Before reprinting today’s Visa Inc. press release, these thoughts:
Our merchant interchange antitrust litigation is based on many years of alleged illegal activities. Just as if a convicted bank robber apologizes and cleans up their act, they are still in violation of the law. So too are Visa and MasterCard. Because most of the same banks that control a large percentage of Visa’s newly public shares are also owners of MasterCard, we expect that the same decision will be forthcoming by the other credit card association.
Moving forward, this is a smart decision and one more confirming action that Visa recognizes that they were in error and are quickly trying to fix their business model; from creating an independent board, to less ownership by the banks, to posting interchange rates online (although mostly as an attempt to respond to merchant concerns) and now this.
The Visa Inc. May 9th press release is reprinted below.
Move Seeks to Increase Company’s Transparency
SAN FRANCISCO, CA, May 8, 2008
Visa Inc. announced today that it will for the first time make its Visa International and Regional Operating Regulations available publicly, effective May 15, 2008.
The Operating Regulations, which will be available on Visa’s corporate website at www.corporate.visa.com, are the set of rules which govern the participation of issuing and acquiring financial institutions in the Visa system.
“As Visa continues to evolve to meet the needs of customers, we are committed to providing our partners and interested parties with greater insight into Visa’s operations,” says Joseph W. Saunders, Chairman and CEO, Visa Inc. “Greater transparency is one of the ways we hope to strengthen our working relationships in the marketplace.”
Previously, Visa Inc. made its Visa USA Operating Regulations available to merchants and third party agents under a non-disclosure agreement. On May 15, Visa’s rules will be publicly available to interested parties, including all Visa rules related to merchants’ participation in the system. However, to protect cardholder and merchant safety and the Visa system, Visa has omitted proprietary and competitive information, as well as certain details from the rules relating to the security of the network. For example, in the merchant rules, Visa has omitted authorization limits by country and processing codes which could aid fraudsters.
“Today’s announcement builds on our commitment to making Visa transparent in an increasingly competitive environment,” adds Saunders. “While our operating regulations only govern our client financial institutions, we believe that merchants and others will benefit from access to the rules, which provide a greater understanding of the complexities of electronic payments.”