How did visa cards come into existence? - Other Questions


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How did visa cards come into existence?

Answered on | Updated on February 3rd, 2011
The content is accurate at the time of publication and is subject to change.

Visa cards were first introduced in 1958. The Bank of America credit card program was also launched in mid-September of the same year. The concept of the credit card was the original idea of Joseph P. Williams, who headed the think tank group of the organisation. The main concept behind the issue of credit card was to pay smaller bills that were costly, and the time taken, of bank official.

Joseph P. Williams started mass mailing of credit cards to the population. By the mid 1950’s, American homes were revolving a number of credit accounts used to pay multiple bills. This was proving to be inconvenient, as it was very difficult to carry all those credit cards as well as managing each account. These issues raised the need for a unified financial method that would help in addressing all the transaction demands.

The Bank of America card was initially meant to cater to the local people of California. In 1965, the system was then licensed to different financial organisations. This started the onset of the invasion of the card in to the world economy.

In the year 1970, Bank of America handed over the control of the system to the different financial institutes that were working with it. This started the beginning of an economic joint venture and the institutes were now in charge of running the programme. The domestic operations of the credit card system were looked after by NBI while the international licensing was handled by IBANCO.

Many foreign countries were hesitant in using the Bank of America card, although it had been more than eleven years since the banks had initiated its system. To overcome this problem, the bankers decided to use a more universally accepted name for the credit card system. Thus began the use of the name “Visa” in 1977. De Hock the company’s founder member was the one who came up with the name “Visa”.

The Visa logo

Initially the countries were allowed to use their own logo for Visa cards. This created confusion among the users and as such it was later decided that the cards’ original blue, white, and golden theme, will be retained and used universally by all the countries and financial institutes.

By the year 2006, more than 21 thousand financial institutes had adopted the credit card program. This same year, 2006, Visa started to trade under the name “V”, at the NYSE.

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