Consumer Payment Card News

VISA's Consumer Initiative

VISA announced a year-long campaign this morning to provide personal finance education seminars in twenty U.S. cities. The initiative was announced as part of this weeks National Consumer Credit Awareness Week. The seminars to be called Money 101:The Basics of Balancing Your Budget will be hosted by personal finance author Terry Savage, co-sponsored by the NFCC and will begin in May. VISA says it will announce other consumer education programs over the next few months.

FULL STORY:

Responding to the need to deliver easy-to-use credit and debt management information to American consumers, Visa U.S.A. is announcing a national consumer education program that will bring financial management information to communities around the country.

Scheduled to kick-off during National Consumer Credit Awareness Week (April 21-27), Visa U.S.A. is sponsoring this comprehensive program to educate a broad cross-section of American consumers on useful financial-management information.

“With market leadership comes responsibility,” said David Melancon, vice president of Corporate Communications, Visa U.S.A. “Visa and its members are committed to providing consumers with the education they need to effectively manage the increasing number of payment and credit options available.”

This year-long campaign will ultimately include a wide variety of programs, ranging from local seminars featuring personal finance expert Terry Savage to academic programs, which provide consumers with useful money- management tools. Many of the key initiatives will offer Visa member banks opportunities to participate.

The program will launch with a seminar series titled “Money 101: The Basics of Balancing Your Budget,” which will visit more than 20 U.S. cities from Boston to Honolulu this year beginning in May. Noted financial expert Terry Savage will discuss financial management techniques, debt reduction and planning. Co-sponsored by the National Foundation for Consumer Credit (NFCC), the series will also feature local credit counselors available for one-on-one counseling.

Other outreach programs include:

* Choices and Decisions — this widely distributed educational and teaching program designed to provide financial management instruction is being updated to a multi-platform tool appropriate for all age levels. Lifestyle-specific programs will be designed to address the special needs of specific consumer groups such as retirees, armed service families and college students.

* Visa Consumer Information Brochures — an array of useful publications covering topics including managing debt, debit cards and “Credit Cards: An Owner’s Manual,” will be updated and distributed through local member banks by year-end.

* Earning Credit Program — a college freshman orientation program designed to provide a foundation for sound financial management habits will launch this summer during back-to-school time.

* Other Consumer Education Materials — brochures and statement inserts will be provided to the 14,500 member institutions of Visa so they may actively participate in the educational efforts through the distribution of literature on key topics such as debt management, bankruptcy and financial planning.

Additional programs designed to expand the scope of Visa’s consumer education efforts will be announced over the coming months.

Visa is the world’s largest consumer payment system. It plays a pivotal role in advancing new payment products and technologies to benefit its 20,700 member financial institutions, their cardholders, and the global economy. Visa’s 561 million cards are accepted at 13 million locations worldwide. The Visa Global ATM Network consists of more than 323,000 ATMs in 109 countries. For more information on Visa, visit Visa Expo at http://www.visa.com

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