Visa Inc. Announces Government ePayments Adoption Ranking

    Study Measures and Ranks Electronic Payment Adoption in 43 Key Countries

    SAN FRANCISCO, December 6 /CNW/ - Visa Inc. today released a Government
ePayments Adoption Ranking (GEAR) that measures the extent to which
governments in 43 countries provide key payment services on electronic
platforms. The countries were chosen to represent all regions, many cultures
and political systems, and broad levels of economic development as they
account for approximately 83 percent of the total human population and
approximately 91 percent of global economic output. The adoption rankings were
based on 31 indicators grouped into six payment categories, including
consumer-to-government; government-to-consumer; business-to-government;
government-to-business; infrastructure; and educational, economic and
political context.

    The GEAR study, underwritten by Visa, and conducted independently by the
Economist Intelligence Unit, a leading research and analysis firm, ranks
Canada as the world's leading nation for government electronic payments (with
a score of 92.4 out of 100), because of the government's comprehensive
electronic administration procedures.

    "The GEAR study provides Visa and our client financial institutions with
valuable insights into the government payments sector, helping us generate new
ideas to meet governments' needs through safe and reliable electronic payments
alternatives," said Darren Parslow, Visa's senior vice president of commercial
products. "Visa is committed to working with governments around the world to
develop innovative programs that help governments improve operational
efficiencies to better serve their citizens and stimulate commerce."

    Top 10 Countries

    The GEAR rankings show that Canada (92.4) is followed in order by the
United Kingdom (92.1), Germany and the United States tied at (90.1), Sweden
(89.6), Australia (88.0), South Korea (86.8), France (86.6), Hong Kong (86.3),
and Singapore in (85.6).

    "One of the interesting findings in the study is that developing
countries, notably Turkey, China, and Brazil, have overcome the limitation of
their infrastructures and introduced effective electronic payment systems,"
said Dr. Laura James, editor and economic analyst, Economist Intelligence
Unit. "The study also shows that while a large majority of governments have
made great progress in their ability to accept payments electronically, an
opportunity still exists for more governments to develop systems for
distributing payments to citizens and businesses."

    Electronic Payments in Developing Countries

    The move to electronic payments can improve the efficiency and
transparency of government administration, foster business growth and allow
for better fiscal management. One example is that by enabling more efficient
loan distributions, more money can be brought into the economy.

    Visa continues to seek new ways to bring the security, reliability and
efficiency of electronic payments to the public sector for both the acceptance
of electronic payments and the use of electronic payment alternatives for
procurement, collections and the distribution of funds. By replacing cash and
checks with Visa electronic payments, governments can streamline the
collection, disbursement and procurement processes in an auditable, economical
and convenient way to foster economic growth and stability.

    GEAR Indicators

    The electronic payments adoption rankings were based on 31 indicators
grouped into six payment categories, including:

    1. Consumer-to-government: income tax payments; social security
contributions; obtaining and paying for driver's licenses and identification
cards; and auto and road toll costs

    2. Government-to-consumer: income tax refunds; social security benefits;
and unemployment, workers' compensation, welfare, and government health

    3. Business-to-government: income, sales and VAT tax payments; social
security contributions; and company registration and associated fees

    4. Government-to-business: income, sales and VAT tax refunds;
procurement; and loan disbursements

    5. Infrastructure: number of ATMs and POS terminals per 10,000 people;
Internet and mobile phone access and usage per capita; and technology

    6. Educational, economic and political context: literacy and education
levels; technology savviness; bank usage; government's commitment to
electronic payments and integrating the informal economy

    Notes to Editors:


    The Economist Intelligence Unit conducted the study and had full
editorial control of the process. Their analysts gathered data on 43 countries
payments infrastructures based on 31 indicators. The indicators were built
into a dynamic scoring model, which contains all of the data, scores and
commentary for each country, enabling a user to visualize the data, make
comparisons and find patterns. The complete GEAR study, including a list of
the 43 countries, can be found at:

    About Visa Inc.: Visa Inc. operates the world's largest retail electronic
payments network providing processing services and payment product platforms.
This includes consumer credit, debit, prepaid and commercial payments, which
are offered under the Visa, Visa Electron, Interlink and PLUS brands. Visa
enjoys unsurpassed acceptance around the world and Visa/PLUS is one of the
world's largest global ATM networks, offering cash access in local currency in
more than 170 countries. For more information, visit

For further information:

For further information: Visa Inc. Sabine Middlemass, +1-650-432-8307 or Burson-Marsteller Carolyn Krytzer, +1-415-591-4022

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