Visa to Digitally Enable 50 Million Small Businesses to Power Recovery in Communities Worldwide
Company Introduces Online Resource Hubs, Local Consumer Incentive Programs and Establishes New Visa Economic Empowerment Institute to Rally Recovery
Visa (NYSE: V) today announced a global commitment to elevate 50 million small and micro enterprises (SMEs) worldwide in an effort to get local communities back to business in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Visa is introducing a range of locally designed programs and solutions to enable SMEs to drive efficiency and sales through acceptance of digital payments, building online businesses and incentivising neighborhood support. As part of the global commitment, Visa also formed the Visa Economic Empowerment Institute (VEEI) focused on economic and societal issues, including pandemic challenges SMEs face and closing racial and gender opportunity gaps.
Small businesses will play a vital role in helping communities around the world recover – they account for more than half of global employment and yet, are among the most affected by the pandemic. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, 43% of SMEs say they only have money to last six months1 and less than half of SMEs have any online business2.
In addition to the economic impact, COVID-19 is accelerating the use of digital commerce experiences, from people seeking new ways to pay that do not involve touching a terminal to a boom in e-commerce, as stay-home orders result in shopping online instead of in-store. How much people spend online is also increasing globally, with spend per active card-not-present cardholder up by over 25% in April, compared to January3.
“Small businesses on the frontlines of the global economy deserve extraordinary support in this extraordinary time,” said Al Kelly, CEO and chairman of Visa. "We are putting our network to work to help 50 million businesses globally not only survive, but also to thrive, along with the communities they serve.”
To help small businesses, Visa is focusing initially on four strategic areas to promote digital commerce and economic growth, with plans to continue to create products and services as the needs of entrepreneurs change over time. These areas include:
- Empowering digital-first businesses: Visa has built localised online resource centers – now available in more than 20 countries – providing tools, partner offers and information on how to start, run and grow digital-first small businesses. In the U.S., Visa is expanding its partnership with IFundWomen providing grants and digital training to U.S.-based Black women-owned small businesses. In Australia, Visa rolled out a suite of resources and offers in March to support small businesses via its #WhereYouShopMatters online hub, including advertising support to connect regional businesses with city customers and an e-commerce starter package to help businesses start selling online.
- Encouraging digital payments: Major shifts in consumer behavior have occurred around the globe, including the overarching need for a touchless experience at the point-of-sale as 90% of shoppers are hesitant to shop in-store due to coronavirus.4 Deploying easy to adopt contactless payment technology – rapidly, and at scale – is critical to enabling faster, more secure commerce. Visa is working with a range of partners to increase the number of locations where consumers can tap their contactless card or mobile phone.
- Incentivising neighborhood support: Visa partnerships encourage consumers to shop local and remind them that where you shop matters. The Visa Back to Business Project – an online tool that helps consumers identify businesses that may be open in the wake of the pandemic or a natural disaster – is now live in New Zealand and the U.S., and further expanding globally.
- Developing positioning and policy: In addition to the initiatives Visa is undertaking, the company today announced the formation of the Visa Economic Empowerment Institute. This new institute comprised of Visa experts and partners will help address underlying problems and provide insights for SME growth and closing racial/gender gaps. Key projects in the next six months will address topics including post-crisis recovery and resilience, urban mobility, closing equality opportunity gaps and insights into the gig economy.
Today’s announcement follows a global commitment from the Visa Foundation, announced in April, to provide $210 million in COVID-19 relief funding to address the longer-term needs of the small and micro enterprise community over the next five years.
As the trusted engine of commerce, Visa is committed to leveraging its global network of networks to help the world adapt, rebuild and get everyone back to business.
1 U.S. Chamber of Commerce & MetLife Special Report on Coronavirus and Small Business, April 3. 2020
2 Visa Digital Transformation of SMBs, 2018
4 Retail Systems Research Consumer Report, March 2020
About Visa Inc.
Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is the world’s leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network - enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of digital commerce on any device, for everyone, everywhere. As the world moves from analog to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce. For more information, visit About Visa, https://usa.visa.com/visa-everywhere/blog.html and @VisaNews.