience stores (50 percent).

Consumer Preference for Electronic Payment Grows

Visa’s volume on purchases less than $25 in targeted small ticket segments totaled $49.1 billion in 2005, up 25 percent from 2004. In the recent Visa survey, 45 percent of respondents said they use their payment cards for small ticket purchases more frequently than they did three years ago. Consumers surveyed overwhelmingly said that they use payment cards for their convenience (73 percent), efficiency (44 percent) and speed (39 percent). In addition, 50 percent noticed that small ticket purchases without signature were faster than cash or signing a receipt.

Visa attributes continued growth to a number of factors including: rising consumer preference to use cards for everyday purchases, the popularity of the Visa check card over cash for small purchases and enhanced payment solutions like Visa Contactless that add value across a variety of small ticket merchant segments.

Visa’s Small Ticket Program at a Glance

Visa’s initiatives provide merchants with greater incentives to accept Visa and motivate cardholders to use Visa for small ticket purchases.

  • Merchants can forgo obtaining cardholder signatures on receipts for authorized Visa transactions less than $25 in order to expedite checkout. This signature elimination is available in several merchant segments where fraud has been historically low, such as fast food restaurants, drug stores/pharmacies, parking lots and movie theaters, among others.

  • Visa has also extended its small ticket program to merchant segments that previously did not qualify such as: bus lines, tolls and bridges, news dealers and newsstands, laundries and dry cleaners, copy services and car washes.

  • Visa has reduced the interchange reimbursement fee to acquirers on Visa check card transactions of $15 or less in several small ticket merchant segments in order to potentially lower costs for a broader set of eligible merchants.

“We’ve tailored the program so that it applies to segments where the merchant value proposition is the strongest, and where it will be most popular with our cardholders,” adds Buse. “We’re committed to developing products and services that add value for our cardholders, merchants and members.”

In addition to policy and interchange modifications, Visa has implemented programs to help small ticket merchants provide faster service, increase sales and improve operating efficiencies. Efforts include Visa Contactless, turnkey marketing materials, tools that help merchants determine their acceptance costs and best practices in fraud detection, among others.

About the Visa Small Ticket Purchases Survey

The Visa Small Ticket Purchases Survey is based on online interviews with 1,132 adult Americans who hold a credit card or a debit card. The survey was conducted from March 31 – April 3, 2006 using Survey Sampling International’s online consumer panel SurveySpot™. Results of the survey have a margin of error due to sampling of no more than plus-or-minus three percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.

About Visa USA

Visa USA is the nation’s leading payment brand and largest payment system, enabling banks to provide their consumers and business customers with a wide variety of payment alternatives tailored to meet their evolving needs. Visa USA is committed to increasing the choice, convenience, acceptance and security of Visa payments for all stakeholders in the payment system – members, cardholders and merchants. Through its 13,420 member financial institutions, more than 488 million Visa-branded cards have been issued to cardholders in the United States. Last year, U.S.-based financial institutions relied on Visa’s processing system, VisaNet, to facilitate $1.3 trillion in transactions with unparalleled reliability.

Worldwide, cardholders in more than 150 countries carry more than 1 billion Visa-branded cards, accounting for more than $3 trillion in annual transaction volume.

Visa offers a trusted, reliable and convenient way to access and mobilize financial resources – anytime, anywhere, anyway.


Randa Ghnaim
Visa USA

Emily Collins
Fleishman Hillard