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UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
FORM 10-K
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended September 30, 2021
OR
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from                      to                     
Commission file number 001-33977

v-20210930_g1.gif
VISA INC.
(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware 26-0267673
(State or other jurisdiction
of incorporation or organization)
 (IRS Employer
Identification No.)
P.O. Box 8999 94128-8999
San Francisco,
California
 
(Address of principal executive offices) (Zip Code)
(650432-3200
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:    
Title of each classTrading Symbol Name of each exchange on which registered
Class A common stock, par value $0.0001 per shareVNew York Stock Exchange

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
Class B common stock, par value $0.0001 per share
Class C common stock, par value $0.0001 per share
(Title of each Class)
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes      No  
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Act.    Yes      No  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.    Yes      No  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).    Yes      No  
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filerAccelerated filer
Non-accelerated filerSmaller reporting company
Emerging growth company
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.   
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).    Yes      No  
The aggregate market value of the registrant’s class A common stock, par value $0.0001 per share, held by non-affiliates (using the New York Stock Exchange closing price as of March 31, 2021, the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter) was approximately $358.6 billion. There is currently no established public trading market for the registrant’s class B common stock, par value $0.0001 per share, or the registrant’s class C common stock, par value $0.0001 per share.
As of November 10, 2021, there were 1,669,730,762 shares outstanding of the registrant’s class A common stock, par value $0.0001 per share, 245,513,385 shares outstanding of the registrant’s class B common stock, par value $0.0001 per share, and 10,099,892 shares outstanding of the registrant’s class C common stock, par value $0.0001 per share.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the Registrant’s Proxy Statement for the 2022 Annual Meeting of Stockholders are incorporated herein by reference in Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K to the extent stated herein. Such Proxy Statement will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days of the Registrant’s fiscal year ended September 30, 2021.


TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
  Page
Item 1
Item 1A
Item 1B
Item 2
Item 3
Item 4
Item 5
Item 6[Reserved]
Item 7
Item 7A
Item 8
Item 9
Item 9A
Item 9B
Item 10
Item 11
Item 12
Item 13
Item 14
Item 15
Unless the context indicates otherwise, reference to “Visa,” “Company,” “we,” “us” or “our” refers to Visa Inc. and its subsidiaries.
“Visa” and our other trademarks referenced in this report are Visa’s property. This report may contain additional trade names and trademarks of other companies. The use or display of other companies’ trade names or trademarks does not imply our endorsement or sponsorship of, or a relationship with these companies.
    
2

Forward-Looking Statements

This Annual Report on Form 10-K contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that relate to, among other things, the impact on our future financial position, results of operations, and cash flows as a result of the ongoing effects of the coronavirus (“COVID-19”) pandemic, the measures taken in response, as well as the speed and strength of an economic recovery, including the reopening of borders and resumption of international travel; prospects, developments, strategies and growth of our business; anticipated expansion of our products in certain countries; industry developments; anticipated timing and benefits of our acquisitions; expectations regarding litigation matters, investigations and proceedings; timing and amount of stock repurchases; sufficiency of sources of liquidity and funding; effectiveness of our risk management programs; and expectations regarding the impact of recent accounting pronouncements on our consolidated financial statements. Forward-looking statements generally are identified by words such as “anticipates,” “believes,” “estimates,” “expects,” “intends,” “may,” “projects,” “could,” “should,” “will,” “continue” and other similar expressions. All statements other than statements of historical fact could be forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date they are made, are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to certain risks, uncertainties and other factors, many of which are beyond our control and are difficult to predict. We describe risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, any of these forward-looking statements in Item 1Business, Item 1ARisk Factors, Item 7—Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations and elsewhere in this report. Except as required by law, we do not intend to update or revise any forward-looking statements as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

3

PART I
 
ITEM 1.    Business
OVERVIEW
Visa is one of the world’s leaders in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payments network — enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. We facilitate global commerce and money movement across more than 200 countries and territories among a global set of consumers, merchants, financial institutions, businesses, strategic partners and government entities through innovative technologies.
Since Visa’s inception in 1958, Visa has been in the business of facilitating payments between consumers and businesses. With new ways to pay, we have evolved into a global company that is a trusted engine of commerce, working to provide payment solutions for everyone, everywhere. We are focused on extending, enhancing and investing in our proprietary network, VisaNet, while seeking new ways to offer products and services and become a single connection point for facilitating any payment transaction, using our network, other networks, or a combination of networks. We offer products and solutions that facilitate secure, reliable and efficient money movement for all participants in the ecosystem.
We facilitate secure, reliable and convenient transactions among financial institutions, merchants and consumers. We have traditionally referred to this as the “four-party” model. As the payments ecosystem continues to evolve, we have broadened this model to include digital banks, digital wallets and a range of financial technology companies (fintechs), governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). We provide transaction processing services (primarily authorization, clearing and settlement) to our financial institution and merchant clients through VisaNet, our advanced transaction processing network. During fiscal year 2021, we saw 232 billion payments and cash transactions with Visa’s brand, equating to an average of 637 million transactions per day. Of the 232 billion total transactions, 165 billion were processed by Visa.
We offer a wide range of Visa-branded payment products that our 15,100 financial institution clients use to develop and offer core business solutions, including credit, debit, prepaid and cash access programs for individual, business and government account holders. During fiscal year 2021, Visa’s total payments and cash volume was $13 trillion, and 3.7 billion credentials were available worldwide to be used at more than 80 million(1) merchant locations.
We take an open partnership approach and seek to provide value by enabling access to our global network, including offering our technology capabilities through application programming interfaces (APIs). We partner with both traditional and emerging players to innovate and expand the payments ecosystem, allowing them to leverage the resources of our platform to scale and grow their businesses more quickly and effectively.
We are accelerating the migration to digital payments and evolving Visa to be a “network of networks” to enable the movement of money through all available networks. We aim to provide a single connection point so that Visa clients can enable money movement for businesses, governments, and consumers regardless of which network is used to start or complete the transaction; ultimately, helping to unify a complex payments ecosystem. Visa’s network of networks approach creates opportunities by facilitating person-to-person (P2P), business-to-consumer (B2C), business-to-business (B2B), business-to-small business (B2b) and government-to-consumer (G2C) payments, in addition to consumer to business (C2B) payments.
We provide value added services to our clients, including issuer solutions; acceptance solutions; risk and identity solutions; and advisory services.
We invest in and promote our brand to the benefit of our clients and partners through advertising, promotional and sponsorship initiatives with FIFA, the International Olympic Committee, the International Paralympic Committee and the National Football League (NFL), among others. We also use these sponsorship assets to showcase our payment innovations.
(1) Data provided to Visa by acquiring institutions and other third parties.
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FISCAL YEAR 2021 KEY STATISTICS
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(1)     Please see Item 7–Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations for a reconciliation of our GAAP to non-GAAP financial results.

OUR CORE BUSINESS
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In an example of a typical Visa C2B payment transaction, the consumer purchases goods or services from a merchant using a Visa card or payment product. The merchant presents the transaction data to an acquirer, usually a bank or third-party processing firm that supports acceptance of Visa cards or payment products, for verification and processing. Through VisaNet, the acquirer presents the transaction data to Visa, which in turn contacts the issuer to check the account holder’s account or credit line for authorization. After the transaction is authorized, the issuer effectively pays the acquirer an amount equal to the value of the transaction, minus the interchange reimbursement fee, and then posts the transaction to the consumer’s account. The acquirer pays the amount of the purchase, minus the merchant discount rate (MDR), to the merchant.
Visa earns revenue by facilitating money movement across more than 200 countries and territories among a global set of consumers, merchants, financial institutions, businesses, strategic partners and government entities through innovative technologies. Net revenues consist of service revenues, data processing revenues, international transaction revenues and other revenues, minus client incentive arrangements we have with our clients. We have one reportable segment, which is Payment Services. We generally do not experience any pronounced seasonality in our business.
Visa is not a financial institution. We do not issue cards, extend credit, or set rates and fees for account holders of Visa products nor do we earn revenues from, or bear credit risk with respect to, any of these activities. Interchange reimbursement fees reflect the value merchants receive from accepting our products and play a key role in balancing the costs and benefits that account holders and merchants derive from participating in our payments networks. Generally, interchange reimbursement fees are collected from acquirers and paid to issuers. We establish default interchange reimbursement fees that apply absent other established settlement terms. In addition, we do not earn revenues from the fees that merchants are charged by acquirers for acceptance, including
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the MDR. Our acquiring clients are generally responsible for soliciting merchants as well as establishing and earning these fees.
Our net revenues in fiscal year 2021 consisted of the following:
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Visa’s strategy is to accelerate our revenue growth in consumer payments, new flows and value added services, and fortify the key foundations of our business model.
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We seek to accelerate revenue growth in three primary areas — consumer payments, new flows and value added services.
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Consumer Payments
We are accelerating efforts to move approximately $18 trillion(2) in consumer spending still exchanged in cash and check to cards and digital accounts on Visa’s network of networks.
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Core Products
Visa’s growth has been driven by the strength of our core products — credit, debit and prepaid products.
Credit: Credit cards and digital credentials allow consumers and businesses to access credit to pay for goods and services. Credit cards are affiliated with programs operated by financial institution clients, co-brand partners, fintechs and affinity partners.
Debit: Debit cards and digital credentials allow consumers and small businesses to purchase goods and services using funds held in their bank accounts. Debit cards enable account holders to transact in person, online or via mobile without needing cash or checks and without accessing a line of credit. The Visa/PLUS Global ATM network also provides debit, credit and prepaid account holders with cash access, and other banking capabilities, in more than 200 countries and territories worldwide through issuing and acquiring partnerships with both financial institutions and independent ATM operators.
(2) Estimate as of December 2018.
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Prepaid: Prepaid cards and digital credentials draw from a designated balance funded by individuals, businesses or governments. Prepaid cards address many use cases and needs, including general purpose reloadable, payroll, government and corporate disbursements, healthcare, gift and travel. Visa-branded prepaid cards also play an important part in financial inclusion, bringing payment solutions to those with limited or no access to traditional banking products.
Capabilities
We offer capabilities, tools and solutions that enable consumer payments and help our clients grow as digital commerce, new technologies and new participants continue to transform the payments ecosystem. Some of our offerings include:
v-20210930_g10.jpgTap to Pay
As we seek to improve the user experience in the face-to-face environment, contactless payments or tap to pay, which is tapping a contactless card or mobile device on a terminal to make a payment, has emerged as a preferred way to pay among consumers in many countries around the world. Tap to pay adoption is growing and many consumers have come to expect touchless payment experiences. In addition, Visa continues to work with payments industry partners and governments to support raising contactless payment limits.
Globally we have more than 20 countries with more than 90 percent contactless penetration and nearly 70 countries where tap to pay is more than 50 percent of face-to-face transactions. Excluding the United States, nearly 70 percent of face-to-face transactions globally were contactless. In the U.S., Visa has more than 15 percent contactless penetration. We have 400 million tap-to-pay-enabled Visa cards, and now three cities have above 25 percent face-to-face tap-to-pay penetration: New York, San Francisco and San Jose. We have activated nearly 500 contactless public transport projects worldwide and have nearly 750 projects in our pipeline.
v-20210930_g11.jpgTokenization
Visa Token Service (VTS) brings trust to digital commerce innovation. As consumers increasingly rely on digital transactions, VTS is designed to enhance the digital ecosystem through improved authorization, reduced fraud and improved customer experience. VTS helps protect digital transactions by replacing 16-digit Visa account numbers with a token protecting the underlying account information. This security technology can work for a variety of payment transactions, both in the physical and online space.
The issuance of network tokens continues to accelerate. In the past 17 months, we have more than doubled the number of network tokens issued from one billion to 2.6 billion. By comparison, it took nearly six years to reach our first one billion network tokens.
v-20210930_g12.jpgClick to Pay
Click to Pay provides a simplified and more consistent cardholder checkout experience online by removing time-consuming key entry of personal information and enabling consumer and transaction data to be passed securely between payments network participants. Based on the EMV® Secure Remote Commerce industry standard, Click to Pay brings a standardized and streamlined approach to online checkout and meets the needs of consumers shopping across a growing number of connected devices. The goal of Click to Pay is to make digital payments safe, consistent, and interoperable like the checkout experience in physical stores.
v-20210930_g13.jpgCryptocurrency
We enable cryptocurrencies for everyday payments through our global presence, partnership approach and trusted brand. We want to serve as the bridge between the crypto ecosystem and our global network, which would enable our clients to provide consumers the ability to easily convert cryptocurrencies into fiat and access our global network of more than 80 million merchant locations and 15,100 financial institutions. In fiscal year 2021, we had $3.5 billion in payments volume on crypto-linked card programs, which are crypto wallets linked to Visa credentials
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where cryptocurrencies are converted to fiat currency before funds can be accessed through the Visa credential. We are advancing this effort through our partnerships with nearly 60 crypto platforms on crypto-linked Visa card programs. We are also building infrastructure capabilities and value added services to support crypto use cases, including future settlement in digital currencies, a new Visa Crypto API platform to help financial institutions create a cryptocurrency offering, assisting central banks as they evaluate digital currencies and a growing number of other services and infrastructure capabilities.
New Flows
New flows represent a $185 trillion(3) volume opportunity. Visa’s network of networks approach creates opportunities to capture new sources of money movement through card and non-card flows for consumers, businesses and governments around the world by facilitating P2P, B2C, B2B, B2b and G2C payments.
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Visa Direct
Visa Direct is Visa’s global, real-time(4) push payments platform, which reverses the traditional card payment flow by allowing payment originators, through their acquirer, to push funds directly to eligible debit and prepaid cards or accounts. It helps facilitate fast, simple and secure money movement around the world, enabling businesses and consumers to send money directly to a bank account or card, including domestic or cross-border payouts and payments, P2P, payments to small businesses, and corporate, worker, insurance and government payouts.
In fiscal year 2021, we had 5.2 billion Visa Direct transactions, an increase of 50 percent year over year, and more than 20 use cases and 500 programs. Visa Direct connected 16 card-based networks, 66 automated clearing house (ACH) schemes, seven real time payment (RTP) networks and five gateways. With the addition of Visa Direct Payouts, Visa Direct provides access to almost 6 billion credentials across more than 200 countries and territories.
Visa Business Solutions
We are also extending our network with B2B payments. Our three strategic areas of focus include investing and growing card-based payments, accelerating our efforts in non-card, cross-border payments and digitizing domestic accounts payable and accounts receivable processes. We offer a portfolio of business payment solutions, including small business, corporate (travel) cards, purchasing cards, virtual cards and digital credentials, non-card cross-border B2B payment options and disbursement accounts, covering most major industry segments around the world. Business solutions are designed to bring efficiency, controls and automation to small businesses, commercial and government payment processes, ranging from employee travel to fully integrated, invoice-based payables.
Visa B2B Connect is a multilateral B2B cross-border payments network designed to facilitate transactions from the bank of origin directly to the beneficiary bank, helping streamline settlement and optimize payments for financial institutions’ corporate client base. The network delivers B2B cross-border payments that are predictable, flexible, data-rich, secure and cost-effective. Visa B2B Connect continues to scale, with the ability to operate in more than 100 countries and territories.

(3) McKinsey Global Payments Map and Visa Analysis, 2018.
(4) Actual fund availability varies by receiving financial institution, receiving account type, region and whether the transaction is domestic or cross-border.
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Value Added Services
Value added services represent an opportunity for us to diversify our revenue with products and solutions that differentiate our network, deepen our client relationships and deliver innovative solutions across other networks.
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Issuer Solutions
Visa Debit Processing Service (DPS) is one of the largest issuer processors of Visa debit transactions in the world and is able to deliver agility at scale. Visa DPS provides a wide range of debit, prepaid and credit value added services to clients including call center services, data analytics, campaign management, fraud and risk solutions, and a white-label branded mobile app. Visa DPS continues to extend and expand our capabilities in modern, API-based issuer processing solutions called DPS Forward, which will be used for both the U.S. and international markets. We have expanded Visa DPS into Europe, providing European issuers in select countries access to a comprehensive and end-to-end solution, from core processing services to value added services.
We also provide a range of other services and digital solutions to issuers, such as account controls, digital issuance, branded consumer experiences and buy now pay later (BNPL) capabilities. BNPL or installment payments allow shoppers the flexibility to pay for a purchase in equal payments over a defined period of time. Visa is investing in installments as a payments strategy — by offering our own solution, Visa Installments — and by partnering with innovative installments providers who use our cards and services to support a wider variety of installment options. Visa Installments offers issuing banks the opportunity to offer Visa cardholders the option to divide their total purchase amount into smaller payments during or after checkout, at the store and online at participating merchants.
Acceptance Solutions
Cybersource is a global payment management platform that provides modular, digital capabilities in addition to the traditional gateway function of connecting merchants to payment processing. Using Cybersource, merchants of all sizes can improve the way their consumers engage and transact, mitigate fraud and security risk, lower operational costs and adapt to changing business requirements. Cybersource white-labeled capabilities provide new and enhanced payment integrations with ecommerce platforms, enabling sellers and acquirers to provide tailored commerce experiences with payments seamlessly embedded. Cybersource enables an omnichannel solution with a cloud-based architecture to deliver more innovation at the point-of-sale.
In addition, we provide secure, reliable services for merchants and acquirers that reduce friction and drive acceptance. Examples include Global Urban Mobility, which allows transit operators to accept Visa contactless payments in addition to proprietary closed-loop payment solutions; Rapid Seller Onboarding, which enables digital onboarding of small businesses and acquirers; and Visa Account Updater, which provides updated account information to merchants to strengthen customer relationships and retention. Visa also offers dispute management services, including a network agnostic solution with Verifi that enables merchants to prevent and resolve disputes with a single connection.
Risk and Identity Solutions
Visa’s risk and identity solutions transform data into insights for near real-time decisions and facilitate account holder authentication to help clients prevent fraud and protect account holder data. With the increasing popularity of omnichannel commerce among consumers, preventing fraud helps increase trust in digital payments. Solutions such as Visa Advanced Authorization, Visa Secure, Visa Advanced Identity Score, Visa Consumer Authentication Service, and payment-decisioning solutions from CardinalCommerce empower financial institutions and merchants with tools that help automate and simplify fraud prevention and enhance payment security.
These value added payment security tools layer on top of a suite of programs that protect the safety and integrity of the payment ecosystem, and along with our investments in intelligence and technology, help to prevent, detect and mitigate threats. These programs and Visa’s fraud prevention expertise are among the core benefits of being part of the Visa network. Through the combined efforts of security and identity tools and services, payment and cyber intelligence, insights and learnings from client/partner breach investigations and law enforcement
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engagement, Visa helps protect financial institutions and merchants from fraud and solve payment security challenges. 
Advisory Services
Visa Consulting and Analytics is the payments consulting advisory arm of Visa. The combination of our deep payments expertise, proprietary analytical models applied to a breadth of data and our economic intelligence allows us to identify actionable insights, make recommendations and help implement solutions that can drive better business decisions and measurable outcomes for clients. Visa Consulting and Analytics offers consulting services for issuers, acquirers, merchants, fintechs and other partners, spanning the entire customer journey from acquisition to retention.
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We are fortifying the key foundations of our business model, which consist of becoming a network of networks, our technology platforms, security, brand and talent.
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Network of Networks
Visa strives to become a network of networks, offering a single connection point for senders and receivers to enable money movement to all endpoints and to all form factors, using all available networks.
Technology Platforms
Visa’s technology platforms include software, hardware, data centers and a large telecommunications infrastructure, each with a distinct architecture and operational footprint wrapped with several layers of security and protection technologies. Visa’s three data centers are a critical part of our global processing environment and have a high redundancy of network connectivity, power and cooling designed to provide continuous availability of systems. Together, these systems deliver the secure, convenient and reliable service that our clients and consumers expect from the Visa brand.
Security
Our in-depth, multi-layer security approach includes a formal program to devalue sensitive and/or personal data through various cryptographic means; embedded security in the software development lifecycle; identity and access management controls to protect against unauthorized access; and advanced cyber detection and response capabilities. We deploy security tools that help keep our clients and consumers safe, while providing buyer and seller solutions that help make Visa the best way to pay and be paid. We also invest significantly in our comprehensive approach to cybersecurity. We deploy security technologies to strengthen data confidentiality, integrity and service availability, emphasizing core cybersecurity capabilities to minimize risk. 
Brand
Visa’s brand strength helps deliver added value to our clients and their customers, financial institutions, merchants and partners through compelling brand expressions, a wide range of products and services as well as innovative brand and marketing efforts. In line with our commitment to an expansive and diverse range of partnerships for the benefit of our stakeholders, Visa is the only brand in the world that is a top sponsor of FIFA, the Olympic Games, and the NFL and is one of the most active sponsors of women’s football around the world.
This year, we launched a multi-year brand initiative to spotlight the diverse capabilities of our network and our commitment to enabling global economic inclusion. The “Meet Visa” campaign reintroduced Visa as a network working for everyone.
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Talent
Attracting, developing and retaining the best talent globally is critical to our continued success. Our workforce grew from approximately 20,500 in fiscal year 2020 to approximately 21,500 employees in fiscal year 2021. Visa employees are located in more than 80 countries, with more than 49 percent located outside the U.S. Voluntary workforce turnover (rolling 12-month attrition) was 9.3 percent as of September 30, 2021. At the end of fiscal year 2021, Visa’s global workforce was 58 percent male and 42 percent female, and women represented 35 percent of Visa’s leadership (defined as vice president level and above). In the U.S., ethnicity of our workforce was 41 percent Asian, 7 percent Black, 12 percent Hispanic, 3 percent Other and 37 percent White. For our U.S. leadership, the breakdown was 20 percent Asian, 6 percent Black, 12 percent Hispanic, 2 percent Other and 59 percent White.
At Visa, we have an unwavering commitment to inclusion and diversity, and we foster an inclusive workplace to encourage diversity of thought, culture and background. In 2020, we established “Stand Together” goals in support of social justice and racial equality in the U.S. focused on our people, our community and our company. We are proud of the progress we made in fiscal year 2021, including the launch of the Visa Black Scholars and Jobs Program in the U.S. with the inaugural class of 50 Visa Black Scholars who will participate in year-round programs and training aimed at developing their professional and technical skills. Upon graduation, all Scholars who have met their commitments will be offered a full-time job with Visa.
We have also increased the number of underrepresented employees in the U.S. We are supporting Visa’s commitment to recruit and retain diverse talent by launching employee development programs and partnering with several non-profit and community organizations, as well as historically black colleges and a generally more diverse set of universities to develop our talent pipeline. Visa is committed to pay equity, regardless of gender or race/ethnicity, and conducts pay equity analyses on an annual basis. More details regarding our human capital management, as well as enhanced workforce disclosures that include our 2020 Consolidated EEO-1 Report and our 2020 Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Report can be found on our website at usa.visa.com/about-visa/esg.html.
For additional information, please see the section titled “Talent and Human Capital Management” in Visa’s 2021 Proxy Statement.
FINTECH AND DIGITAL PARTNERSHIPS
Fintechs are key enablers of new payment experiences and new flows. Our work with fintechs has opened new points of acceptance, extended credit at the point of sale, made cross-border money flows more efficient, moved B2B spend onto Visa’s network, expedited payroll and provided digital wallet customers access to our services.
To better serve fintechs, Visa has a suite of streamlined commercial programs and digital onboarding tools. Our Fintech Fast Track program enables qualifying fintechs to quickly launch and scale their programs. The program has welcomed hundreds of fintechs who are actively engaged in the program.
With our startup engagement programs, the Visa Everywhere Initiative and the Inclusive Fintech 50, early-stage companies can build payment solutions based on our capabilities. With Visa Fintech Partner Connect, a program launched globally this year, we are helping our clients tap into innovations emerging from the fintech community. The program is designed to help financial institutions quickly connect with a vetted and curated set of technology providers, helping Visa’s issuing partners create digital-first experiences without the cost and complexity of building the back-end technology in-house.
MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS AND STRATEGIC INVESTMENTS
Visa continually explores opportunities to augment our capabilities and provide meaningful value to our clients. Mergers and acquisitions and strategic investments complement our internal development and enhance our partnerships to align with Visa’s priorities. Visa applies a rigorous business analysis to our acquisitions and investments to ensure they will differentiate our network, provide value added services and accelerate growth.
In fiscal year 2021, we acquired YellowPepper to accelerate our network of networks strategy in Latin America and the Caribbean by becoming a single point of access for initiating multiple transaction types and significantly reducing the time-to-market and cost for issuers and processors to launch card and account agnostic payments solutions.
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On June 24, 2021, we signed a definitive agreement to acquire Tink AB (Tink), a European open banking platform that enables financial institutions, fintechs and merchants to build tailored financial management tools, products and services for European consumers and businesses based on their financial data.
On July 22, 2021, we signed a definitive agreement to acquire The Currency Cloud Group Limited (Currencycloud), a UK-based global platform that enables banks and fintechs to provide innovative foreign exchange solutions for cross-border payments. The Tink and Currencycloud transactions are subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.
Environmental, Social and Governance
As a trusted brand, Visa has an opportunity and responsibility to contribute to a more inclusive, equitable and sustainable world. We believe that economies that include everyone everywhere, uplift everyone everywhere. As we build business resilience and long-term value, we are committed to managing the risks and opportunities that arise from ESG issues. We are focused on empowering people and economies; securing commerce and protecting customers; investing in our workforce; protecting the planet; and operating responsibly. Our 2020 ESG report, which provides enhanced ESG disclosures is available on our website at usa.visa.com/about-visa/esg.html.
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
We own and manage the Visa brand, which stands for acceptance, security, convenience, speed and reliability. Our portfolio of Visa-owned trademarks is important to our business. Generally, trademark registrations are valid indefinitely as long as they are in use and/or maintained. We give our clients access to these assets through agreements with our issuers and acquirers, which authorize the use of our trademarks in connection with their participation in our payments network. Additionally, we have filed patent applications in the U.S. and international jurisdictions covering certain aspects of our proprietary technology and new innovations, and own a number of patents, patent applications and other intellectual property relating to our business. We rely on a combination of patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret laws in the U.S. and other jurisdictions, as well as confidentiality procedures and contractual provisions, to protect our proprietary technology.
COMPETITION
The global payments industry continues to undergo dynamic change. Existing and emerging competitors compete with Visa’s network and payment solutions for consumers and for participation by financial institutions and merchants. Technology and innovation are shifting consumer habits and driving growth opportunities in ecommerce, mobile payments, blockchain technology and digital currencies. These advances are enabling new entrants, many of which depart from traditional network payment models. In certain countries, the evolving regulatory landscape is creating local networks or enabling additional processing competition.
We compete against all forms of payment. This includes paper-based payments, primarily cash and checks, and all forms of electronic payments. Our electronic payment competitors principally include:
Global or Multi-Regional Networks: These networks typically offer a range of branded, general purpose card payment products that consumers can use at millions of merchant locations around the world. Examples include Mastercard, American Express, Discover, JCB and UnionPay. These competitors may be more concentrated in specific geographic regions, such as JCB in Japan and Discover in the U.S., or have a leading position in certain countries, such as UnionPay in China. See Item 1A—Risk Factors—Regulatory Risks—Government-imposed obligations and/or restrictions on international payment systems may prevent us from competing against providers in certain countries, including significant markets such as China, India and Russia. Based on available data, Visa is one of the largest retail electronic funds transfer networks used throughout the world.
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The following chart compares our network with these network competitors for calendar year 2020(1):
VisaMastercardAmerican ExpressJCBDiners Club
Payments Volume ($B)8,911 4,743 1,005 308 166 
Total Volume ($B)11,383 6,337 1,011 317 178 
Total Transactions (B)205 126 
Cards (M)3,586 2,334 112 141 65 
(1)Mastercard, American Express, JCB and Diners Club / Discover data sourced from The Nilson Report issue 1199 (June 2021). Mastercard excludes Maestro and Cirrus figures. American Express, Diners Club / Discover, and JCB include business from third-party issuers. JCB figures include other payment-related products and some figures are estimates.
Local and Regional Networks: Operated in many countries, these networks often have the support of government influence or mandate. In some cases, they are owned by financial institutions or payment processors. These networks typically focus on debit payment products, and may have strong local acceptance, and recognizable brands. Examples include STAR, NYCE, and Pulse in the U.S., Interac in Canada, EFTPOS in Australia and Mir in Russia.
Alternative Payment Providers: These providers such as digital wallets, closed commerce ecosystems, BNPL solutions, cryptocurrency platforms, and account-to-account systems often have a primary focus of enabling payments through ecommerce and mobile channels; however, they are expanding or may expand their offerings to the physical point of sale. These companies may process payments using in-house account transfers between parties, electronic funds transfer networks like the ACH, global or local networks like Visa, or some combination of the foregoing. In some cases, these entities are both a partner and a competitor to Visa.
ACH and RTP Networks: These networks are often governed by local regulations. Primarily focused on interbank transfers, many are adding capabilities that may make them more competitive for retail payments. We also compete with closed-loop payment systems, emerging payments networks, wire transfers and electronic benefit transfers.
Payment Processors: We compete with payment processors for the processing of Visa transactions. These processors may benefit from mandates requiring them to handle processing under local regulation. For example, as a result of regulation in Europe under the Interchange Fee Regulation (IFR), we may face competition from other networks, processors and other third parties who could process Visa transactions directly with issuers and acquirers.
Value Added Products and Service Providers: We face competition from companies that provide alternatives to our value added products and services, including information services and consulting firms that provide consulting services and insights to financial institutions, merchants and governments and technology companies that provide cyber and fraud solutions. Regulatory initiatives could also lead to increased competition in this space.
We believe our fundamental value proposition of security, convenience, speed and reliability as well as the number of credentials and our acceptance footprint help us to succeed. In addition, we understand the needs of the individual markets in which we operate and partner with local financial institutions, merchants, fintechs, governments, NGOs and business organizations to provide tailored and innovative solutions. Our network of networks strategy implies that we have and we will continue to utilize other networks to facilitate the movement of money. We believe Visa is well-positioned competitively due to our global brand, our broad set of payment products and value added services, and our proven track record of processing payment transactions securely and reliably.
GOVERNMENT REGULATION
As a global payments technology company, we are subject to complex and evolving global regulations in the various jurisdictions in which our products and services are used. The most significant government regulations that impact our business are discussed below. For further discussion of how global regulations may impact our business, see Item 1A-Risk Factors-Regulatory Risks.
Anti-Corruption, Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism and Sanctions: We are subject to anti-corruption laws and regulations, including the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), the UK Bribery Act and other laws that generally prohibit the making or offering of improper payments to foreign government officials and political figures for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business or to gain an unfair business advantage. We are also
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subject to anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing laws and regulations, including the U.S. Bank Secrecy Act. In addition, we are subject to economic and trade sanctions programs administered by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in the U.S. Therefore, we do not permit financial institutions or other entities that are domiciled in countries or territories subject to comprehensive OFAC trade sanctions (currently, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria and Crimea), or that are included on OFAC’s list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons, to issue or acquire Visa cards or engage in transactions using our services.
Government-Imposed Market Participation Restrictions: Certain governments, including China, India, Indonesia, Russia, Thailand and Vietnam, have taken actions to promote domestic payments systems and/or certain issuers, payments networks or processors, by imposing regulations that favor domestic providers, impose local ownership requirements on processors, require data localization or mandate that domestic processing be done in that country.
Interchange Rates and Fees: An increasing number of jurisdictions around the world regulate or influence debit and credit interchange reimbursement rates in their regions. For example, the U.S. Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Act (Dodd-Frank Act) limits interchange reimbursement rates for certain debit card transactions in the U.S., the European Union (EU) IFR limits interchange rates in Europe (as discussed below), and the Reserve Bank of Australia and the Central Bank of Brazil regulate average permissible levels of interchange.
Internet Transactions: Many jurisdictions have adopted regulations that require payment system participants to monitor, identify, filter, restrict or take other actions with regard to certain types of payment transactions on the Internet, such as gambling, digital currencies, the purchase of cigarettes or alcohol and other controversial transaction types.
Network Exclusivity and Routing: In the U.S., the Dodd-Frank Act limits network exclusivity and restrictions on merchant routing choice for the debit and prepaid market segments. Other jurisdictions impose similar limitations, such as the IFR’s prohibition in Europe on restrictions that prevent multiple payment brands or functionality on the same card.
No-surcharge Rules: We have historically enforced rules that prohibit merchants from charging higher prices to consumers who pay using Visa products instead of other means. However, merchants’ ability to surcharge varies by geographic market as well as Visa product type, and continues to be impacted by litigation, regulation and legislation.
Privacy and Data Protection: Aspects of our operations or business are subject to privacy, data use and data security regulations, which impact the way we use and handle data, operate our products and services and even impact our ability to offer a product or service. In addition, regulators are proposing new laws or regulations that could require Visa to adopt certain cybersecurity and data-handling practices, create new individual privacy rights and impose increased obligations on companies handling personal data.
Supervisory Oversight of the Payments Industry: Visa is subject to financial sector oversight and regulation in substantially all of the jurisdictions in which we operate. In the U.S., for example, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) has supervisory oversight over Visa under applicable federal banking laws and policies as a technology service provider to U.S. financial institutions. The federal banking agencies comprising the FFIEC are the Federal Reserve Board, the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the National Credit Union Administration. Visa also may be separately examined by the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection as a service provider to the banks that issue Visa-branded consumer credit and debit card products. Central banks in other countries/regions, including Europe, India, Russia, Ukraine and the United Kingdom (as discussed below), have recognized or designated Visa as a retail payment system under various types of financial stability regulations. Visa is also subject to oversight by banking and financial sector authorities in other jurisdictions, such as Brazil and Hong Kong.
European and United Kingdom Regulations and Supervisory Oversight: Visa in Europe continues to be subject to complex and evolving regulation in the United Kingdom and the European Economic Area (EEA). Specifically, in the United Kingdom, Visa Europe is designated as a Recognized Payment System, bringing it within the scope of the Bank of England’s supervisory powers and subject to various requirements, including on issues such as governance and risk management designed to maintain the stability of the United Kingdom’s financial system. Visa Europe is also regulated by the United Kingdom’s Payment Systems Regulator (PSR), which has wide-ranging powers and authority to review our business practices, systems, rules and fees with respect to promoting competition and innovation in the United Kingdom, and ensuring payments meet account holder needs.
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Furthermore, there are a number of EU regulations that impact our business. As discussed above, the IFR regulates interchange rates within Europe, requires Visa Europe to separate its payment card scheme activities from processing activities for accounting, organization, and decision-making purposes within the EU and imposes limitations on network exclusivity and routing. National competent authorities in the EU are responsible for monitoring and enforcing the IFR in their markets. We are also subject to regulations governing privacy and data protection, anti-bribery, anti-money laundering, anti-terrorism and sanctions. Other regulations in Europe, such as the second Payment Services Directive (PSD2), require, among other things, that our financial institution clients provide certain customer account access rights to emerging non-financial institution players. PSD2 also includes strong customer authentication requirements for certain transactions that could impose both operational complexity on Visa and negatively impact consumer payment experiences.
Post-Brexit, the United Kingdom has adopted various European regulations, including regulations that impact the payments ecosystem such as the IFR and PSD2. The PSR is responsible for monitoring Visa Europe’s compliance with the IFR as adopted in the United Kingdom.
ESG and Sustainability: Certain governments around the world are adopting laws and regulations pertaining to ESG performance, transparency and reporting. Regulations may include mandated corporate reporting on ESG overall (e.g., EU Sustainable Reporting Directive) or in individual areas such as mandated reporting on climate-related financial disclosures.
Additional Regulatory Developments: Various regulatory agencies across the world also continue to examine a wide variety of other issues, including mobile payment transactions, tokenization, access rights for non-financial institutions, money transfer services, identity theft, account management guidelines, disclosure rules, security and marketing that could affect our financial institution clients and our business. Furthermore, following the passage of PSD2 in Europe, several countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong and Mexico, are contemplating granting or have already granted various types of access rights to third party processors, including access to consumer account data maintained by our financial institution clients. These changes could have negative implications for our business depending on how the regulations are framed and implemented.
AVAILABLE INFORMATION
Our corporate website is usa.visa.com/about-visa.html. Our annual reports on Form 10-K, our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, our current reports on Form 8-K, proxy statements and any amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to the U.S. Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, can be viewed at www.sec.gov and our investor relations website at investor.visa.com as soon as reasonably practicable after these materials are electronically filed with or furnished to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In addition, we routinely post financial and other information, which could be deemed to be material to investors, on our investor relations website. Information regarding our ESG, corporate responsibility and sustainability initiatives is also available on our website at usa.visa.com/about-visa/esg.html. The content of any of our websites referred to in this report is not incorporated by reference into this report or any other filings with the SEC.
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ITEM 1A. Risk Factors
Regulatory Risks
We are subject to complex and evolving global regulations that could harm our business and financial results.
As a global payments technology company, we are subject to complex and evolving regulations that govern our operations. See Item 1BusinessGovernment Regulation for more information on the most significant areas of regulation that affect our business. The impact of these regulations on us, our clients, and other third parties could limit our ability to enforce our payments system rules; require us to adopt new rules or change existing rules; affect our existing contractual arrangements; increase our compliance costs; require us to make our technology or intellectual property available to third parties, including competitors, in an undesirable manner; and reduce our revenue opportunities. As discussed in more detail below, we may face differing rules and regulations in matters like interchange reimbursement rates, preferred routing, domestic processing requirements, currency conversion, point-of-sale transaction rules and practices, privacy, data use or protection, licensing requirements, and associated product technology. As a result, the Visa operating rules and our other contractual commitments may differ from country to country or by product offering. Complying with these and other regulations increases our costs and could reduce our revenue opportunities. Our diversification into new product offerings and participation in new flows could also introduce new licensing and other regulatory obligations that impact our business.
If widely varying regulations come into existence worldwide, we may have difficulty rapidly adjusting our product offerings, services, fees and other important aspects of our business in the regions where we operate. Our compliance programs and policies are designed to support our compliance with a wide array of regulations and laws, such as anti-money laundering, anti-corruption, competition, money transfer services, privacy and sanctions, and we continually enhance our compliance programs as regulations evolve. However, we cannot guarantee that our practices will be deemed compliant by all applicable regulatory authorities. In the event our controls should fail or we are found to be out of compliance for other reasons, we could be subject to monetary damages, civil and criminal penalties, litigation, investigations and proceedings, and damage to our global brands and reputation. Furthermore, the evolving and increased regulatory focus on the payments industry could negatively impact or reduce the number of Visa products our clients issue, the volume of payments we process, our revenues, our brands, our competitive positioning, our ability to use our intellectual property to differentiate our products and services, the quality and types of products and services we offer, the countries in which our products are used, and the types of consumers and merchants who can obtain or accept our products, all of which could harm our business.
Increased scrutiny and regulation of the global payments industry, including with respect to interchange reimbursement fees, merchant discount rates, operating rules, risk management protocols and other related practices, could harm our business.
Regulators around the world have been establishing or increasing their authority to regulate certain aspects of the payments industry. See Item 1Business —Government Regulation for more information. In the U.S. and many other jurisdictions, we have historically set default interchange reimbursement fees. Even though we generally do not receive any revenue related to interchange reimbursement fees in a payment transaction (in the context of credit and debit transactions, those fees are paid by the acquirers to the issuers; the reverse is true for certain transactions like ATM), interchange reimbursement fees are a factor on which we compete with other payments providers and are therefore an important determinant of the volume of transactions we process. Consequently, changes to these fees, whether voluntarily or by mandate, can substantially affect our overall payments volumes and revenues.
Interchange reimbursement fees, certain operating rules and related practices continue to be subject to increased government regulation globally, and regulatory authorities and central banks in a number of jurisdictions have reviewed or are reviewing these fees, rules, and practices. For example, regulations adopted by the U.S. Federal Reserve cap the maximum U.S. debit interchange reimbursement rate received by large financial institutions at 21 cents plus 5 basis points per transaction, plus a possible fraud adjustment of 1 cent. The Dodd-Frank Act also limits issuers’ and our ability to adopt network exclusivity and preferred routing in the debit and prepaid area, which also impacts our business. Earlier this year, the Federal Reserve issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that would, among other things, require issuers to ensure that at least two networks are available for routing card not present debit transactions. Various stakeholder groups are also advocating that the Federal Reserve further lower interchange fees on debit transactions and restrict the ability of payments networks to enter
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into certain incentive and growth agreements with issuers. In addition, there continues to be interest in further regulation of interchange fees and routing practices by members of Congress and state legislators in the U.S. The EU’s IFR places an effective cap on consumer credit and consumer debit interchange fees for both domestic and cross-border transactions within the EEA (30 basis points and 20 basis points, respectively). EU member states have the ability to further reduce these interchange levels within their territories. The European Commission concluded its impact assessment of the IFR, indicating that while it does not intend to expand the legislation at this time, it will continue to monitor market dynamics. Countries in other parts of the world, including the Latin America region, have either adopted or are exploring interchange caps. For example, in March 2017, Argentina’s central bank passed regulations that cap interchange fees on credit and debit transactions. In March 2018, Brazil adopted interchange caps on debit transactions and in March 2020, the Congress in Costa Rica passed legislation allowing the Central Bank to regulate interchange and other fees. This trend to regulate pricing continued in Latin America in 2021, when the President in Chile signed legislation to create a committee to set interchange caps. Finally, in Australia, the Reserve Bank completed its review of the country’s payment system regulations and made a series of preliminary recommendations including, to further lower interchange rates for debit transactions, and set expectations for issuers and acquirers in the country to support greater issuance and acceptance of dual-badged debit cards and allow merchant choice routing on certain transactions.
When we cannot set default interchange reimbursement rates at optimal levels, issuers and acquirers may find our payments system less attractive. This may increase the attractiveness of other payments systems, such as our competitors’ closed-loop payments systems with direct connections to both merchants and consumers. We believe some issuers may react to such regulations by charging new or higher fees, or reducing certain benefits to consumers, which make our products less appealing to consumers. Some acquirers may elect to charge higher MDR regardless of the Visa interchange reimbursement rate, causing merchants not to accept our products or to steer customers to alternative payments systems or forms of payment. In addition, in an effort to reduce the expense of their payment programs, some issuers and acquirers have obtained, and may continue to obtain, incentives from us, including reductions in the fees that we charge, which may directly impact our revenues.
In addition to the regulation of interchange reimbursement fees, a number of regulators impose restrictions on other aspects of our payments business. For example, many governments including, but not limited to governments in India and Turkey are using regulation to further drive down MDR, which could negatively affect the economics of our transactions. Some countries in Latin America, like Peru and Chile are relying on antitrust-driven regulatory actions that can have implications for how the payments ecosystem and four party model operate. The PSR’s review of the acquiring market in the United Kingdom could lead to additional regulatory pressure on our business. With increased merchant lobbying, we could also begin to see regulatory interest in network fees. Government regulations or pressure may also require us to allow other payments networks to support Visa products or services, or to have the other network’s functionality or brand marks on our products. As innovations in payment technology have enabled us to expand into new products and services, they have also expanded the potential scope of regulatory influence. For instance, new products and capabilities, including tokenization, push payments, and non-card based payment flows (e.g., Visa B2B Connect) could bring increased licensing or authorization requirements in the countries where the product or capability is offered. In addition, the EU’s requirement to separate scheme and processing adds costs and impacts the execution of our commercial, innovation and product strategies.
We are also subject to central bank oversight in a growing number of countries, including, Brazil, India, Russia, the United Kingdom and within the EU. Furthermore, some countries with existing oversight frameworks are looking to further enhance their regulatory powers. This oversight could result in new governance, reporting, licensing, cybersecurity, processing infrastructure, capital, or credit risk management requirements. We could also be required to adopt policies and practices designed to mitigate settlement and liquidity risks, including increased requirements to maintain sufficient levels of capital and financial resources locally, as well as localized risk management or governance. Increased oversight could also include new criteria for member participation and merchant access to our payments system. Additionally, regulators in other jurisdictions are considering or adopting approaches based on similar regulatory principles.
Regulators around the world increasingly take note of each other’s approaches to regulating the payments industry. Consequently, a development in one jurisdiction may influence regulatory approaches in another. The risks created by a new law, regulation or regulatory outcome in one jurisdiction have the potential to be replicated and to negatively affect our business in another jurisdiction or in other product offerings. For example, our settlement with the European Commission on cross-border interchange rates has drawn some preliminary attention of regulators in other parts of the world. Similarly, new regulations involving one product offering may prompt regulators to extend the regulations to other product offerings. For example, credit payments could become subject to similar regulation
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as debit payments (or vice versa). For instance, the Reserve Bank of Australia initially capped credit interchange, but subsequently capped debit interchange as well.
Government-imposed obligations and/or restrictions on international payment systems may prevent us from competing against providers in certain countries, including significant markets such as China, India and Russia.
Governments in a number of jurisdictions shield domestic payment card networks, brands, and processors from international competition by imposing market access barriers and preferential domestic regulations. To varying degrees, these policies and regulations affect the terms of competition in the marketplace and undermine the competitiveness of international payments networks. Public authorities may impose regulatory requirements that favor domestic providers or mandate that domestic payments or data processing be performed entirely within that country, which could prevent us from managing the end-to-end processing of certain transactions.
In Russia, legislation effectively prevents us from processing domestic transactions. The central bank controlled national payment card system (NSPK) is the only entity allowed to process domestically. In China, UnionPay remains the sole processor of domestic payment card transactions and operates the sole domestic acceptance mark. Although we have filed an application with the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) to operate a Bank Card Clearing Institution (BCCI) in China, the timing and the procedural steps for approval remain uncertain. The approval process might require several years, and there is no guarantee that the license to operate a BCCI will be approved or, if we obtain such license, that we will be able to successfully compete with domestic payments networks.
Regulatory initiatives in India also suggest growing nationalistic priorities, including a data localization mandate passed by the government, which has cost implications for us and could affect our ability to effectively compete with domestic payment providers. Furthermore, any inability to meet the requirements of the data localization mandate could impact our ability to do business in India. In Europe, with the support of the European Central Bank, a group of European banks have announced their intent to launch a pan-European payment system, the European Payments Initiative or EPI, with the purported intent to reduce the risks of disintermediation by international technology companies and continued reliance on international payments networks for intra-Europe card transactions. Furthermore, regional groups of countries, such as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and a number of countries in Southeast Asia, are considering, or may consider, efforts to restrict our participation in the processing of regional transactions. The African Development Bank has also indicated an interest in supporting national payment systems in its efforts to expand financial inclusion and strengthen regional financial stability. Finally, some countries such as South Africa are mandating on-shore processing of domestic transactions. Geopolitical events, including sanctions, trade tensions or other types of activities could potentially intensify any or all of these activities, which could adversely affect our business.
Due to our inability to manage the end-to-end processing of transactions for cards in certain countries (e.g., Russia and Thailand), we depend on our close working relationships with our clients or third-party processors to ensure transactions involving our products are processed effectively. Our ability to do so may be adversely affected by regulatory requirements and policies pertaining to transaction routing or on-shore processing.
Co-badging and co-residency regulations may pose additional challenges in markets where Visa competes with national networks for issuance and routing. For example, in China, certain banks have issued dual-branded cards for which domestic transactions in China are processed by UnionPay and transactions outside of China are processed by us or other international payments networks. The PBOC is contemplating that dual-branded cards could be phased out over time as new licenses are issued to international companies to participate in China’s domestic payments market. Accordingly, we have been working with Chinese issuers to issue Visa-only branded cards for international travel, and later for domestic transactions after we obtain a BCCI license. However, notwithstanding such efforts, the phase out of dual-branded cards may decrease our payment volumes and impact the revenue we generate in China. Furthermore, as discussed above, Australia is contemplating additional requirements to mandate dual-badged or co-badged cards that support the local domestic debit network, Eftpos.
Mir and UnionPay have grown rapidly in Russia and China, respectively, and are actively pursuing international expansion plans, which could potentially lead to regulatory pressures on our international routing rule (which requires that international transactions on Visa cards be routed over VisaNet). Furthermore, although regulatory barriers shield Mir and UnionPay from competition in Russia and China, respectively, alternative payment providers such as Alipay and WeChat Pay have rapidly expanded into ecommerce, offline, and cross-border payments, which could make it difficult for us to compete even if our license is approved in China. NetsUnion Clearing Corp, a
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Chinese digital transaction routing system, and other such systems could have a competitive advantage in comparison with international payments networks.
Finally, central banks in a number of countries, including those in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada and Russia, are in the process of developing or expanding national real-time payments networks with the goal of driving a greater number of domestic transactions onto these systems. Similarly, an increasing number of jurisdictions are exploring the concept of building central bank digital currencies for retail payments. If successfully deployed, these national payment platforms and digital currencies could have significant implications for Visa’s domestic and cross-border payments, including potential disintermediation.
In general, national laws that protect or otherwise support domestic providers or processing may increase our costs; decrease our payments volumes and impact the revenue we generate in those countries; decrease the number of Visa products issued or processed; impede us from utilizing our global processing capabilities and controlling the quality of the services supporting our brands; restrict our activities; limit our growth and the ability to introduce new products, services and innovations; force us to leave countries or prevent us from entering new markets; and create new competitors, all of which could harm our business.
Laws and regulations regarding the handling of personal data and information may impede our services or result in increased costs, legal claims, or fines against us.
Our business relies on the processing of data in many jurisdictions and the movement of data across national borders. Legal requirements relating to the collection, storage, handling, use, disclosure, transfer, and security of personal data continue to evolve, and regulatory scrutiny in this area is increasing around the world. For example, in July 2020 the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled to invalidate the U.S./EU Privacy Shield — a legal framework that allowed participating companies to transfer personal data from EU member states to the U.S. Visa has never used the Privacy Shield framework for its transfers, and relies instead on standard contractual clauses. However, the CJEU ruling made clear that these transfer mechanisms will be subject to additional scrutiny as well. Significant uncertainty exists as privacy and data protection laws may be interpreted and applied differently from country to country and may create inconsistent or conflicting requirements. For example, the EU’s and UK’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) extends the scope of the EU and UK data protection law to all companies processing data of EU and UK residents, regardless of the company’s location. The law requires companies to comply with a broad range of requirements regarding the handling of personal information. Although we have a global data privacy program that addresses the requirements applicable to our international business, our ongoing efforts to comply with GDPR and rapidly emerging privacy and data protection laws in countries such as India or states in the U.S. such as Colorado and Virginia may increase the complexity of our compliance operations, entail substantial expenses, divert resources from other initiatives and projects, and could limit the services we are able to offer.
Furthermore, inconsistent local and regional regulations restricting location, movement, collection, use and management of data may limit our ability to innovate or compete in certain jurisdictions. For example, China adopted its first comprehensive privacy law, the Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL), which took effect in November 2021. Although certain details of PIPL may require further regulatory clarification or guidance, Visa could be impacted more significantly if our license is approved and we begin conducting domestic bank card clearing activity in China. Lastly, enforcement actions and investigations by regulatory authorities related to data security incidents and privacy violations continue to increase. The enactment of more restrictive laws, rules, regulations, or future enforcement actions or investigations could impact us through increased costs or restrictions on our business, and noncompliance could result in regulatory penalties and significant legal liability.
We may be subject to tax examinations or disputes, or changes in tax laws.
We exercise significant judgment and make estimates in calculating our worldwide provision for income taxes and other tax liabilities. Although we believe our tax estimates are reasonable, many factors may limit their accuracy. We are currently under examination by, or in disputes with, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, the UK’s HM Revenue and Customs as well as tax authorities in other jurisdictions, and we may be subject to additional examinations or disputes in the future. Relevant tax authorities may disagree with our tax treatment of certain material items and thereby increase our tax liability. Failure to sustain our position in these matters could harm our cash flow and financial position. In addition, changes in existing laws in the U.S. or foreign jurisdictions, including unilateral actions of foreign jurisdictions to introduce digital services taxes, or changes resulting from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Programme of Work, related to the revision of profit allocation and nexus rules and design of a system to ensure multinational enterprises pay a minimum level of tax to
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the countries where we earn revenue, may also materially affect our effective tax rate. A substantial increase in our tax payments could have a material, adverse effect on our financial results. See also Note 19—Income Taxes to our consolidated financial statements included in Item 8—Financial Statements and Supplementary Data of this report.
Litigation Risks
We may be adversely affected by the outcome of litigation or investigations, despite certain protections that are in place.
We are involved in numerous litigation matters, investigations, and proceedings asserted by civil litigants, governments, and enforcement bodies investigating or alleging, among other things, violations of competition and antitrust law, consumer protection law, privacy law and intellectual property law (these are referred to as “actions” in this section). Details of the most significant actions we face are described more fully in Note 20—Legal Matters to our consolidated financial statements included in Item 8—Financial Statements and Supplementary Data of this report. These actions are inherently uncertain, expensive and disruptive to our operations. In the event we are found liable in any material action, particularly in a large class action lawsuit, such as one involving an antitrust claim entitling the plaintiff to treble damages in the U.S., or we incur liability arising from a government investigation, we may be required to pay significant awards, settlements or fines. In addition, settlement terms, judgments, orders or pressures resulting from actions may harm our business by influencing or requiring us to modify, among other things, the default interchange reimbursement rates we set, the Visa operating rules or the way in which we enforce those rules, our fees or pricing, or the way we do business. These actions or their outcomes may also influence regulators, investigators, governments or civil litigants in the same or other jurisdictions, which may lead to additional actions against Visa. Finally, we are required by some of our commercial agreements to indemnify other entities for litigation brought against them, even if Visa is not a defendant.
For certain actions like those that are U.S. covered litigation or VE territory covered litigation, as described in Note 5—U.S. and Europe Retrospective Responsibility Plans and Note 20—Legal Matters to our consolidated financial statements included in Item 8—Financial Statements and Supplementary Data of this report, we have certain financial protections pursuant to the respective retrospective responsibility plans. The two retrospective responsibility plans are different in the protections they provide and the mechanisms by which we are protected. The failure of one or both of the retrospective responsibility plans to adequately insulate us from the impact of such settlements, judgments, losses, or liabilities could materially harm our financial condition or cash flows, or even cause us to become insolvent.
Business Risks
We face intense competition in our industry.
The global payments space is intensely competitive. As technology evolves, new competitors or methods of payment emerge, and existing clients and competitors assume different roles. Our products compete with cash, checks, electronic funds, virtual currency payments, global or multi-regional networks, other domestic and closed-loop payments systems, and alternative payment providers primarily focused on enabling payments through ecommerce and mobile channels. As the global payments space becomes more complex, we face increasing competition from our clients, other emerging payment providers such as fintechs, other digital payments, technology companies that have developed payments systems enabled through online activity in ecommerce, social media, and mobile channels, as well as governments in a number of jurisdictions (e.g. Brazil, India and Russia), that are developing, supporting and/or operating national schemes, real time payments networks and other payment platforms.
Our competitors may acquire or develop substantially better technology, have more widely adopted delivery channels or have greater financial resources. They may offer more effective, innovative or a wider range of programs, products and services. They may use more effective advertising and marketing strategies that result in broader brand recognition, and greater use, including with respect to issuance and merchant acceptance. They may also develop better security solutions or more favorable pricing arrangements. Moreover, even if we successfully adapt to technological change and the proliferation of alternative types of payment services by developing and offering our own services in these areas, such services may provide less favorable financial terms for us than we currently receive from VisaNet transactions, which could hurt our financial results and prospects.
Certain of our competitors operate with different business models, have different cost structures or participate in different market segments. Those business models may ultimately prove more successful or more adaptable to
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regulatory, technological and other developments. In some cases, these competitors have the support of government mandates that prohibit, limit or otherwise hinder our ability to compete for transactions within certain countries and regions. Some of our competitors, including American Express, Discover, private-label card networks, virtual currency providers, technology companies that enable the exchange of digital assets, and certain alternative payments systems like Alipay and WeChat Pay, operate closed-loop payments systems, with direct connections to both merchants and consumers. Government actions or initiatives such as the Dodd-Frank Act, the IFR in Europe, or real time payment initiatives by governments such as the U.S. Federal Reserve’s FedNow or the Central Bank of Brazil’s Pix system may provide competitors with increased opportunities to derive competitive advantages from these business models, and may create new competitors, including in some cases the government itself. Similarly, regulation in Europe under PSD2 and the IFR may require us to open up access to, and allow participation in, our network to additional participants, and reduce the infrastructure investment and regulatory burden on competitors. We also run the risk of disintermediation due to factors such as emerging technologies and platforms, including mobile payments, alternative payment credentials, other ledger technologies or payment forms, and by virtue of increasing bilateral agreements between entities that prefer not to use our payments network for processing transactions. For example, merchants could process transactions directly with issuers, or processors could process transactions directly with issuers and acquirers.
We expect the competitive landscape to continue to shift and evolve. For example:
we, along with our competitors, clients, network participants, and others are developing or participating in alternative payments systems or products, such as mobile payment services, ecommerce payment services, P2P payment services, real-time and faster payment initiatives, and payment services that permit ACH or direct debits from or to consumer checking accounts, that could either reduce our role or otherwise disintermediate us from the transaction processing or the value added services we provide to support such processing. Examples include initiatives from The Clearing House, an association consisting of large financial institutions that has developed its own faster payments system; Early Warning Services, which operates Zelle, a bank-offered alternative network that provides another platform for faster funds or real-time payments across a variety of payment types, including P2P, corporate and government disbursement, bill pay and deposit check transactions; and cryptocurrency or stablecoin-based payments initiatives.
similarly, many countries are developing or promoting domestic networks, switches and real-time payment systems (e.g. India, Russia, as well as Europe). To the extent these governments mandate local banks and merchants to use and accept these systems for domestic or other transactions, prohibit international payments networks, like Visa, from participating on those systems, and/or impose restrictions or prohibitions, on international payments networks from offering payment services on such transactions, we could face the risk of our business being disintermediated in those countries. For example, in Argentina, the government has mandated local acquirers to use debit card credentials to initiate payment transactions on a government-sponsored national real-time payment system. Furthermore, in some regions (e.g., Southeast Asia; the Middle East), through intergovernmental organizations such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the GCC, some countries are looking into cross-border connectivity of such domestic systems;
parties that process our transactions may try to minimize or eliminate our position in the payments value chain;
parties that access our payment credentials, tokens and technologies, including clients, technology solution providers or others might be able to migrate or steer account holders and other clients to alternative payment methods or use our payment credentials, tokens and technologies to establish or help bolster alternate payment methods and platforms;
participants in the payments industry may merge, form joint ventures or enable or enter into other business combinations that strengthen their existing business propositions or create new, competing payment services; and
new or revised industry standards related to online checkout and web payments, cloud-based payments, tokenization or other payments-related technologies set by individual countries, regions or organizations such as the International Organization for Standardization, American National Standards Institute, World Wide Web Consortium, European Card Standards Group, PCI Co, Nexo and EMVCo may result in additional costs and expenses for Visa and its clients, or otherwise negatively impact the functionality and competitiveness of our products and services.
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As the competitive landscape is quickly evolving, we may not be able to foresee or respond sufficiently to emerging risks associated with new businesses, products, services and practices. We may be asked to adjust our local rules and practices, develop or customize certain aspects of our payment services, or agree to business arrangements that may be less protective of Visa’s proprietary technology and interests in order to compete and we may face increasing operational costs and risk of litigation concerning intellectual property. Our failure to compete effectively in light of any such developments could harm our business and prospects for future growth.
Our revenues and profits are dependent on our client and merchant base, which may be costly to win, retain, and develop.
Our financial institution clients and merchants can reassess their commitments to us at any time or develop their own competitive services. While we have certain contractual protections, our clients, including some of our largest clients, generally have flexibility to issue non-Visa products. Further, in certain circumstances, our financial institution clients may decide to terminate our contractual relationship on relatively short notice without paying significant early termination fees. Because a significant portion of our net revenues is concentrated among our largest clients, the loss of business from any one of these larger clients could harm our business, results of operations, and financial condition. For more information, please see Note 14—Enterprise-wide Disclosures and Concentration of Business to our consolidated financial statements included in Item 8—Financial Statements and Supplementary Data of this report.
In addition, we face intense competitive pressure on the prices we charge our financial institution clients. In order to stay competitive, we may need to adjust our pricing or offer incentives to our clients to increase payments volume, enter new market segments, adapt to regulatory changes, and expand their use and acceptance of Visa products and services. These include up-front cash payments, fee discounts, rebates, credits, performance-based incentives, marketing, and other support payments that impact our revenues and profitability. In addition, we offer incentives to certain merchants or acquirers to win routing preference in relation to other network options or forms of payment. Market pressures on pricing, incentives, fee discounts, and rebates could moderate our growth. If we are not able to implement cost containment and productivity initiatives in other areas of our business or increase our volumes in other ways to offset or absorb the financial impact of these incentives, fee discounts, and rebates, it may harm our net revenues and profits.
In addition, it may be difficult or costly for us to acquire or conduct business with financial institutions or merchants that have longstanding exclusive, or nearly exclusive, relationships with our competitors. These financial institutions or merchants may be more successful and may grow more quickly than our existing clients or merchants. In addition, if there is a consolidation or acquisition of one or more of our largest clients or co-brand partners by a financial institution client or merchant with a strong relationship with one of our competitors, it could result in our business shifting to a competitor, which could put us at a competitive disadvantage and harm our business.
Merchants’ and processors’ continued push to lower acceptance costs and challenge industry practices could harm our business.
We rely in part on merchants and their relationships with our clients to maintain and expand the use and acceptance of Visa products. Certain merchants and merchant-affiliated groups have been exerting their influence in the global payments system in certain jurisdictions, such as the U.S., Canada and Europe, to attempt to lower their acceptance costs by lobbying for new legislation, seeking regulatory intervention, filing lawsuits and in some cases, refusing to accept Visa products. If they are successful in their efforts, we may face increased compliance and litigation expenses, issuers may decrease their issuance of our products, and consumer usage of our products could be adversely impacted. For example, in the U.S., certain stakeholders have raised concerns regarding how payment security standards and rules may impact debit routing choice and the cost of payment card acceptance. In addition to ongoing litigation related to the U.S. migration to EMV-capable cards and point-of-sale terminals, U.S. merchant-affiliated groups and processors have expressed concerns regarding the EMV certification process and some policymakers have expressed concerns about the roles of industry bodies such as EMVCo and the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council in the development of payment card standards. Additionally, some merchants and processors have advocated for changes to industry practices and Visa acceptance requirements at the point of sale, including the ability for merchants to accept only certain types of Visa products, to mandate only PIN authenticated transactions, to differentiate or steer among Visa product types issued by different financial institutions, and to impose surcharges on customers presenting Visa products as their form of payment. If successful, these efforts could adversely impact consumers’ usage of our products, lead to regulatory enforcement and/or litigation, increase our compliance and litigation expenses, and harm our business.
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We depend on relationships with financial institutions, acquirers, processors, merchants, payment facilitators, ecommerce platforms, fintechs and other third parties.
As noted above, our relationships with industry participants are complex and require us to balance the interests of multiple third parties. For instance, we depend significantly on relationships with our financial institution clients and on their relationships with account holders and merchants to support our programs and services, and thereby compete effectively in the marketplace. We engage in discussions with merchants, acquirers, ecommerce platforms and processors to provide incentives to promote routing preference and acceptance growth. We also engage in many payment card co-branding efforts with merchants, who receive incentives from us. As emerging participants such as fintechs enter the payments industry, we engage in discussions to address the role they may play in the ecosystem, whether as, for example, an issuer, merchant, ecommerce platform or digital wallet provider. As these and other relationships become more prevalent and take on a greater importance to our business, our success will increasingly depend on our ability to sustain and grow these relationships. In addition, we depend on our clients and third parties, including network partners, vendors and suppliers, to submit, facilitate and process transactions properly, provide various services associated with our payments network on our behalf, and otherwise adhere to our operating rules and applicable laws. To the extent that such parties fail to perform or deliver adequate services, it may result in negative experiences for account holders or others when using their Visa-branded payment products, which could harm our business and reputation.
Our business could be harmed if we are not able to maintain and enhance our brand, if events occur that have the potential to damage our brand or reputation, or if we experience brand disintermediation.
Our brand is globally recognized and is a key asset of our business. We believe that our clients and account holders associate our brand with acceptance, security, convenience, speed, and reliability. Our success depends in large part on our ability to maintain the value of our brand and reputation of our products and services in the payments ecosystem, elevate the brand through new and existing products, services and partnerships, and uphold our corporate reputation. The popularity of products that we have developed in partnership with technology companies and financial institutions may have the potential to cause consumer confusion or brand disintermediation at the point-of-sale and decrease the value of our brand. Our brand reputation may be negatively impacted by a number of factors, including authorization, clearing and settlement service disruptions; data security breaches; compliance failures by Visa, including our employees, agents, clients, partners or suppliers; failure to meet our environmental, social and governance goals; negative perception of our industry, the industries of our clients, Visa-accepting merchants, or our clients’ customers, including third party payments providers; ill-perceived actions or affiliations by clients, partners or other third parties, such as sponsorship or co-brand partners; and fraudulent, controversial or illegal activities using our payment products. If we are unable to maintain our reputation, the value of our brand may be impaired, which could harm our relationships with clients, account holders, governments and the public, as well as impact our business.
Global economic, political, market, health and social events or conditions, including the ongoing effects of the coronavirus pandemic, may harm our business.
More than half of our net revenues are earned outside the U.S. International cross-border transaction revenues represent a significant part of our revenue and are an important part of our growth strategy. Our revenues are dependent on the volume and number of payment transactions made by consumers, governments, and businesses whose spending patterns may be affected by prevailing economic, political, market, health and social events or conditions. Adverse macroeconomic conditions, including recessions, inflation, high unemployment, currency fluctuations, actual or anticipated large-scale defaults or failures, or a slowdown of global trade could decrease consumer and corporate confidence and reduce consumer, small business, government, and corporate spending which have a direct impact on our revenues. In addition, outbreaks of illnesses, pandemics like COVID-19, or other local or global health issues, political uncertainties, international hostilities, armed conflict, or unrest, climate-related events, including the increasing frequency of extreme weather events, and natural disasters could have similar impacts on our operations, clients, third-party suppliers, activities in a particular location or globally, and cross-border travel and spend. Geopolitical trends towards nationalism, protectionism, and restrictive visa requirements, as well as continued activity and uncertainty around economic sanctions, tariffs or trade restrictions could limit the expansion of our business in those regions. In addition, as governments, investors and other stakeholders face additional pressures to accelerate actions to address climate change and other environmental, governance and social topics, governments may implement regulations or investors and other stakeholders may impose new expectations or focus investments in ways that cause significant shifts in disclosure, commerce and consumption behaviors that may have negative impacts on our business. As a result of any of these factors, any decline in cross-
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border travel and spend could impact the number of cross-border transactions we process and our currency exchange activities, which in turn would reduce our international transaction revenues.
A decline in economic, political, market, health and social conditions could impact our clients as well, and their decisions could reduce the number of cards, accounts, and credit lines of their account holders, which ultimately impact our revenues. They may also implement cost-reduction initiatives that reduce or eliminate marketing budgets, and decrease spending on optional or enhanced value added services from us. Any events or conditions that impair the functioning of the financial markets, tighten the credit market, or lead to a downgrade of our current credit rating could increase our future borrowing costs and impair our ability to access the capital and credit markets on favorable terms, which could affect our liquidity and capital resources, or significantly increase our cost of capital. If clients default on their settlement obligations, it may also impact our liquidity. Any of these events could adversely affect our volumes and revenue.
The ongoing effects of the coronavirus pandemic remain difficult to predict due to numerous uncertainties, including the transmissibility, severity, duration and resurgence of the outbreak; new variants of the virus; the uptake and effectiveness of health and safety measures or actions that are voluntarily adopted by the public or required by governments or public health authorities, including vaccines and treatments; the speed and strength of an economic recovery, including the reopening of borders and the resumption of international travel; and the impact to our employees and our operations, the business of our clients, suppliers and business partners; and other factors such as:
third party disruptions, including potential outages at network providers, call centers and other suppliers;
increased consumer dispute volumes due to travel or event cancellations and the speed or accuracy in processing refunds;
increased cyber and payment fraud risk, as cybercriminals attempt DDoS related attacks, phishing scams and other disruptive actions, given the shift to online banking, ecommerce and other online activity, as well as more employees working remotely as a result of the ongoing pandemic;
challenges to the availability and reliability of our network due to changes to normal operations, including the possibility of one or more clusters of COVID-19 cases occurring at our data centers, affecting our employees, or affecting the systems or employees of our issuers, acquirers or merchants;
additional regulatory requirements, including, for example, government initiatives or requests to reduce or eliminate payments fees or other costs. A number of countries have taken steps to temporarily cap interchange or other fees on electronic payments as part of their COVID-19 economic relief measures. It is possible that some or all of these caps may become permanent over time, or that we see governments introduce additional and/or new pricing caps in future economic relief initiatives. In addition, proponents of interchange and/or MDR regulation may try to position government intervention as necessary to support recovery efforts. In an overall soft global economy, such pricing measures could result in additional financial pressures on our business; and
workforce impacts, such as difficulty recruiting, retaining, training, motivating and developing employees due to evolving health and safety protocols; changing worker expectations and talent marketplace variability regarding flexible work models; restrictions on immigration, travel and employee mobility; and the challenges of maintaining our strong corporate culture, which values communication, collaboration and connections, despite a majority of employees working from home.
Our indemnification obligation to fund settlement losses of our clients exposes us to significant risk of loss and may reduce our liquidity.
We indemnify issuers and acquirers for settlement losses they may suffer due to the failure of another issuer or acquirer to honor its settlement obligations in accordance with the Visa operating rules. In certain instances, we may indemnify issuers or acquirers in situations in which a transaction is not processed by our system. This indemnification creates settlement risk for us due to the timing difference between the date of a payment transaction and the date of subsequent settlement. Our indemnification exposure is generally limited to the amount of unsettled Visa card payment transactions at any point in time and any subsequent amounts that may fall due relating to adjustments for previously processed transactions. Concurrent settlement failures or insolvencies involving more than one of our largest clients, several of our smaller clients, or systemic operational failures could negatively impact our financial position. Even if we have sufficient liquidity to cover a settlement failure or insolvency, we may
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be unable to recover the amount of such payment. This could expose us to significant losses and harm our business. See Note 12—Settlement Guarantee Management to our consolidated financial statements included in Item 8—Financial Statements and Supplementary Data of this report.
Technology and Cybersecurity Risks
Failure to anticipate, adapt to, or keep pace with, new technologies in the payments industry could harm our business and impact future growth.
The global payments industry is undergoing significant and rapid technological change, including mobile and other proximity and in-app payment technologies, ecommerce, tokenization, cryptocurrencies, distributed ledger and blockchain technologies, and new authentication technologies such as biometrics, 3D Secure 2.0 and dynamic cardholder verification values or dCVV2. As a result, we expect new services and technologies to continue to emerge and evolve, including those developed by Visa such as our cross-border B2B payment service, Visa B2B Connect. In addition to our own initiatives and innovations, we work closely with third parties, including potential competitors, for the development of, and access to, new technologies. It is difficult, however, to predict which technological developments or innovations will become widely adopted and how those technologies may be regulated. Moreover, some of the new technologies could be subject to intellectual property-related lawsuits or claims, potentially impacting our development efforts and/or requiring us to obtain licenses. If we or our partners fail to adapt and keep pace with new technologies in the payments space in a timely manner, it could harm our ability to compete, decrease the value of our products and services to our clients, impact our intellectual property or licensing rights, harm our business and impact our future growth.
A disruption, failure or breach of our networks or systems, including as a result of cyber-attacks, could harm our business.
Our cybersecurity and processing systems, as well as those of financial institutions, merchants, and third-party service providers, have experienced in limited instances and may continue to experience errors, interruptions, delays or damage from a number of causes, including power outages, hardware, software and network failures, computer viruses, malware or other destructive software, internal design, manual or user errors, cyber-attacks, terrorism, workplace violence or wrongdoing, catastrophic events, natural disasters, severe weather conditions and other effects from climate change. In addition, there is risk that third party suppliers of hardware and infrastructure required to operate our data centers and support employee productivity could be impacted by supply chain disruptions, such as manufacturing and shipping delays. An extended supply chain disruption could also impact processing or delivery of technology services.
Furthermore, our visibility and role in the global payments industry may also put our company at a greater risk of being targeted by hackers. In the normal course of our business, we have been the target of malicious cyber-attack attempts. We have been, and may continue to be, impacted by attacks and data security breaches of financial institutions, merchants, or third-party processors. We are also aware of instances where nation states have sponsored attacks against some of our financial institution clients, and other instances where merchants and issuers have encountered substantial data security breaches affecting their customers, some of whom were Visa account holders. Such attacks and breaches have resulted, and may continue to result in, fraudulent activity and ultimately, financial losses to Visa’s clients, and it is difficult to predict the direct or indirect impact of future attacks or breaches to our business.
Numerous and evolving cybersecurity threats, including advanced and persistent cyber-attacks, phishing and social engineering schemes, particularly on our internet-facing applications, could compromise the confidentiality, availability, and integrity of data in our systems or the systems of our third-party service providers. Because the techniques used to obtain unauthorized access, or to disable or degrade systems change frequently, have become increasingly more complex and sophisticated, and may be difficult to detect for periods of time, we may not anticipate these acts or respond adequately or timely. The security measures and procedures we, our financial institution and merchant clients, other merchants and third-party service providers in the payments ecosystem have in place to protect sensitive consumer data and other information may not be successful or sufficient to counter all data security breaches, cyber-attacks, or system failures. In some cases, the mitigation efforts may be dependent on third parties who may not deliver to the required contractual standards, who may not be able to timely patch vulnerabilities or fix security defects, or whose hardware, software or network services may be subject to error, defect, delay, outage or lack appropriate malware prevention to prevent breaches or data exfiltration incidents. Although we devote significant resources to our cybersecurity, acquired entities, and supplier risk management
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programs and have implemented security measures to protect our systems and data, and to prevent, detect and respond to data security incidents, there can be no assurance that our efforts will prevent these threats.
These events could significantly disrupt our operations; impact our clients and consumers; damage our reputation and brand; result in litigation or claims, violations of applicable privacy and other laws, and increased regulatory review or scrutiny, investigations, actions, fines or penalties; result in damages or changes to our business practices; decrease the overall use and acceptance of our products; decrease our volume, revenues and future growth prospects; and be costly, time consuming and difficult to remedy. In the event of damage or disruption to our business due to these occurrences, we may not be able to successfully and quickly recover all of our critical business functions, assets, and data through our business continuity program. Furthermore, while we maintain insurance, our coverage may not sufficiently cover all types of losses or claims that may arise.
Structural and Organizational Risks
We may not achieve the anticipated benefits of our acquisitions or strategic investments, and may face risks and uncertainties as a result.
As part of our overall business strategy, we make acquisitions and strategic investments. We may not achieve the anticipated benefits of our current and future acquisitions and strategic investments and they may involve significant risks and uncertainties, including:
disruption to our ongoing business, including diversion of resources and management’s attention from our existing business;
greater than expected investment of resources or operating expenses;
failure to adequately develop our acquired entities;
the data security, cybersecurity and operational resilience posture of our acquired entities, or companies we invest in or partner with, may not be adequate and may be more susceptible to cyber incidents;
difficulty, expense or failure of implementing controls, procedures and policies at the acquired entities;
challenges of integrating new employees, business cultures, business systems and technologies;
failure to retain employees, clients or partners of our acquired entities;
in the case of foreign acquisitions, risks related to the integration of operations across different cultures and languages;
disruptions, costs, liabilities, judgments, settlements or business pressures resulting from litigation matters, investigations or legal proceedings involving the acquisitions or strategic investments;
the inability to pursue aspects of the acquired entities due to outcomes in litigation matters, investigations or legal proceedings;
failure to obtain the necessary government or other approvals at all, on a timely basis or without the imposition of burdensome conditions or restrictions;
the economic, political, regulatory and compliance risks associated with entering into a new business or operating in new regions or countries. For more information on regulatory risks, please see Item 1—Business—Government Regulations and Item 1A—Risk Factors—Regulatory Risks above;
discovery of unidentified issues and related liabilities after the acquisition or investment was made;
failure to mitigate the deficiencies and liabilities of the acquired entities;
dilutive issuance of equity securities, if new securities are issued;
the incurrence of debt;
negative impact on our financial position and/or statement of operations; and
anticipated benefits, synergies or value of the investment or acquisition not materializing.
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We may be unable to attract, hire, and retain a highly qualified and diverse workforce, including key management.
The talents and efforts of our employees, particularly our key management, are vital to our success. The market for highly skilled workers and leaders in our industry, especially in fintech, technology and other specialized areas, is extremely competitive. Our management team has significant industry experience and would be difficult to replace. We may be unable to retain them or to attract other highly qualified employees, particularly if we do not offer employment terms that are competitive with the rest of the labor market. Ongoing changes in laws and policies regarding immigration and work authorizations have made it more difficult for employees to work in, or transfer among, jurisdictions in which we have operations and could continue to impair our ability to attract and retain qualified employees. Failure to attract, hire, develop, motivate, and retain highly qualified and diverse employee talent; to meet our goals related to fostering an inclusive and diverse culture, including increasing the number of underrepresented employees in the U.S.; to develop and implement an adequate succession plan for the management team; to maintain a corporate culture that fosters innovation, collaboration and inclusion; or to design and successfully implement flexible work models that meet the expectations of employees and prospective employees could disrupt our operations and adversely affect our business and our future success. These challenges may be further amplified by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The conversions of our class B and class C common stock or series A, B and C preferred stock into shares of class A common stock would result in voting dilution to, and could impact the market price of, our existing class A common stock.
The market price of our class A common stock could fall as a result of many factors. The value of our class B and C common stock and series A, B and C preferred stock is tied to the value of the class A common stock. Under our U.S. retrospective responsibility plan, upon final resolution of our U.S. covered litigation, all class B common stock will become convertible into class A common stock. In September 2020, we released $7.3 billion of the as-converted value from our series B and series C preferred stock and issued series A preferred stock in connection with that release. Visa will continue to release value from the series B and series C preferred stock in stages based on developments in current and potential litigation under our Europe retrospective responsibility plan. The series B and series C preferred stock will become fully convertible to series A preferred stock or class A common stock no later than 2028 (subject to a holdback to cover any pending claims). Visa may take action on the class B common stock and series B and C preferred stock at a certain valuation and due to unforeseen circumstances the overall value of the class B and C common stock and series A, B and C preferred stock as determined by the class A common stock price, may later decrease. Conversion of our class B and class C common stock into class A common stock, or our series A, B and C preferred stock into class A common stock, would increase the amount of class A common stock outstanding, which could adversely affect the market price of our existing class A common stock and would dilute the voting power of existing class A common stockholders.
Holders of our class B and C common stock and series A, B and C preferred stock may have different interests than our class A common stockholders concerning certain significant transactions.
Although their voting rights are limited, holders of our class B and C common stock and, in certain specified circumstances, holders of our series A, B and C preferred stock, can vote on certain significant transactions. With respect to our class B and C common stock, these transactions include a proposed consolidation or merger, a decision to exit our core payments business and any other vote required under Delaware law. With respect to our series A, B and C preferred stock, voting rights are limited to proposed consolidations or mergers in which holders of the series A, B and C preferred stock would receive shares of stock or other equity securities with preferences, rights and privileges that are not substantially identical to the preferences, rights and privileges of the applicable series of preferred stock; or, in the case of series B and C preferred stock, holders would receive securities, cash or other property that is different from what our class A common stockholders would receive. Because the holders of classes of capital stock other than class A common stock are our current and former financial institution clients, they may have interests that diverge from our class A common stockholders. As a result, the holders of these classes of capital stock may not have the same incentive to approve a corporate action that may be favorable to the holders of class A common stock, and their interests may otherwise conflict with interests of our class A common stockholders.
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Delaware law, provisions in our certificate of incorporation and bylaws, and our capital structure could make a merger, takeover attempt, or change in control difficult.
Provisions contained in our certificate of incorporation and bylaws and our capital structure could delay or prevent a merger, takeover attempt, or change in control that our stockholders may consider favorable. For example, except for limited exceptions:
no person may beneficially own more than 15 percent of our class A common stock (or 15 percent of our total outstanding common stock on an as-converted basis), unless our board of directors approves the acquisition of such shares in advance;
no competitor or an affiliate of a competitor may hold more than 5 percent of our total outstanding common stock on an as-converted basis;
the affirmative votes of the class B and C common stock and series A, B and C preferred stock are required for certain types of consolidations or mergers;
our stockholders may only take action during a stockholders’ meeting and may not act by written consent; and
only the board of directors, Chairman, or CEO or any stockholders who have owned continuously for at least one year not less than 15 percent of the voting power of all shares of class A common stock outstanding may call a special meeting of stockholders.
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ITEM 1B.    Unresolved Staff Comments
Not applicable.
ITEM 2.    Properties
At September 30, 2021, we owned or leased 123 office locations in 77 countries around the world, including three global processing centers located in the U.S. and the United Kingdom. Our corporate headquarters are located in owned and leased premises in the San Francisco Bay Area.
We believe that these facilities are suitable and adequate to support our ongoing business needs.
ITEM 3.    Legal Proceedings
Refer to Note 20—Legal Matters to our consolidated financial statements included in Item 8—Financial Statements and Supplementary Data of this report.
ITEM 4.    Mine Safety Disclosures
Not applicable.
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PART II
 
ITEM 5.    Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Our class A common stock has been listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “V” since March 19, 2008. At November 10, 2021, we had 330 stockholders of record of our class A common stock. The number of beneficial owners is substantially greater than the number of record holders, because a large portion of our class A common stock is held in “street name” by banks and brokers. There is currently no established public trading market for our class B or C common stock. As of November 10, 2021, there were 1,243 and 435 holders of record of our class B and C common stock, respectively.
On October 22, 2021, our board of directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.375 per share of class A common stock (determined in the case of class B and C common stock and series A, B and C convertible participating preferred stock on an as-converted basis) payable on December 7, 2021, to holders of record as of November 12, 2021 of our common and preferred stock.
Subject to legally available funds, we expect to continue paying quarterly cash dividends on our outstanding common and preferred stock in the future. However, the declaration and payment of future dividends is at the sole discretion of our board of directors after taking into account various factors, including our financial condition, settlement indemnifications, operating results, available cash and current and anticipated cash needs.
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
The table below presents our purchases of common stock during the quarter ended September 30, 2021:
PeriodTotal Number of
Shares Purchased
Average Purchase Price
per Share
Total Number of
Shares Purchased
as Part of Publicly
Announced Plans or
Programs(1)
Approximate
Dollar Value
of Shares that
May Yet Be 
Purchased Under the Plans or
Programs(1)
(in millions, except per share data)
July 1-31, 2021$243.34 $7,302 
August 1-31, 2021$233.92 $5,942 
September 1-30, 2021$224.87 $4,679 
Total13 $231.33 13 
(1)The figures in the table reflect transactions according to the trade dates. For purposes of our consolidated financial statements included in this Form 10-K, the impact of these repurchases is recorded according to the settlement dates.
See Note 15—Stockholders’ Equity to our consolidated financial statements included in Item 8—Financial Statements and Supplementary Data of this report for further discussion on our share repurchase programs.
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EQUITY COMPENSATION PLAN INFORMATION
The table below presents information as of September 30, 2021, for the Visa 2007 Equity Incentive Compensation Plan (the “EIP”) and the Visa Inc. Employee Stock Purchase Plan (the “ESPP”), which were approved by our stockholders. We do not have any equity compensation plans that have not been approved by our stockholders. For a description of the awards issued under the EIP and the ESPP, see Note 17—Share-based Compensation to our consolidated financial statements included in Item 8—Financial Statements and Supplementary Data of this report.
Plan Category(a)
Number Of Shares
of Class A Common Stock Issuable Upon Exercise of
Outstanding Options And Rights
Weighted-Average Exercise Price of
Outstanding Options
Number of Shares of
Class A
Common Stock
Remaining Available for
Future Issuance Under
Equity Compensation
Plans (Excluding Shares
Reflected In Column (a))
(in millions, except weighted-average exercise price)
Equity compensation plans approved by stockholders
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(1)
$134.56 
(2)
113 
(3)
(1)As of September 30, 2021, the maximum number of shares issuable consisted of 6 million outstanding options, 5 million outstanding restricted stock units and 1 million outstanding performance shares under the EIP and less than 1 million outstanding purchase rights under the ESPP.
(2)The weighted-average exercise price is calculated based solely on the exercise prices of the outstanding stock options and does not reflect the shares that will be issued upon the vesting of outstanding restricted stock units and performance shares, which have no exercise price. Additionally, it excludes the weighted-average exercise price of the outstanding purchase rights under the ESPP, as the exercise price is based on the future stock price, net of discount, at the end of each monthly purchase over the offering period.
(3)As of September 30, 2021, 98 million shares and 15 million shares remain available for issuance under the EIP and the ESPP, respectively.
ITEM 6.    [Reserved]
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ITEM 7.    Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
This management’s discussion and analysis provides a review of the results of operations, financial condition and liquidity and capital resources of Visa Inc. and its subsidiaries (“Visa,” “we,” “us,” “our” and the “Company”) on a historical basis and outlines the factors that have affected recent earnings, as well as those factors that may affect future earnings. The following discussion and analysis should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements and related notes included in Item 8—Financial Statements and Supplementary Data of this report.
This section of this Form 10-K generally discusses fiscal 2021 compared to fiscal 2020. Discussions of fiscal 2020 compared to 2019 that are not included in this Form 10-K can be found in “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in Part II, Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations in our fiscal 2020 Form 10-K, filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission on November 19, 2020.
Overview
Visa is a global payments technology company that enables innovative, reliable and secure electronic payments across more than 200 countries and territories. We facilitate global commerce and money movement across a global network of consumers, merchants, financial institutions, businesses, strategic partners and government entities through innovative technologies. Our advanced transaction processing network, VisaNet, enables authorization, clearing and settlement of payment transactions and allows us to offer products and solutions that facilitate secure, reliable, and efficient money movement for all participants in the ecosystem.
Financial overview. A summary of our as-reported U.S. GAAP and non-GAAP operating results are as follows:
 For the Years Ended
September 30,
% Change(1)
 2021202020192021
vs.
2020
2020
vs.
2019
 (in millions, except percentages and per share data)
Net revenues$24,105 $21,846 $22,977 10 %(5 %)
Operating expenses$8,301 $7,765 $7,976 %(3 %)
Net income$12,311 $10,866 $12,080 13 %(10 %)
Diluted earnings per share$5.63 $4.89 $5.32 15 %(8 %)
Non-GAAP operating expenses(2)
$8,077 $7,702 $7,596 %%
Non-GAAP net income(2)
$12,933 $11,193 $12,274 16 %(9 %)
Non-GAAP diluted earnings per share(2)
$5.91 $5.04 $5.40 17 %(7 %)
(1)Figures in the table may not recalculate exactly due to rounding. Percentage changes are calculated based on unrounded numbers.
(2)For a full reconciliation of our GAAP to non-GAAP financial results, see tables in Non-GAAP financial results below.
Coronavirus. As the effects of an evolving coronavirus (“COVID-19”) pandemic continues, much remains uncertain. Our priority remains the safety of our employees, clients and the communities in which we live and operate. We are taking a phased approach to reopening our offices, with most of our employees currently working remotely. We continue to remain in close and regular contact with our employees, clients, partners and governments globally to help them navigate these challenging times.
The ongoing effects of COVID-19 remain difficult to predict due to numerous uncertainties, including the transmissibility, severity, duration and resurgence of the outbreak; new variants of the virus; the uptake and effectiveness of health and safety measures or actions that are voluntarily adopted by the public or required by governments or public health authorities, including vaccines and treatments; the speed and strength of an economic recovery, including the reopening of borders and the resumption of international travel; and the impact to our employees and our operations, the business of our clients, suppliers and business partners; and other factors identified in Part I, Item 1A “Risk Factors” in this Form 10-K. We will continue to evaluate the nature and extent of the impact to our business.
Highlights for fiscal 2021. Net revenues were $24.1 billion, an increase of 10% over the prior year, primarily due to the year-over-year growth in payments volume, processed transactions and cross-border volume, helped by
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fewer COVID-19 restrictions, partially offset by higher client incentives. Exchange rate movements and our hedging program positively impacted our net revenues growth by approximately half a percentage point.
GAAP operating expenses were $8.3 billion and increased 7% over the prior year, primarily driven by higher personnel and marketing expenses, partially offset by lower general and administrative expenses. Non-GAAP operating expenses were $8.1 billion and increased 5% over the prior year, primarily driven by higher personnel and marketing expenses, partially offset by lower general and administrative expenses. Exchange rate movements negatively impacted our operating expense growth by approximately half a percentage point.
Non-GAAP financial results. We use non-GAAP financial measures of our performance which exclude certain items which we believe are not representative of our continuing operations, as they may be non-recurring or have no cash impact, and may distort our longer-term operating trends. We consider non-GAAP measures useful to investors because they provide greater transparency into management’s view and assessment of our ongoing operating performance.
Gains and losses on equity investments. Gains and losses on equity investments include periodic non-cash fair value adjustments and gains and losses upon sale of an investment. These long-term investments are strategic in nature and are primarily private company investments. Gains and losses and the related tax impacts associated with these investments are tied to the performance of the companies that we invest in and therefore do not correlate to the underlying performance of our business.
Amortization of acquired intangible assets. Amortization of acquired intangible assets consists of amortization of intangible assets such as developed technology, customer relationships and brands acquired in connection with business combinations executed beginning in fiscal 2019. Amortization charges for our acquired intangible assets are non-cash and are significantly affected by the timing, frequency and size of our acquisitions, rather than our core operations. As such, we have excluded this amount and the related tax impact to facilitate an evaluation of our current operating performance and comparison to our past operating performance.
Acquisition-related costs. Acquisition-related costs consist primarily of one-time transaction and integration costs associated with our business combinations. These costs include professional fees, technology integration fees, restructuring activities and other direct costs related to the purchase and integration of acquired entities. It also includes retention equity and deferred equity compensation when they are agreed upon as part of the purchase price of the transaction but are required to be recognized as expense post-combination. We have excluded these amounts and the related tax impacts as the expenses are recognized for a limited duration and do not reflect the underlying performance of our business.
Remeasurement of deferred tax balances. During fiscal 2021, in connection with the UK enacted legislation on June 10, 2021 that increases the tax rate from 19% to 25%, effective April 1, 2023, we remeasured our UK deferred tax liabilities, resulting in the recognition of a non-recurring, non-cash income tax expense of $1.0 billion.
During fiscal 2020, in connection with the UK enacted legislation that repealed the previous tax rate reduction from 19% to 17% that was effective on April 1, 2020, we remeasured our UK deferred tax liabilities as of the enactment date, resulting in the recognition of a non-recurring, non-cash income tax expense of $329 million. See Note 19—Income Taxes to our consolidated financial statements included in Item 8—Financial Statements and Supplementary Data of this report.
Indirect taxes. During fiscal 2021, we recognized a one-time charge within general and administrative expense of $152 million, before tax. Net of the related income tax benefit of $40 million, determined by applying applicable tax rates, non-GAAP net income increased by $112 million. This charge is to record our estimate of probable additional indirect taxes, related to prior periods, for which we could be liable as a result of certain changes in applicable law. This one-time charge is not representative of our ongoing operations.
Resolution of a tax item. During fiscal 2020, we resolved a long-outstanding tax matter, dating back more than 12 years, relating to certain tax filing positions taken prior to our initial public offering. The resolution of this matter resulted in the recognition of a one-time charge to income tax expense of $28 million, which we believe is not representative of our continuing operations and ongoing effective tax rate.
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Litigation provision. During fiscal 2019, we recorded a litigation provision of $370 million and related tax benefits of $83 million associated with the interchange multidistrict litigation. The tax impact is determined by applying applicable federal and state tax rates to the litigation provision. Under the U.S. retrospective responsibility plan, we recover the monetary liabilities related to the U.S. covered litigation through a reduction to the conversion rate of our class B common stock to shares of class A common stock. See Note 5—U.S. and Europe Retrospective Responsibility Plans and Note 20—Legal Matters to our consolidated financial statements included in Item 8—Financial Statements and Supplementary Data of this report.
Non-GAAP operating expenses, non-operating income (expense), income tax provision, effective income tax rate, net income and diluted earnings per share should not be relied upon as substitutes for, or considered in isolation from, measures calculated in accordance with U.S. GAAP. The following tables reconcile our as-reported financial measures, calculated in accordance with U.S. GAAP, to our respective non-GAAP financial measures:
For the Year Ended
September 30, 2021
Operating ExpensesNon-operating Income (Expense)Income Tax Provision
Effective Income Tax Rate(1)
Net Income
Diluted Earnings Per Share(1)
(in millions, except percentages and per share data)
As reported$8,301 $259 $3,752 23.4 %$12,311 $5.63 
(Gains) losses on equity investments, net— (712)(159)(553)(0.25)
Amortization of acquired intangible assets(51)— 12 39 0.02 
Acquisition-related costs(21)— 17 0.01 
Remeasurement of deferred tax balances— — (1,007)1,007 0.46 
Indirect taxes(152)— 40 112 0.05 
Non-GAAP$8,077 $(453)$2,642 17.0 %$12,933 $5.91 

For the Year Ended
September 30, 2020
Operating ExpensesNon-operating Income (Expense)Income Tax Provision
Effective Income Tax Rate(1)
Net Income
Diluted Earnings Per Share(1)
(in millions, except percentages and per share data)
As reported$7,765 $(291)$2,924 21.2 %$10,866 $4.89 
(Gains) losses on equity investments, net— (101)(23)(78)(0.04)
Amortization of acquired intangible assets(46)— 11 35 0.02 
Acquisition-related costs(17)— 13 0.01 
Remeasurement of deferred tax balances— — (329)329 0.15 
Resolution of a tax item— — (28)28 0.01 
Non-GAAP$7,702 $(392)$2,559 18.6 %$11,193 $5.04 

35

For the Year Ended
September 30, 2019
Operating ExpensesNon-operating Income (Expense)Income Tax Provision
Effective Income Tax Rate(1)
Net Income
Diluted Earnings Per Share(1)
(in millions, except percentages and per share data)
As reported$7,976 $(117)$2,804 18.8 %$12,080 $5.32 
(Gains) losses on equity investments, net— (131)(30)(101)(0.04)
Amortization of acquired intangible assets(6)— — 
Acquisition-related costs(4)— — 
Litigation provision(370)— 83 287 0.13 
Non-GAAP$7,596 $(248)$2,859 18.9 %$12,274 $5.40 
(1)Figures in the table may not recalculate exactly due to rounding. Effective income tax rate, diluted earnings per share and their respective totals are calculated based on unrounded numbers.
Common stock repurchases. In January 2021, our board of directors authorized an $8.0 billion share repurchase program (the “January 2021 Program”). During fiscal 2021, we repurchased 40 million shares of our class A common stock in the open market for $8.7 billion. As of September 30, 2021, our January 2021 Program had remaining authorized funds of $4.8 billion for share repurchase. See Note 15—Stockholders’ Equity to our consolidated financial statements included in Item 8—Financial Statements and Supplementary Data of this report.
Pending acquisitions. On June 24, 2021, we entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Tink AB (“Tink”) for €1.8 billion, inclusive of cash and retention incentives. This acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory reviews and approvals.
On July 22, 2021, we entered into a definitive agreement to acquire The Currency Cloud Group Limited (“Currencycloud”). The acquisition values Currencycloud at £700 million, inclusive of cash and retention incentives. The financial consideration will be reduced by the outstanding equity of Currencycloud that we already own. This acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory reviews and approvals.
Terminated acquisition. On January 12, 2021, Visa and Plaid Inc. mutually terminated their merger agreement announced on January 13, 2020. See Note 20—Legal Matters to our consolidated financial statements included in Item 8—Financial Statements and Supplementary Data of this report.
Payments volume and processed transactions. Payments volume is the primary driver for our service revenues, and the number of processed transactions is the primary driver for our data processing revenues.
Payments volume represents the aggregate dollar amount of purchases made with cards and other form factors carrying the Visa, Visa Electron, V PAY and Interlink brands and excludes Europe co-badged volume. Nominal payments volume is denominated in U.S. dollars and is calculated each quarter by applying an established U.S. dollar/local currency exchange rate for each local currency in which our volumes are reported. Processed transactions represent transactions using cards and other form factors carrying the Visa, Visa Electron, V PAY, Interlink and PLUS brands processed on Visa’s networks.
36

The following tables present nominal payments and cash volume:
 U.S.International Visa Inc.
 
12 months
ended June 30,(1)
12 months
ended June 30,(1)
12 months
ended June 30,(1)
20212020
%
Change(2)
20212020
%
Change(2)
20212020
%
Change(2)
 (in billions, except percentages)
Nominal payments volume
         
Consumer credit
$1,641 $1,518 %$2,396 $2,362 %$4,036 $3,880 %
Consumer debit(3)
2,387 1,848 29 %2,440 1,975 24 %4,828 3,824 26 %
Commercial(4)
697 641 %406 370 10 %1,103 1,011 %
Total nominal payments volume(2)
$4,725 $4,007 18 %$5,243 $4,707 11 %$9,968 $8,714 14 %
Cash volume(5)
635 573 11 %1,927 2,045 (6 %)2,561 2,619 (2 %)
Total nominal volume(2),(6)
$5,359 $4,580 17 %$7,169 $6,753 %$12,529 $11,333 11 %
 U.S.InternationalVisa Inc.
 
12 months
ended June 30,(1)
12 months
ended June 30,(1)
12 months
ended June 30,(1)
20202019
%
Change(2)
20202019
%
Change(2)
20202019
%
Change(2)
 (in billions, except percentages)
Nominal payments volume
         
Consumer credit
$1,518 $1,540 (1 %)$2,362 $2,484 (5 %)$3,880 $4,024 (4 %)
Consumer debit(3)
1,848 1,699 9 %1,975 1,878 5 %3,824 3,577 7 %
Commercial(4)
641 634 1 %370 381 (3 %)1,011 1,015 — %
Total nominal payments volume(2)
$4,007 $3,873 3 %$4,707 $4,743 (1 %)$8,714 $8,616 1 %
Cash volume(5)
573 573 — %2,045 2,262 (10 %)2,619 2,835 (8 %)
Total nominal volume(2),(6)
$4,580 $4,447 3 %$6,753 $7,005 (4 %)$11,333 $11,451 (1 %)
The following table presents the change in nominal and constant payments and cash volume:
InternationalVisa Inc.
12 months ended
June 30,
2021 vs 2020(1),(2)
12 months ended
June 30,
2020 vs 2019
(1),(2)
12 months ended
June 30,
2021 vs 2020(1),(2)
12 months ended
June 30,
2020 vs 2019
(1),(2)
 Nominal
Constant(7)
Nominal
Constant(7)
Nominal
Constant(7)
Nominal
Constant(7)
Payments volume growth
Consumer credit growth%(1 %)(5 %)(3 %)%%(4 %)(2 %)
Consumer debit growth(3)
24 %21 %5 %%26 %25 %7 %%
Commercial growth(4)
10 %%(3 %)— %%%— %%
Total payments volume growth11 %%(1 %)%14 %13 %1 %%
Cash volume growth(5)
(6 %)(3 %)(10 %)(7 %)(2 %)— %(8 %)(5 %)
Total volume growth%%(4 %)(1 %)11 %10 %(1 %)%
(1)Service revenues in a given quarter are assessed based on nominal payments volume in the prior quarter. Therefore, service revenues reported for the 12 months ended September 30, 2021, 2020 and 2019, were based on nominal payments volume reported by our financial institution clients for the 12 months ended June 30, 2021, 2020 and 2019, respectively. On occasion, previously presented volume information may be updated. Prior period updates are not material.
(2)Figures in the tables may not recalculate exactly due to rounding. Percentage changes and totals are calculated based on unrounded numbers.
(3)Includes consumer prepaid volume and Interlink volume.
(4)Includes large, medium and small business credit and debit, as well as commercial prepaid volume.
(5)Cash volume generally consists of cash access transactions, balance access transactions, balance transfers and convenience checks.
(6)Total nominal volume is the sum of total nominal payments volume and cash volume. Total nominal volume is provided by our financial institution clients, subject to review by Visa.
(7)Growth on a constant-dollar basis excludes the impact of foreign currency fluctuations against the U.S. dollar.
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The following table provides the number of processed transactions:
For the Years Ended
September 30,
% Change(1)
2021202020192021
vs.
2020
2020
vs.
2019
(in millions, except percentages)
Visa processed transactions164,733 140,839 138,329 17 %%
(1)Figures in the table may not recalculate exactly due to rounding. Percentage changes are calculated based on unrounded numbers. On occasion, previously presented information may be updated. Prior period updates are not material.
Results of Operations
Net Revenues
Our net revenues are primarily generated from payments volume on Visa products for purchased goods and services, as well as the number of transactions processed on our network. See Note 1—Summary of Significant Accounting Policies to our consolidated financial statements included in Item 8—Financial Statements and Supplementary Data of this report for further discussion on the components of our net revenues.
The following table presents our net revenues earned in the U.S. and internationally:
 For the Years Ended
September 30,
% Change(1)
 2021202020192021
vs.
2020
2020
vs.
2019
 (in millions, except percentages)
U.S.$11,160 $10,125 $10,279 10 %(1 %)
International12,945 11,721 12,698 10 %(8 %)
Net revenues$24,105 $21,846 $22,977 10 %(5 %)
(1)Figures in the table may not recalculate exactly due to rounding. Percentage changes are calculated based on unrounded numbers.
Net revenues increased in fiscal 2021 primarily due to the year-over-year growth in payments volume, processed transactions and cross-border volume, helped by fewer COVID-19 restrictions, partially offset by higher client incentives.
Our net revenues are impacted by the overall strengthening or weakening of the U.S. dollar as payments volume and related revenues denominated in local currencies are converted to U.S. dollars. In fiscal 2021, exchange rate movements and our hedging program positively impacted our net revenues growth by approximately half a percentage point.
The following table presents the components of our net revenues:
 For the Years Ended
September 30,
% Change(1)
 2021202020192021
vs.
2020
2020
vs.
2019
 (in millions, except percentages)
Service revenues$11,475 $9,804 $9,700 17 %%
Data processing revenues12,792 10,975 10,333 17 %%
International transaction revenues6,530 6,299 7,804 %(19 %)
Other revenues1,675 1,432 1,313 17 %%
Client incentives(8,367)(6,664)(6,173)26 %%
Net revenues$24,105 $21,846 $22,977 10 %(5 %)
(1)Figures in the table may not recalculate exactly due to rounding. Percentage changes are calculated based on unrounded numbers.     
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Service revenues increased primarily due to 14% growth in nominal payments volume. Service revenues were also impacted by select pricing modifications and business mix.
Data processing revenues increased due to 17% growth in processed transactions, as the business laps the initial impacts of COVID-19 starting in March 2020.
International transaction revenues increased primarily due to growth in nominal cross-border volumes, excluding transactions within Europe, of 4%, as the business laps the initial impacts of COVID-19 starting in March 2020 and border restrictions were relaxed in various markets.
Other revenues increased as the business laps the initial impacts of COVID-19 starting in March 2020, driven by higher consulting and data services revenues.
Client incentives increased in conjunction with the increase in payments volume during fiscal 2021. The amount of client incentives we record in future periods will vary based on changes in performance expectations, actual client performance, amendments to existing contracts or the execution of new contracts.
Operating Expenses
Our operating expenses consist of the following:
Personnel expenses include salaries, employee benefits, incentive compensation, share-based compensation, contractor expense and severance charges.
Marketing expenses include expenses associated with advertising and marketing campaigns, sponsorships and other related promotions of the Visa brand.
Network and processing expenses mainly represent expenses for the operation of our processing network, including maintenance, equipment rental and fees for other data processing services.
Professional fees mainly consist of fees for consulting, legal and other professional services.
Depreciation and amortization expenses include amortization of purchased and internally developed software, as well as depreciation expense for property and equipment. Also included in this amount is amortization of finite-lived intangible assets primarily obtained through acquisitions.
General and administrative expenses consist mainly of card benefits, indirect taxes, facilities costs, travel and meeting costs, foreign exchange gains and losses and other corporate expenses incurred in support of our business.
Litigation provision represents litigation expenses and is based on management’s understanding of our litigation profile, the specifics of the cases, advice of counsel to the extent appropriate and management’s best estimate of incurred loss.
39

The following table presents the components of our total operating expenses:
 For the Years Ended
September 30,
% Change(1)
 2021202020192021
vs.
2020
2020
vs.
2019
 (in millions, except percentages)
Personnel$4,240 $3,785 $3,444 12 %10 %
Marketing1,136 971 1,105 17 %(12 %)
Network and processing730 727 721 — %%
Professional fees403 408 454 (1 %)(10 %)
Depreciation and amortization804 767 656 %17 %
General and administrative985 1,096 1,196 (10 %)(8 %)
Litigation provision3 11 400 (76 %)(97 %)
Total operating expenses(2)
$8,301 $7,765 $7,976 %(3 %)
(1)Figures in the table may not recalculate exactly due to rounding. Percentage changes are calculated based on unrounded numbers.
(2)Operating expenses for fiscal 2021 and 2019 include significant items that we do not believe are indicative of our operating performance. See Overview within this Item 7—Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.
Personnel expenses increased primarily due to higher headcount and incentive compensation, reflecting our strategy to invest in future growth.
Marketing expenses increased as we lapped reductions in spending in the prior year at the outset of COVID-19 as well as higher spending in client marketing and various campaigns, including the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, which were held in Summer 2021.
General and administrative expenses decreased due to lower travel expenses, favorable foreign currency fluctuations and lower usage of travel related card benefits, partially offset by a one-time charge to record our estimate of probable additional indirect taxes, related to prior periods, for which we could be liable as a result of certain changes in applicable laws.
Non-operating Income (Expense)
Non-operating income (expense) primarily includes interest expense, gains and losses earned on investments, income from derivative instruments not associated with our core business, as well as the non-service components of net periodic pension income and expense.
The following table presents the components of our non-operating income (expense):
 For the Years Ended
September 30,
% Change(1)
 2021202020192021
vs.
2020
2020
vs.
2019
 (in millions, except percentages)
Interest expense, net$(513)$(516)$(533)(1 %)(3 %)
Investment income and other772 225 416 243 %(46 %)
Total non-operating income (expense)$259 $(291)$(117)(189 %)148 %
(1)Figures in the table may not recalculate exactly due to rounding. Percentage changes are calculated based on unrounded numbers.
Interest expense, net decreased primarily as a result of lower interest related to income tax liabilities, partially offset by an increase in interest expense due to the issuance of debt in fiscal 2020. See Note 10—Debt to our consolidated financial statements included in Item 8—Financial Statements and Supplementary Data of this report.
Investment income and other increased primarily due to higher gains from our equity investments, partially offset by lower interest income on our cash and investments. See Note 6—Fair Value Measurements and Investments to our consolidated financial statements included in Item 8—Financial Statements and Supplementary Data of this report.
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Effective Income Tax Rate
The following table presents our effective income tax rates:
 For the Years Ended
September 30,
 202120202019
Effective income tax rate23 %21 %19 %
The effective tax rate in fiscal 2021 differs from the effective tax rate in fiscal 2020 mainly due to the following:
during fiscal 2021, a $1.0 billion non-recurring non-cash tax expense related to the remeasurement of UK deferred tax liabilities, as discussed below;
during fiscal 2021, $255 million of tax benefits recognized as a result of the conclusion of audits by taxing authorities; and