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Visa Inc.'s financial literacy initiative was created in 1995 and has grown into a robust, multi-faceted program used by parents, teachers, students, and consumers of all ages around the globe. Visa's financial literacy program websites receive more than 3.5 million page views each month. Our award-winning Practical Money Skills for Life and What's My Score programs are used widely by educators, consumers and parents so they can learn the fundamentals of personal finance.

Practical Money Skills for Life

Our flagship Practical Money Skills for Life program includes a robust classroom curriculum and interactive resources for parents and consumers. Among the most popular components are the educational video games. Working with the National Football League, Visa promotes financial literacy in high schools throughout the U.S. with Financial Football, a personal finance video game. Since 2005, Visa has reached agreements with 37 state governments and the District of Columbia to distribute Financial Football at no cost to every high school and middle school in those states (over 28,000 schools so far). Financial Soccer rolled out in 30 countries in the months leading up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ and is available in 14 languages. The game is now available in 35 countries.

To provide elementary school children with foundational personal finance skills, Visa introduced two new educational video games in April 2011. Peter Pig's Money Counter teaches kids to count coins, while Money Metropolis helps them learn about saving for a goal. Both games can be played online, with Peter Pig also available for Android phones and tablets.

Visa runs a Practical Money Skills for Life Facebook fan page, YouTube channel and Twitter account-all focused on financial literacy. Another direct communications channel, the Practical Money Skills for Life monthly newsletter, has over 80,000 subscribers and provides educators with timely articles, tips and curriculum updates.

At the 2012 White House Summit, Visa also launched a robust, Practical Money Skills Course high school financial literacy curriculum featuring 22 standards-based lessons in six key areas. The dynamic, state-of-the-art course is available for download, with a free iBook version available for iPads on iTunes.

Visa has partnered with several businesses to launch a unique employer-based financial literacy program to help workers with money management. As part of this initiative, Visa launched a program with McDonald's to provide personal finance education to 850,000 of the restaurant chain's employees, the largest program of its kind in the United States.

Each year, Visa partners with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago to hold the Financial Literacy & Education Summit. This summit convenes international leaders in finance and education to discuss a variety of topics, including showcasing best practices that can be applied to ensure that consumers of all ages have the necessary tools and resources to make wise financial decisions.

What's My Score?

The What's My Score program includes free online tools aimed at the unique needs of college students and young adults. What's My Score resources include the Money 101 curriculum, which teaches the basics of budgeting, spending, online banking, and understanding credit. It includes a hands-on student workbook.

Students can use What's My Score's online tools to get information on everything from finding a job to getting college loans deferred. They can also take our Credit 101 tutorial to gauge their understanding of key credit issues, and read our What's My Score blog. With several posts weekly, our blog covers important financial issues for today's college students-from finding a job to building credit without a credit card.

Backing Up Our Efforts

Research is a cornerstone of Visa's financial literacy efforts, providing critical insight into the financial capabilities and needs of individuals from communities around the globe. Most recently, Visa presented an International Financial Literacy Barometer in conjunction with Kiplinger, which featured the results of financial literacy surveys conducted among 25,500 survey participants in 27 countries. The Barometer results will help to guide our programs, resources and efforts moving forward. Visa has released a new version of the International Barometer of Women's Financial Literacy in April 2013. The purpose of the study is to gauge the strength and weaknesses of financial education worldwide in order to identify opportunities for improvement.

Visa believes in the power of financial literacy to produce results. We've also conducted research illustrating the impact of such programs and continue to make the case for programs that will develop the financial muscles of American children and young adults. One example is the landmark Wells Fargo study showing the effectiveness of basic financial education.

The Wells Fargo Card Services research showed that first-time cardholders could substantially improve their use of credit by reviewing online lessons about credit usage. Young adults receiving their first credit cards who completed an online education program showed a 51.2 percent improvement in bankruptcy rates. Participants also had 20 percent lower revolving balances, were 45.1 percent less likely to have past due accounts by 60 days and were 22.8 percent less likely to have late fees on accounts than those who didn't take the lessons. These statistics point to more responsible credit use among this group overall. The full results of the research can be viewed here.

Next Steps

Visa's financial literacy programs will continue growing to meet the needs of our clients and their cardholders around the world. We remain committed to helping consumers manage their money successfully by partnering with clients and third parties to deliver compelling financial materials to those who need it the most.

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Financial Football

Play Financial Football, a free, online video game that combines the world's most popular sport with an award-winning financial literacy curriculum. Read more...