Innovation has been part of our DNA at Visa since 1958, and today it has never been stronger. Visa Inventors, an ongoing Visa.com series, takes a deeper look at Visa’s top innovators and their genius ideas.
As a VP in Visa’s Global Financial Inclusion team, Stacy thinks about innovation in terms of problem solving—looking at the capabilities of our network and dreaming up the possibilities. Back in 2004, when the government changed the tax code related to health benefits, she was working with several companies interested in adding card technology to flexible spending accounts. “Part of the dialogue then was how to design a card so that it could only be used to buy healthcare-related items,” she says.
Stacy came up with a solution where, within a Visa transaction, indicators and sub-totals could be inserted to notify the issuer what portion of the basket of goods is for healthcare-related items and apply approval rules as appropriate. Her team worked with Visa IT to modify the network and also created an industry standards organization that would ensure that every transaction processed that way on our network was compliant from a tax perspective.
Seven inventions later, Stacy mentors today new graduates starting their career at Visa and encouraging them to dive deep into Visa’s network. “Early in my career here, I had the opportunity to get immersed in how the network works and it has really been invaluable.”
So what makes Visa a good place for innovation? “Because we’re in the middle of the ecosystem we can see so many different types of opportunities, and decide where to engage. For the healthcare invention, we wouldn’t have been able to process those transactions if we hadn’t had that foresight to make those changes to our network early on. We were also flexible enough and thought about entities differently to allow those ideas to flourish.”