Consumer Payment Card News

Visa Business Check Card

Writing business checks may soon be a thing of the past for small business if the new ‘VISA Business Check Card’ takes hold. Following extensive tests by seven U.S. issuers, VISA announced yesterday its new off-line debit card for business. The new card is targeted at small businesses with less than $10 million in annual sales and up to 100 employees. Cardholders will also be eligible to participate in various ‘VISA Business’ promotions including a vendor discount program called “Time to Cash In”. VISA estimates there are 7.5 million eligible business representing $359 billion in potential charge volume. VISA projects this market segment will expand by one million businesses by the year 2001.

Visa U.S.A. announced the launch of the Visa Business check card Tuesday, a debit product for small business owners that provides greater convenience and control of expenditures than cash or checks.

Targeted to small businesses with up to $10 million in annual sales and up to 100 employees, the Visa Business check card enables small business owners to manage their business transactions more effectively. With the check card, small business owners have the ability to set purchase and cash spending limits for authorized employees, and can enjoy the increased convenience that results from the acceptance of Visa compared to business checks.

By eliminating the time-consuming process of check writing, the Visa Business check card represents an efficient payment option for small business owners at the point-of-purchase. In addition, by allowing direct access to checking account funds, the Visa Business check card erases the security risk of carrying large sums of cash for day-to-day purchases.

“Small business owners need tools that allow them to simplify purchases so they can focus on running their businesses,” stated Craig Card, Director, Visa Business, Visa U.S.A. “The ‘pay as you go’ method of the check card allows small business owners to directly access money from their business checking account, eliminating the time consuming process of writing a check – and it carries all of the benefits that are tailored to that audience,” added Card.

Additional product advantages for cardholders include savings at numerous vendors nationwide. Cardholders can take advantage of Visa Business promotions, including “Time to Cash In,” which offers discounts geared to small business needs. National merchants participating in the rebate program include Alamo Rent-A-Car, Barnes & Noble, Insight – America’s Discount Source for Computers, Shell Oil Company and Sir Speedy copy centers.

Based on small business customer demand, extensive testing of the Visa Business check card was conducted during 1997 by seven Visa Issuers. Based on the results of the test pilot, marketing tools were developed for the launch, including a Visa Business check card marketing program kit, which features high quality turnkey marketing materials that make it easy for issuers to introduce the Visa Business check card to customers – and to promote card activation and usage.

“There are an estimated 7.5 million small businesses(a) with sales up to $10 million and/or up to 100 employees. These small businesses spend approximately $359 billion annually, with the number of small business forecasted to increase by one million by the year 2001,” noted Card. “Clearly there is a tremendous opportunity to switch these businesses from using cash and checks to a more secure, convenient and accepted financial management tool, like the Visa Business check card.”

The Visa Business check card carries the Visa Business core features and enhancements, including the ability to access cash at over 380,000 Visa/PLUS(R) ATM network locations. Small business owners can make interest-free purchases directly from business direct deposit accounts at over 14 million Visa locations displaying the Visa symbol.

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.

The Visa Business check card is the latest product designed to complement the Visa Business portfolio. Visa offers a range of commercial card products for companies of all sizes. In addition to the Visa Business card, the company also offers the industry’s most widely-used purchasing card and the Visa Corporate card.

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(R) ATM network locations. Visa’s small business Internet address is

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