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History of Visa

Visa can trace its roots back to 1958, when the Bank of America launched BankAmericard, the first consumer credit card program available to middle-class consumers and small- to medium-sized merchants in the United States. It didn't take long for the company to grow; the company expanded internationally in 1974, followed quickly by the introduction of the debit card in 1975.

Two changes took place in the 1970s that defined our organization and reshaped an entire industry. First, BankAmericard became an independent entity that was eventually united under a common global brand — Visa. Second, Visa launched VisaNet, the world's first truly electronic authorization, clearing and settlement system, which enabled transactions to be completed in seconds.

These two milestones brought scale, security, reliability, and ubiquity to what was a fragile and fragmented business.

Visa continued to operate as a series of entities owned regionally by banks across the world until 2007, when the United States; Canada; Latin America and Caribbean; Asia Pacific, and Central Europe, Middle East and Africa regions merged to form Visa Inc. This company went public in March 2008 in one of the largest and most successful IPOs in history.

Today, Visa operates in 200 countries and territories and our products and services are available on any device – card, laptop, tablet, and mobile device. As we look to the future, we are tied to vision first envisioned by our founder Dee Hock – to be the best way to pay and be paid, for everyone, everywhere.


Every day, in every corner of the globe, Visa is making news. Find our recent announcements, contact information and other material for media and analysts. Read more...


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