Consumer Payment Card News

VISA Racks Up $36 Billion

Visa U.S.A. reported today that holiday shoppers in the United States rang up more than $35.5 billion in retail purchases on Visa payment cards from the day after Thanksgiving through Sun., Dec. 28.

The retail amount charged was 16 percent higher than the $31.1 billion recorded for the same period last year.

Visa reported a day of record-breaking volume Dec. 23. On that day alone, consumers used Visa payment cards for more than $1.6 billion in retail purchases, making it the biggest retail in Visa’s history. The company also reported that on Dec. 23, total Visa spending in all merchant categories surpassed the $2 billion mark for the first time.

Visa, the nation’s leading consumer payment system, with more than 50 percent of the payment card market, said that, during the holiday shopping season, consumers used Visa credit and debit cards for more than 541 million retail transactions, a 17 percent increase over the 463 million transactions in the same period of 1996. Total U.S. Visa sales in all merchant categories for this period reached $43.7 billion, up 15 percent.

“We’re pleased with these strong numbers, which have been consistently solid throughout the holiday shopping season,” said Carl F. Pascarella, president and chief executive officer, Visa U.S.A. “They reflect the success of our seasonal promotions, increased usage of Visa products and an overall strong economy. More importantly, these numbers are proof that consumers value Visa credit and debit cards as the most convenient ways to make their holiday purchases.”


All regions of the United States enjoyed double-digit increases in the use of Visa for retail spending this holiday season. The northeast region led all other regions in retail spending growth with $7.8 billion in Visa retail purchases as of Dec. 28, an increase of 18 percent. Visa volume in other U.S. regions was as follows:

Southeast, $7.6 billion, up 15 percent;
Pacific, $6.8 billion, up 15 percent;
Great Lakes, $5.9 billion, up 13 percent;
Southwest, $3.1 billion, up 14 percent;
Great Plains, $2.3 billion, up 16.3 percent;
Mountain, $2.3 billion, up 14 percent.
Visa’s SpendTrak® analysis of consumer spending is based on authorization data for Visa payment cards used at more than 3.6 million locations in the United States where Visa is accepted.

During peak periods of the holiday season, Visa estimated it processed at a rate of 3,000 transactions per second. One of the highest volume transaction-processing systems in the world, Visa’s global telecommunications network can process upwards of 100 million transactions per day.

Visa is the preferred payment brand and the largest consumer payment system worldwide. It plays a pivotal role in advancing new payment products and technologies to benefit its 21,000 member financial institutions, their cardholders, and the global economy. Visa is the only consumer payment system to facilitate $1 trillion worth of purchases of goods and services in a fiscal year. Visa’s nearly 600 million cards are accepted at more than 14 million worldwide locations, including 380,000 ATMs in the Visa/PLUS Global ATM Network. Visa’s Internet address is

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