Visa USA Combines High-Growth Product Offerings to Launch First Prepaid Contactless Program

Visa USA Combines High-Growth Product Offerings to Launch First Prepaid Contactless Program

Issued by MetaBank, Visa-Branded Prepaid Contactless Cards Provide Compelling Alternative to Cash, Reflect Increased Consumer Demand for Electronic Payments

SAN FRANCISCO, December 13, 2006–Visa USA today announced the launch of its first contactless prepaid cards, providing consumers a faster and more convenient way to pay and offering merchants increased revenue opportunities, increased throughput and improved customer loyalty. MetaBank will be the first financial institution to issue the cards.

Beginning December 2006, the Visa Contactless prepaid cards became available to clients of Meta Payment Systems®, MetaBank’s prepaid card division. Like all Visa prepaid products, the Visa Contactless prepaid card can be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted, offering consumers a more secure, cost-effective and convenient alternative to cash and checks. The new Visa Contactless prepaid cards are embedded with a radio-frequency chip that allows consumers to make a contactless transaction by holding their card in front of a reader at checkout, instead of swiping it or handing it to a cashier.

“New product distribution channels at retailers and financial institutions, and an ever-expanding product line–in areas such as the underserved, healthcare and government disbursements–have fueled tremendous growth for Visa’s prepaid category and paved the way for continued innovation,” said Todd Brockman, senior vice president, prepaid products, Visa USA. “Adding the contactless feature to prepaid cards offers Visa and our stakeholders the opportunity to capture an even greater share of cash and check spends while responding to consumers’ continued desire for innovative electronic payments.”

Contactless Momentum Continues

Visa’s Contactless platform was designed with the flexibility to accommodate a full range of products–including credit, debit and prepaid–as well as nontraditional forms of payment–such as mobile phones and other handheld devices. Visa Contactless has enjoyed one of the fastest deployments in Visa history and is now a feature found on more than 6 million cards worldwide. In the U.S., more than 30,000 merchant locations accept contactless payments. Consumer adoption of Visa Contactless has led to impressive growth, especially in the area of “small ticket” purchases, defined by Visa as those under $25. Visa Contactless volume–that is, the amount spent by consumers using the contactless feature–has grown an average of 34 percent per month over the last fiscal year, with the average transaction worth nearly $17. For the same time period, the number of Visa Contactless transactions has grown an average of 34 percent each month.

Visa Contactless prepaid provides increased speed and convenience at the point of sale, making the cards ideal for high-volume, small ticket merchants and their customers. With no signature required for purchases under $25, Visa Contactless transactions are up to 25 percent faster than cash transactions, enabling consumers to speed through the checkout line and allowing merchants to serve more customers during peak periods. Visa acceptance in emerging segments, including quick service restaurants and convenience stores, continues to grow due in large part to consumer demand and usage habits. According to an April 2006 Visa survey, 45 percent of consumers stated they use their payment cards for small ticket purchases more frequently than they did three years ago, citing convenience (73 percent), efficiency (44 percent) and speed (39 percent) as key factors behind their payment choices.

“As even the smallest purchases migrate to plastic, Visa remains focused on developing products that provide benefits for our cardholders, merchants and member financial institutions,” said Brian Triplett, senior vice president of emerging product development at Visa USA. “Looking toward the future, Visa will enable more form factors with the contactless feature, like mini cards and mobile phones, ensuring Visa-branded products deliver the speed and convenience of contactless payments regardless of your interests or lifestyle.”

Contactless prepaid cards provide all the same security protections the industry has come to expect from Visa, including zero liability for fraudulent charges* and Visa’s industry-leading anti-fraud technology.

“With all of the options consumers have for paying for their everyday purchases, it’s critical that new products contain features that will elevate them to the top of a consumer’s wallet,” said Brad Hanson, executive vice president, MetaBank and president of Meta Payment Systems. “The Visa Contactless prepaid card provides consumers with a safer and more convenient payment alternative to cash and checks, as well as the speed and efficiency of contactless payments.”

* U.S.-issued cards only. Visa’s Zero Liability policy does not apply to commercial credit card or ATM transactions, or to PIN transactions not processed by Visa. Issuers should encourage cardholders to notify their financial institution immediately of any fraudulent use. Any specific restrictions, limitations, and other details should be set forth clearly in the cardholder agreement.

About MetaBank

MetaBank is a federally chartered savings bank headquartered in Storm Lake, Iowa. Meta Financial Group, Inc.® is the bank holding company for MetaBank, MetaBank West Central, Meta Payment Systems®, and Meta Trust Company®. The Meta Payment Systems division of MetaBank based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, serves banks, processors, and third party marketers by providing prepaid cards, credit cards, ACH origination, merchant acquiring, ATM sponsorship, and money transfer. For more information call 605.275.8052 or visit

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 13,369 member financial institutions, more than 500 million Visa-branded cards have been issued to cardholders in the United States. 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. VisaNet, Visa’s global processing system and the world’s largest financial network, processes transactions with unparalleled reliability. Visa offers a trusted, reliable and convenient way to access and mobilize financial resources–anytime, anywhere, anyway.

For more information

Media Contacts

Mick Conlin
(605) 782-1713

Elvira Swanson
Visa USA
(650) 432-8352