Visa Inc. is an American multinational financial services corporation headquartered in Foster City, California, United States. It facilitates electronic funds transfers throughout the world, most commonly through Visa-branded credit cards, in 2015, the Nilson Report, a publication that tracks the credit card industry, found that Visa’s global network processed 100 billion transactions with a total volume of US$6.8 trillion. Visa has operations across all continents worldwide with the exception of Antarctica, every transaction is checked past 500 variables including 100 fraud-detection parameters—such as the location and spending habits of the customer and the merchants location - before being accepted. Visa is the second largest card payment organization, after being surpassed by China UnionPay in 2015, based on annual value of card payments transacted. Because UnionPays size is based primarily on the size of its market, Visa is dominant in the rest of the world outside of China. In mid-September 1958, Bank of America launched its BankAmericard credit card program in Fresno, California, the original idea was the brainchild of BofAs in-house product development think tank, the Customer Services Research Group, and its leader, Joseph P. Williams. Williams convinced senior BofA executives in 1956 to let him pursue what became the worlds first successful mass mailing of unsolicited credit cards to a large population. Williams pioneering accomplishment was that he brought about the implementation of the all-purpose credit card. The need for a financial instrument was already evident to the American financial services industry. There were already charge cards like Diners Club, and by the mid-1950s, however, these prior attempts had been carried out by small banks which lacked the resources to make them work. Fresno was selected for its population of 250,000, BofAs market share of that population, the 1958 test at first went smoothly, but then BofA panicked when it confirmed rumors that another bank was about to initiate its own drop in San Francisco, BofAs home market. However, the program was riddled with problems, as Williams had been too earnest and trusting in his belief in the goodness of the banks customers. 22% of accounts were delinquent, not the 4% expected, BofA officially lost over $8.8 million on the launch of BankAmericard, but when the full cost of advertising and overhead was included, the banks actual loss was probably around $20 million. However, after Williams and some of his closest associates left, BofA itself could not expand directly into other states due to federal restrictions not repealed until 1994. Over the following 11 years, various banks licensed the system from Bank of America. During the late 1960s, BofA also licensed the BankAmericard program to banks in other countries. For example, In Canada, an alliance of banks issued credit cards under the Chargex name from 1968 to 1977, in France, it was known as Carte Bleue. The logo still appears on many French-issued Visa cards today, in Japan, The Sumitomo Bank issued BankAmericards through the Sumitomo Credit Service
Visa Inc. headquarters at Metro Center in Foster City
A 1976 ad promoting the change of name to "Visa". Note the early Visa card shown in the ad, as well as the image of the BankAmericard that it replaced.