Visa makes it easier to pay and be paid. Visa payment transactions take place every second of every day in every corner of the world. We're accepted in more than 200 countries and territories across the globe. Behind each Visa transaction is a remarkable infrastructure ensuring that no matter where in the world you are, Visa transactions are safe, reliable and convenient.
The typical Visa transaction has four parties:
- The merchant is any entity — a store, restaurant, online retailer, hotel or airline — that accepts Visa as payment.
- The acquirer is a financial institution that enlists merchants to accept Visa payments and ensures they get paid for each transaction.
- The issuer is a financial institution that provides Visa-branded cards or other Visa-branded payment products to consumers and businesses. When a Visa-branded credit card is used, the issuer "lends" the consumer the funds to complete the transaction. If it is a debit or prepaid card transaction, the funds are automatically withdrawn from the account and transferred to the acquirer.
- The account holder is any consumer or business using a Visa card or other Visa-branded payment product to make purchases.
We have a simple and unwavering vision that can be traced to our beginnings in 1958: to be the best way to pay and be paid for everyone, everywhere.
We know that every Visa transaction is a promise. Whether it's a street vendor in Brazil selling food to make a living, or a fisherman in Rwanda transferring money to pay his daughter's school fees, we promise to provide the most secure and seamless payment experience possible.
By delivering on that promise day after day, year after year, we have grown our network to 2.3 billion cards, 36 million merchants and 14,300 financial institutions. What makes all this possible is our global network, our relentless investment in innovation and our dedicated people.
Over the last four decades, we've built one of the world's only real-time global networks – VisaNet – capable of authorizing, clearing and settling more than 56,000 transaction messages per second and fully operational 99.99999 percent of the time.
Innovation in payments has defined Visa. We have enabled payments by card, phone, computer and mobile device, and we are now working to accelerate the shift from cash and check not just to cards but to all other digital channels.
Working every day to make Visa the best way to pay and be paid are nearly 10,000 of the brightest minds in payments and technology. And we're united by our commitment to our clients and accountholders.
As successful as Visa has been, we still have a long way to go to realize our ultimate goal of delivering secure and reliable electronic payments to everyone, everywhere. The good news is that convergence of ubiquitous mobile technology and our secure and scalable global network is bringing this goal within reach.