Visa and Leading North American Banks Launch Transaction Notification Pilot


"Early Warning" Service Gives Cardholders Extra Confidence and Security

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aug. 18, 2008--Visa (NYSE:V), the global leader in payments, and eight leading North American financial institutions - PNC Bank, SunTrust Bank, U.S. Bank, Wachovia, and Wells Fargo in the United States, and Royal Bank of Canada, TD Bank Financial Group, and Vancity in Canada - have agreed to initiate a pilot program with up to a total of 2,000 participants to test the delivery of real-time notification alerts on Visa accounts.

The program, which is being conducted in cooperation with some of the largest North American issuers, is designed to enhance the consumer payment experience by alerting cardholders in real-time or near real-time of transaction activity on their Visa account - typically within seconds rather than hours or days. Participants will receive notification alerts from Visa through email or Short Message Service (SMS) delivered directly to their mobile devices.

Based on Visa's state-of-the-art transaction authorization system, and its ability to analyze and conduct risk score transactions "in-flight," the service allows Visa cardholders to set thresholds that will trigger a transaction alert. Alert types that Visa cardholders may choose in the pilot include:

-- cash withdrawal from an ATM machine;

-- a transaction initiated cross border;

-- an Internet or telephone transaction and

-- a transaction that exceeds an amount that has been chosen by the cardholder.

Through the alert received via email or SMS text, cardholders can verify the transaction details, and if the transaction appears to be irregular, can immediately contact their bank to help stop further transactions on the card. The service is designed to help cardholders keep closer track of their transactions and spending levels as they go about their daily routine. According to a recent Javelin Strategy & Research report, consumers view timely alerts as a valuable resource to help detect fraud.

"Information is power, especially when delivered in a timely manner," said Elizabeth Buse, Global Head of Product at Visa Inc. "Visa already delivers real-time transaction risk scores to financial institutions, and we are now empowering cardholders in this pilot with real-time transaction alerts. Participating Visa cardholders can typically receive alerts before they walk out of the store, rather than hours or even days later."

Visa's Mobile Platform

Visa began testing mobile notifications in 2007, beginning with an internal employee pilot. Mobile alerts are part of a suite of mobile services that are supported by the Visa Mobile Platform, which was created to help financial institutions tap into mobile technology to deliver enhanced products and services. This effort comes as consumers globally are relying on their mobile phones to do far more than just handle calls. A recent Pew Research Centre report found that more than 80 percent of consumers between the ages of 18 and 49 use their mobile devices to engage in activities such as sending text messages, taking pictures and accessing the Internet.

Worldwide, Visa's Mobile Platform is supporting mobile trials of:

-- mobile payments made both at the point of sale (using Visa payWave technology) and away from it by permitting remote payments via text message or the Internet;

-- value-added services, which in addition to account notification can include the delivery of offers, coupons and rewards directly to a consumer's mobile device;

-- mobile acceptance, enabling mobile devices to accept Visa payments, thus extending the flexibility of merchants and

-- money transfer, which allows cardholders to use their mobile device to electronically transfer money to family and friends around the world directly from their Visa accounts.

Visa has announced mobile trials and commercial rollouts in Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

About Visa Inc.: Visa Inc. operates the world's largest retail electronic payments network providing processing services and payment product platforms. This includes consumer credit, debit, prepaid and commercial payments, which are offered under the Visa, Visa Electron, Interlink and PLUS brands. Visa enjoys unsurpassed acceptance around the world, and Visa/PLUS is one of the world's largest global ATM networks, offering cash access in local currency in more than 170 countries. For more information, visit

CONTACT: Visa Inc.
Sandra Chu, 415-932-2564
[email protected]

SOURCE: Visa Inc.