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Visa Unveils New Internet Unit

In a move to consolidate the company's e-commerce efforts, leading credit card service Visa U.S.A. Wednesday launched its eVisa Internet unit.

The company plans to use the new unit to market Visa's credit card services as the "online currency of choice". To reach this goal, eVisa will focus on relationships with vendors and merchants and develop a new e-commerce processing strategy.

eVisa intends to form an advisory board to direct the new initiative, with members drawn from various banks, Internet portals, online merchants and other major Internet plays. The board will be formed by the end of this month.

"Today we are at the threshold of a radical transformation of how, when and where people and businesses exchange value," said Carl F. Pascarella, Visa U.S.A.'s president and chief executive officer. "We're changing our structure to reflect the new reality and pace of Internet-based commerce and its growing influence on banking."

eVisa will also lead Visa's campaign to revamp its payment system. The unit will launch Visa's new Web-based payment gateway, which will accept all payment cards and process the transactions over Visa's existing system. The new system will also incorporate digital certificate technology.

eVisa will market digital wallet technology and direct the company's efforts to create an e-commerce payment standard.

"By creating this unit, we're essentially rethinking how we approach the e-economy. We're questioning our existing rules and processes, as well as the traditional role of payments over the Net," said Michael A. Beindorff, who will soon leave his post as executive vice president of Visa U.S.A to run the eVisa unit.

Currently, Visa payment cards account for about 52 percent of all online sales in the U.S., though Beindorff estimates that only one in three Visa card holders has ever shopped online. eVisa expects to build market leadership to 60 percent over the next four years.



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