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Visa’s Mission to Digitally Enable Small Businesses Gains Momentum Across Europe

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Visa (NYSE: V) today announced more than 100 partners across Europe have joined the Where You Shop Matters initiative to help small business owners build digital capabilities and continue serving their communities.

More than two million small firms across Europe have received support since the launch of the program in summer 2020. The announcement marks a major milestone in Visa’s commitment to help eight million small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) in Europe – and 50 million globally - to get online, adapt and future proof their business.

Across Europe, Covid-19 continues to have a devastating impact on small businesses. Research conducted by Visa revealed that 65% of small businesses are concerned about the future of their business.1 With many having to operate under restrictions and lockdowns, small businesses are increasingly moving their operations online and embracing digital payments. Visa data shows that over 10 countries in Europe have seen a 20% increase in online sales and eight in ten transactions are now contactless.

Hemlata Narasimhan, SVP, Merchant Sales and Acquiring Europe at Visa said: Small businesses play a crucial role in our communities and many continue to operate under challenging conditions brought on by Covid-19. We continue to be inspired by the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit many small business owners have shown, adapting how they do business to keep serving their customers.

"We are proud that over two million small businesses have been able to benefit from our partner initiatives. We remain committed to continue working with our clients and partners towards an economic recovery that keeps small businesses at the heart of our communities.”

Since announcing its commitment to support eight million small businesses across Europe in their digital transformation journey, Visa has joined forces with banks, governments, commerce platforms and technology partners to digitally enable small businesses. Highlights include:

  • Public Private Partnerships: In the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia, Visa is working with governments to provide small business access to contactless acceptance terminals and software free of charge for the first 12 months. Governments in 29 countries have responded and raised the contactless limit to make it easier to for consumers to pay touch free.
  • New acceptance technology: ‘Tap-to-Phone’, a new Visa technology that transforms mobile devices into payment terminals, is helping thousands of small business owners to accept digital payments in the Czech Republic, Italy, Poland, Romania, Slovakia Turkey, Ukraine and the UK.
  • New online tools: Setting up a business online can be a daunting task. Visa is working with online platforms and digital marketplaces so that small stores can set up an online presence with minimal cost and hassle. These programmes have been launched in several countries across Europe supporting thousands of local businesses. Visa has also expanded its Practical Business Skills platform, a global digital platform delivering free education resources to help small and micro business (SMB) owners make confident, informed decisions to grow their businesses through expanded digital transformation.
  • New banking tools: Small firms are also turning to digital banking tools to help manage their finances during a critical time for their business. In partnership with banks and FinTechs across Europe, Visa has over 30 new business card programmes that help small firms better manage their cashflow and purchasing, while offering access to innovative, new business banking tools.
  • Community Engagement: Visa has expanded its Where You Shop Matters campaign, calling on consumers to shop locally and support small businesses in their communities. Examples of local campaigns to galvanise support for local shops include Champion Green (Ireland), Smart SME (Turkey) and Fiver Fest (UK).

Over 100 programmes have launched supported by industry partners including Alpha Bank, Akbank, Axerve, Banca Sella, Banco Santander, BeeDigital, CEC Bank, the Co-Operative bank, Clickandcollection.com, Fiserv, Fruugo, iCard- myPOS, Israel Credit Cards, Juni, National Bank of Greece, Tyl by NatWest, Nexi, Orderbird, Oma Savings Bank Plc, Payplug, Piraeus Bank, ShopAppy.com, Shopify, Viva Wallet, WorldLine amongst others. These initiatives have helped provide more than two million small firms with the tools, capabilities and resources to adapt, trade online and meet consumer demand for digital payments.

“Banca Sella is actively committed in supporting SMBs in their digital journey, offering smart and effective solutions to allow them to scale their business to the next level thanks to digital payments,” said Rosy Alaia, Head of Electronic Payment Systems, Banca Sella. “During the current pandemic we’ve seen a strong shift towards digital payments but is still plenty of opportunities for Italian small merchants to further improve their digital acceptance, matching new consumer trends and expectations of smart and alternative way to pay. We believe we can achieve this objective also thanks to the collaboration with partners like Visa.”

“Fiserv enables payments for millions of businesses across a wide range of sectors in Europe and globally, and we have seen firsthand how the COVID-19 pandemic has compelled small businesses to seek out technology that enables them to operate in new, more digital ways,” states Nigel Motyer, senior vice president of Global Business Solutions for Fiserv in EMEA. “Payments are an integral part of any small business, and we’re proud to partner with companies like VISA to equip businesses to meet customers’ demands for secure and convenient digital payment options.”

“For Worldline, specific customer insight and solid partnerships are key elements that ensure we continuously bring relevance and value to our merchants”, says Roger Niederer, Chief Market Officer Merchant Services at Worldline. “Together with strategic partners, such as Visa, we can broaden and deepen the reach of electronic payments in a variety of markets and verticals, work on future-oriented omni-channel solutions and help increase the conversion of sales.”

Positive start but more work to be done

With many economies in Europe beginning 2021 with further restrictions, Visa is enlisting the help of its network and calling on more partners to support its initiatives aimed at supporting small businesses with the aim of digitizing millions of small firms in this crucial period for recovery.

For more information, please visit https://www.visa.co.uk/where-you-shop-matters.html

About Visa

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, visa.com/blog and @VisaNews.

1 Visa European SME Research in partnership with Dynata (January 2021)

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Jemma Magrath
jemma.magrath@grayling.com

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