On September 18, 1958, sixty thousand unwitting Fresno residents opened their mailboxes to find the first true credit card: the “BankAmericard”. Within a year the card was expanded to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento, Bakersfield, and Modesto.
On September 18, 1958, Bank of America (BofA) officially launched its BankAmericard credit card program in Fresno, California.
So in 1958, Bank of America decided to launch their own card—but with a twist.
1958 Bank of America launches BankAmericard, the first general-purpose consumer credit card in the form of a paper card with a $300 limit.
Visa can trace its roots back to 1958, when the Bank of America launched BankAmericard, the first consumer credit card program available to middle-class consumers and small- to medium-sized merchants in the United States.
The Visa brand traces its origins to 1958, when California-based Bank of America began issuing BankAmericard, the first electronic-payment card of its kind.
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, BofA's home market.
By March 1959, drops began in San Francisco and Sacramento; by June, BofA was dropping cards in Los Angeles; by October, the entire state of California had been saturated with over 2 million credit cards and BankAmericard was being accepted by 20,000 merchants.
However, the program was riddled with problems, as Williams (who had never worked in a bank's loan department) had been too earnest and trusting in his belief in the basic goodness of the bank's customers, and he resigned in December 1959.
By the end of 1959 more than two million cards had been mailed across California and more than 20,000 merchants accepted the card.
By May 1961, the BankAmericard program became profitable for the first time.
So in 1966, to grow the card program beyond their home state, Bank of America decided to franchise the BankAmericard to select banks all over the world.
In 1966 Bank of America began licensing other United States banks to issue the BankAmericard.
In 1966, BankAmericard began signing licensing agreements with other banks who wanted to use the card system because regulations at the time prohibited Bank of America from directly launching the card in other states.
In 1968, a manager at the National Bank of Commerce (later Rainier Bancorp), Dee Hock, was asked to supervise that bank's launch of its own licensed version of BankAmericard in the Pacific Northwest market.
In June 1970, Bank of America gave up control of the BankAmericard program.
In 1970, Bank of America passed control of BankAmericard to the various BankAmericard issuer banks which comprised the newly-established NBI, or National BankAmericard, Inc.
1970 National BankAmericard incorporates in Delaware as National BankAmericard Inc., led by founder, visionary and CEO Dee Hock.
The company was founded in 1970 and is headquartered in Foster City, CA.“
The "drops" of unsolicited credit cards continued unabated, thanks to BofA and its licensees and competitors until they were outlawed in 1970, but not before over 100 million credit cards had been distributed into the American population.
1973 National BankAmericard launches the first electronic authorization system, followed by an electronic clearing and settlement system.
1974: Going global The International Bankcard Company (IBANCO) forms to administer the BankAmericard program nationally.
By 1972, licenses had been granted in 15 countries. As a result, in 1974, the International Bankcard Company (IBANCO), a multinational member corporation, was founded in order to manage the international BankAmericard program.
1975 The first debit card is launched.
The directors of IBANCO decided in 1976 that uniting the numerous international networks into a single global network with one name would be in the corporation’s best interests.
1976 BankAmericard becomes Visa, a simple name that sounds the same in every language, identified by a blue and gold flag.
Finally, in 1976 BankAmericard and affiliated cards were rebranded as “Visa,” a name that could be instantly recognized (and pronounced the same way) all over the world.
In 1976, Bank of America and the card's licensees formed a new corporate structure for the card under the Visa name.
For this reason, in 1976, BankAmericard, Barclaycard, Carte Bleue, Chargex, Sumitomo Card, and all other licensees united under the new name, "Visa", which retained the distinctive blue, white and gold flag.
1979 The first Visa Travelers Cheques are issued in four currencies.
1983 Visa launches an automated teller machine (ATM) network, providing 24-hour “anytime, anywhere” cash around the world.
In May 1984, a 55-year-old Hock left Visa and disappeared.
Visa joined with the PLUS ATM network in 1986, offering its cardholders easy access to cash.
1986 Visa develops multiple-currency clearing and settlement in 21 currencies.
1988 Visa sponsors its first Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea, and the Olympic Winter Games in Calgary, Alberta.
1989 Visa adds electronic signature capability with the acquisition of Interlink.
1993 Visa is the first to apply state-of-the-art neutral network technologies to payments aiming to reduce card fraud.
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BofA itself (like all other United States banks at the time) could not expand directly into other states due to federal restrictions not repealed until 1994.
1995 Visa check card debuts and Visa co-creates EMV, an industry chip card specification that ensures interoperability between all chip-enabled cards and terminals.
1996 Visa’s first financial literacy program launches.
In a 1996 Fast Company article, many of Hock’s beliefs were made clear.
2001: One billion cards
2001 Visa reaches 1 billion issued cards and launches the Zero Liability policy, which protects cardholders from liability for fraudulent charges.
Stock Advisor launched in February of 2002.
Among other initiatives, in 2002 Visa launched “Verified by Visa,” a program designed to enhance the security of online purchasing by requiring a password (chosen by the cardholder and registered with the bank that issued the Visa card) before the completion of any purchase.
2004 Visa introduces Advanced Authorization, which analyzes and assigns a risk score to every Visa transaction in real-time.
In 2005, however, both Visa and MasterCard were implicated in a high-profile security breach at CardSystems Solutions, a small, third-party payment processor in Tucson, Arizona, which left the accounts of some 40 million cardholders (most of them Visa and MasterCard) exposed to fraud.
On October 11, 2006, Visa announced that some of its businesses would be merged and become a publicly traded company, Visa Inc.
In 2006, Visa is a private membership association jointly owned by over 20,000 member financial institutions worldwide.
In October 2007, Bank of America announced it was resurrecting the BankAmericard brand name as the "BankAmericard Rewards Visa".
Prior to October 3, 2007, Visa comprised four non-stock, separately incorporated companies that employed 6,000 people worldwide: the worldwide parent entity Visa International Service Association (Visa), Visa USA Inc., Visa Canada Association, and Visa Europe Ltd.
On October 3, 2007, Visa completed its corporate restructuring with the formation of Visa Inc.
Visa Europe was a company entirely separate from Visa Inc. having gained independence of Visa International Service Association in October 2007 when Visa Inc. became a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange.
2007 Visa restructures, creating a new global corporation, Visa Inc.
Visa continued to operate as a series of entities owned regionally by banks across the world until 2007, when the United States; Canada; Latin America and Caribbean; Asia Pacific, and Central Europe, Middle East and Africa regions merged to form Visa Inc.
Since going public on March 19, 2008 -- just five days after JPMorgan Chase offered to buy what was left of Bear Stearns -- Visa's returns have trounced the market! Nor do the company's shares show any sign of slowing down either as, year-to-date, Visa's stock price is up 22%.
2008 Visa launches the Visa mobile platform to speed the adoption of mobile payments and value-added services.
2008 The “V” ticker symbol appears on the N.Y. Stock Exchange as Visa becomes the largest initial public offering in United States history.
2009 Visa’s first global ad campaign celebrates how people everywhere need a better way to pay for the things they need and want.
Visa Inc. announced the plan to acquire Visa Europe on November 5, 2015, creating a single global company.
The acquisition of Visa Europe was completed on June 21, 2016.
In 2016, Visa completed the acquisition of Visa Europe.
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The Vanguard Group1975