Reference Library

Government E-Payments Adoption Ranking

Government E-Payments Adoption Ranking

The global e-payments ecosystem continues to evolve at a staggering pace, as traditional concepts of finance, personal identity and trust are upended, almost overnight, by technological advances. To understand the growth and evolution of specific governments’ enablement of e-payment adoption and to gauge where countries stand in relation to one another, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) created the Government E-Payments Adoption Ranking (GEAR) in 2007. The 2018 edition of the GEAR Study was commissed by Visa and is EIU’s third, following publication in 2007 and 2011. The research for this study was conducted between fall 2017 and spring 2018 by a global team of country analysts.

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Digital payments and the global informal economy

Digital payments and the global informal economy

More than 23 percent of the world's economy is conducted out of sight of governments, totaling more than US$10.7 trillion of unreported economic output annually. This study, conducted by A.T. Kearney and Professor Friedrich Schneider at the Johannes Kepler University of Linz, Austria, is designed for policy makers around the world who are tackling the fiscal and social challenges that arise from widespread informal activity. Read how digital payments can help reduce the size of the informal economy while boosting GDP and tax revenue.

Informal Economy Infographic

Digitizing the informal economy: Infographic

The informal economy is legal, cash-dependent, income-generating activities conducted “off-the-books.” This could be a rickshaw in Kolkata or a vendor selling street tacos in Mexico City to unreported wages for an au pair in Dublin or a seasonal farm worker in California. Click here to learn what makes up the informal economy. 

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Informal Economy Report

Digital Payments and the Global Informal Economy

The study, Digital Payments and the Global Informal Economy, explores more than 700 measures and analyzes 60 countries to document how digital payments can reduce the size of the informal economy. Explore the complete findings, including how increasing the use of digital payments can add over US$1.5 trillion in GDP to the world's economy by 2021.

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Protecting Consumer Access to Deposits and Credit during a Bank Failure

Protecting Consumer Access to Deposits and Credit during a Bank Failure


The Effective Transfer of Card Portfolios to a Sound Bank: Guidance for Bank Supervisors

Following the global financial crisis, regulators have increasingly devoted attention to how banks might resolve or recover their operations in the event of financial stress. When dealing with insolvent financial institutions, regulators have a variety of options at their disposal. Regulators responsible for administering bank failures have generally transferred deposits and credit card portfolios to other viable banks without any interruption in service for cardholders or merchants. However, in certain countries, regulators terminate card programs. Regulators have many considerations in administering a failed bank and may focus on closing the institution, selling traditional loans and assets, paying out deposit insurance claims and maintaining trust in the broader banking system. By failing to focus on the continued value of the bank’s payment portfolio, actions to terminate card portfolios altogether can result in considerable cost to the government, disruption to customers and undermine confidence in the banking system.

In seeking to minimize the costs and impact of the bank failure, regulators should take into account the value of payment card portfolios as an asset and explore selling or transferring the portfolio—which would otherwise typically lose value quickly if the programs are closed—to another institution. If the regulator responsible for managing the wind-down of a failing bank does not recognize the value of the card portfolio, it may not pursue its sale or transfer, requiring a payment scheme to close the failed issuer’s payment programs (BINs - bank identification numbers). Such an outcome can be detrimental for customers of the failed issuer, the government deposit insurer, retail payment systems and the economy as a whole.

Though failures are not a common occurrence, we believe it is in the interest of all stakeholders to minimize their impact when they do occur. Visa has worked with regulators to facilitate the smooth transfer of payment card portfolios to assuming institutions without any interruption in service for cardholders and merchants and we believe it is important to share our experience and perspective on best practices for seamlessly transferring payment card portfolios from insolvent to viable financial institutions. Visa is ready and willing to collaborate with regulators on issues related to payment card portfolios during bank failures.

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Visa’s Innovations for a Cashless World Report

Visa’s Innovations for a Cashless World Report

For the first time, Visa is sharing a single study covering innovations in 16 of our largest markets, hoping to move the conversation forward as dramatic changes occur in our industry with the continued rise of digital payments. This report covers the latest trends, behavioral patterns, and growth opportunities for the future along with viewpoints from Visa experts.

Visa’s Innovation Report explores the transformation underway as new payment-enabled devices create more commerce opportunities. Inside this report we discuss subject matter from IoT to messaging platforms payments to blockchain technology in borderless transactions and more.

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Biometrics in Payments Report

Biometrics in Payments Report

Promontory releases biometric authentication report including ‘guiding principles’ for stakeholders

Biometrics once fell within the realm of science fiction—part of futuristic security systems featured in summer blockbuster films—but today they are being used in a growing number of everyday financial services use cases. Whether accessing a mobile wallet using a fingerprint scan or authenticating a transaction using facial recognition consumers are experiencing in real time the security and convenience that biometrics can bring to the payments ecosystem.

Biometric authentication is seeing rapid growth and shows great promise across a wide variety of financial applications. Juniper Research expects that biometrics will be used for more than 18 billion transactions by 2021, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 83.7% from 2016 levels.1 And, the value of biometrically-verified smartphone payment transactions across the globe is expected to exceed $210 billion in 2021.

In an era when all stakeholders in the ecosystem are rightly focused on payment security and risk management, biometrics stand to play a critical role. Biometric technologies offer payment system participants tangible benefits such as greater convenience and enhanced security, particularly when used as part of a layered, risk-based security strategy.

Visa engaged Promontory Financial Group, an IBM Company, to develop a research-based report examining the key drivers behind the increased adoption of biometric technologies, the benefits of biometric authentication in payments, risk mitigation actions, and issues that will require further attention by payment system stakeholders. Promontory’s report finds that the outlook for biometric authentication in payments is positive and sets out five guiding principles to assist in the consideration of the important role of biometrics in the future of payments.

  1. Foster Stakeholder Dialogue and Engagement: By engaging with a variety of payment system participants, policymakers can deepen their understanding of technology trends, stakeholder perspectives, and potential congruence with policy objectives.
  2. Support Industry Driven Standards and Interoperability: By supporting interoperability and industry-led, principles-based standards not tied to a specific technology, policymakers can help establish a lasting framework that can keep pace with both innovation and changing risks in the payments landscape.
  3. Reframe Security Discussions to Reflect New Technology Developments: Policymaker guidance that reflects technology developments and evolving security strategies can strengthen payment system security, allowing ecosystem participants to leverage innovative solutions and approaches to mitigate risk.
  4. Provide Legal Clarity for Payment System Participants: By engaging in multi-stakeholder discussions on legal issues related to biometric authentication – such as data storage, usage and transmission – before the passage of legal measures, policymakers can help build consensus around governance objectives, including assessing whether non-legislative responses such as industry standards may be sufficient.
  5. Lead by Example: Policymakers and governments can send a positive message to consumers and businesses alike by embracing biometric technology in their own products and services, as appropriate in their market.

The report is based on market research and interviews with industry experts, academics, and other key stakeholders, on topics including standardization, security, privacy and innovation.

Policymakers play a critical role in cultivating an environment that supports payment system innovations, not only in the area of biometric authentication, but also across the range of authentication and security solutions being developed and tested by ecosystem participants across markets. The guiding principles outlined in Promontory’s report can help promote further innovation in biometric authentication technologies, bringing the benefits of enhanced security and convenience to consumers and businesses alike.

Access the full report and report summary for more information.

1 Juniper Research, “Mobile Biometrics: Consumer Markets, Opportunities & Forecasts 2016- 2021.” December 2016.

Cashless Cities: Realizing the benefits of digital payments

Cashless Cities: Realizing the benefits of digital payments

Over the last decade, our society has seen a proliferation of digital commerce. Everything from the range of goods and services we buy to how we buy them has drastically shifted toward digital, bringing significant benefits to consumers, businesses and economies. As the world becomes more connected and the use of digital payments continues to rise, what is the likely outcome for global economies? Visa set out to answer this question in a new study, conducted by Roubini Thoughtlab, which examines the estimated economic impact of increasing the use of digital payment in 100 major cities around the globe. Here are the results.

 Cashless Cities Interactive

Cashless Cities: An Interactive Experience

What if consumers, businesses and government in your city expanded their use of digital payments? Click through our interactive graphic to understand the potential economic impact of increased digital payments on 100 cities around the world. Bring the data to life


Visa's Cashless Cities Report

The study, titled Cashless Cities: Realizing the Benefits of Digital Payments, analyzed the use, acceptance and cost-benefit impact of physical versus digital money. Explore the complete findings, including a potential combined net benefit of up to U.S. $470 billion per year across the 100 cities studied, in the full report. Download the report

Click here to download the technical appendix

The Next Wave in Digital Payments

The Next Wave in Digital Payments

Commerce continues to change at an unprecedented pace and is driving transformation in the global payments landscape. All of the players in the payments ecosystem need a clear action plan and strategy to realise the opportunities presented by digital payments, whether for financial institutions, merchants, technology companies or consumers.

The whitepaper, “The Next Wave in Digital Payments”, explores the drivers of change in digital payments and how that may impact your payment strategies.

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Growing your business with APIs

Growing your business with APIs

Mobile and digital technologies have changed the way we live. Consumers are doing business with all kinds of companies via apps and mobile devices. We expect to be able to shop, bank, book and plan our travel from the devices in the palms of our hands. Brands that offer seamless and intelligent experiences and personalized advice and recommendations are rewarded with consumer engagement and loyalty.

As digital engagement and expectations increase among consumers across industries, companies are under increasing pressure to improve efficiency, increase profitability and transform their value proposition in order to thrive in today’s hyper-connected world. Having a viable digital strategy can make the difference between transforming your business and watching your competition capitalize on previously inconceivable opportunities.

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) play a foundational role in realizing that strategy.

But what is an API and how can it benefit a business?

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Infographic - All you need to know about Tokenization

Infographic - All you need to know about Tokenization

Visa Token Service, a new security technology from Visa, replaces sensitive account information, such as the 16-digit account number, with a unique digital identifier called a token. The token allows payments to be processed without exposing actual account details that could potentially be compromised.


How Visa Token Service Works

The Visa Token Service enables digital payment service providers and financial institutions to offer their customers a safe way to shop on line and with mobile devices.


How Tokens Are Used 

As consumers increasingly shop with connected devices, the need for a seamless and secure digital payment experience becomes crucial. Without exposing the consumer's account to fraud, tokenization enables frictionless, card -free payments in digital commerce environments. 



Making eCommerce purchases is becoming commonplace. Tokenization provides online retailers with an innovative and secure way of handling payments. 



Tokenization provides a secure way for consumers to make in-store payments by simply waving their device near the payment terminal. 



The ability to pay with Visa is increasingly embedded in innovative mobile applications that make it even easier to pay for your transaction on the go. 


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*Not in all cases.

Infographic - Visa and the Internet of Things

Infographic - Visa and the Internet of Things


Visa Brings Secure Payments to the Internet of Things (IoT).

By 2020 there will be more than 50 billion devices connected to the internet*, providing a huge opportunity for these devices to include Visa payment experiences through the Visa Ready Program.


About the Visa Ready Program for the Internet of Things 

The Visa Ready Program is designed to help ensure that all approved devices meet Visa and EMVCo security and performance guidelines. The program provides innovators a path for devices, software and solutions to initiate or accept Visa payments. It also offers a framework for collaboration with Visa, as well as guidance and best practices to access the power of the Visa network. Click here to learn more.


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Accelerating The Growth of Digital Payments in India

Accelerating The Growth of Digital Payments in India

Over the past two decades, India has pushed hard to become a less–cash society. In the early 1990s, the Reserve Bank of India spearheaded the development of technological infrastructure that facilitated the creation of a payment and settlement ecosystem. In 2007, the Indian Parliament passed the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, after which the central bank released a series of vision documents for the periods of 2009–12, 2012–15, and 2015–18. These papers were supplemented by initiatives to promote wider acceptance and deeper penetration of electronic payments in India.

The Government of India has encouraged the shift to a less–cash society with its push for digital payments through the JAM Trinity: the Prime Minister’s Jan-Dhan Yojana, Aadhaar, and mobile connectivity. We welcome the government’s efforts, including the short and medium-term measures outlined in the Office Memorandum of February 29, 2016, to accelerate the adoption of digital payments.

To understand better how the country might benefit from increased digitisation of payments, this study endeavours to estimate the cost of cash to the Indian economy, and the possible gains from reducing the cost of cash over the next five years. The report also discusses policies and practices adopted by countries like Indonesia, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and Uruguay to help transition to a less–cash society. Based on these experiences, and taking into account the proposed measures and state of play, we propose a roadmap for India to achieve its goal of increasing the penetration of digital payments in the future. In doing so we layout stretch aspirations for the country.


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Moodys Analytics Study The Global Impact of Electronic Payments

Moody’s Analytics Study: The Global Impact of Electronic Payments

Payment cards aren’t just convenient—they help stimulate economic growth in countries around the world. A recent study by Moody’s Analytics, commissioned by Visa, examines the economic impact of electronic payments in 70 countries. The results of the study suggest that increased use of electronic payments—in particular credit, debit and prepaid cards—leads to a boost in consumption, which in turn leads to increases in production, jobs, income and GDP.

Explore this interactive graphic for a birds-eye view of how electronic payments are helping to shape economies around the globe.

Perspectives on Accelerating Global Payment Acceptance

Perspectives on Accelerating Global Payment Acceptance

Nearly two billion people around the world don't have access to a financial payment account. Instead, they use cash—an estimated $21 trillion, in fact, in cash purchases are made each year. The benefits to countries that convert that cash into electronic payments, however, are significant: consider reduced shadow economies, increased economic growth and a boost to the welfare among citizens with more secure and convenient ways to pay.

Gain insights with the "Perspectives on Accelerating Global Payment Acceptance" executive summary and policy paper.