Global Shopping When You Apply For a Visa Card

A majority of consumers today prefer to apply for a Visa account or for the main competitor, MasterCard. Visa is preferred by those who travel worldwide as the Visa logo is accepted at merchants in almost every country on the planet.

Visa, Inc.

With company headquarters in San Francisco, California, Visa is a company using global payment technology to process electronic fund transfers around the world. This is most often done through credit cards and debit cards that carry the Visa brand logo.

As of 2008, Visa held a 38.3% market share of the credit card industry and 60.7% of the consumer market for debit cards. Two years ago, the Visa network processed 62 billion financial transactions with a dollar volume of $4.4 trillion.

Not surprisingly, Visa, Inc has operation centers in Asia, the Pacific, North America, Central and South America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East and Central and Eastern Europe. Visa Europe operates as a separate entity and issues such credit cards as the Visa Debit in the European region.

History

By the 1950's, middle class Americans had revolving credit accounts with various merchants. Each account was a separate account that allowed charges to be made on purchases from that particular store brand.

Every merchant billed separately on a monthly basis which was a lot of paperwork and administrative work and highly inefficient. There were charge cards used in the 50's, most notably Diners Club. Those cards could be used at various locations but had to be paid in full each month.

The financial service industry in the US saw the need for a cohesive approach to use of revolving credit accounts but several attempts by the mid-1950s had failed to catch the public's attention. The companies promoting the new structure were small banks without the financial backing to properly promote a new plan.

Visa was created as a result of Bank of America's launch of the BankAmericard program in 1958. With an offer sent to 60,000 credit card holders, the idea was to create an all-purpose credit card.

The first test was smooth but testing was limited to the Fresno, California locale to limit the potential risk of the launch. Worried about potential competitors, BOA widened the scope of its testing of the new credit card model and within a year the BankAmericard was accepted by 20,000 merchants.

There were many growing pains for the new financial concept. Perhaps the most notable was the belief by the chief officer that bank customers were routinely good and honest people who would not take advantage of the credit offered to them.

In fact, 22% of the accounts quickly went into delinquent status though the expectation was a 4% delinquency. Credit card fraud made its first debut.

When the public became aware the agreement for the new fangled credit card made them liable for all charges even if the charges were fraudulent, there was a backlash against the BankAmericard. In the end, the losses suffered by BOA were in the range $20 million dollars for this grand experiment.

Bank of America had broken new ground and proceeded to launch a new and improved all purpose credit card. The bank apologized for the previous mess in publicly placed advertising and added necessary financial controls and limitations.

As time went on, BOA added other banks to the new credit card process and in 1976 made the choice to bring international networks in under a single name. The name Visa was chosen as it was easy to pronounce and recognize in any language.

If You Apply...

Today, if you apply for a card from Visa you are unlikely to think of Bank of America unless you are making application for a card from that particular financial institution.

Instead, you are choosing a lending bank based on the terms of their agreement, their fees and their annual interest charged. You are also considering your own credit rating and financial management when you apply for a Visa credit card.

The Visa logo is so common today that we seldom think of it. We may apply for a Disney credit card or another popular brand and only later realize we did apply for a Visa credit card.

It is possible to apply for a card from Visa by visiting the official website. This card is highly flexible and is branded only with the Visa logo.

Traditional Visa Credit Cards

Traditional credit accounts are for those who want the convenience of carrying a credit card. It's idea for students, a young couple just starting out or for someone who needs to re-establish credit. To make application, visitors are directed to a large list of participating banks to choose from.

Traditional Rewards Visa cards allow you to choose rewards and benefits that suit your lifestyle. Hotel points, cash back, airline travel, special deals on brand name products and gift cards are features for these accounts.

Again, when you apply you are directed to a list of banks and credit unions that process applications for Visa branded cards.

Visa Signature Card

You may have a Visa signature card and not realize it. No need to apply for a Visa credit card if you have a Chase Sapphire, Marriott or one of several airline branded credit card accounts. Chances are the Visa logo on your credit card has the words "signature card" just below the logo.

When you for a signature account you add benefits and rewards offered by Visa Signature to the rewards or other offers of the merchant or retail chain using the labeled credit card.

From discounts at certain events to special treatment and discount purchases, the Visa Signature logo is definitely worth having. It's an added bonus when you have a good credit history and apply for Visa accounts through major banks and special merchants.

Summary

Visa is available to almost everyone who uses credit cards. From prepaid debt cards to gift cards, you will find the Visa logo prominently displayed. Whether your credit rating is excellent or you are rebuilding damaged credit, it's a good idea to apply for a Visa credit card.