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  • U.S.
    1950s

    Typical middle-class American already maintained revolving credit accounts with several different merchants

    U.S.
    1950s

    By the mid-1950s, the typical middle-class American already maintained revolving credit accounts with several different merchants, which was clearly inefficient and inconvenient due to the need to carry so many cards and pay so many separate bills each month.




  • Fresno, California, U.S.
    1956

    Williams convinced senior BofA executives

    Fresno, California, U.S.
    1956

    The original idea was the brainchild of BofA's in-house product development think tank, the Customer Services Research Group, and its leader, Joseph P. Williams. Williams convinced senior BofA executives in 1956 to let him pursue what became the world's first successful mass mailing of unsolicited credit cards (actual working cards, not mere applications) to a large population.




  • San Francisco, California, U.S.
    1958

    Test at first went smoothly, but then BofA panicked when it confirmed rumors that another bank was about to initiate its own drop

    San Francisco, California, U.S.
    1958

    The 1958 test at first went smoothly, but then BofA panicked when it confirmed rumors that another bank was about to initiate its own drop in San Francisco, BofA's home market.




  • Fresno, California, U.S.
    Sep, 1958

    Bank of America (BofA) launched its BankAmericard credit card program

    Fresno, California, U.S.
    Sep, 1958

    In mid-September 1958, Bank of America (BofA) launched its BankAmericard credit card program in Fresno, California, with an initial mass mailing (or "drop", as they came to be called) of 60,000 unsolicited credit cards.




  • San Francisco, California, U.S.
    Mar, 1959

    Drops began

    San Francisco, California, U.S.
    Mar, 1959

    By March 1959, drops began in San Francisco and Sacramento.




  • Los Angeles, California, U.S.
    Jun, 1959

    BofA was dropping cards in Los Angeles

    Los Angeles, California, U.S.
    Jun, 1959

    By June, BofA was dropping cards in Los Angeles.




  • California, U.S.
    Oct, 1959

    The entire state had been saturated with over 2 million credit cards

    California, U.S.
    Oct, 1959

    By October, the entire state had been saturated with over 2 million credit cards, and BankAmericard was being accepted by 20,000 merchants.


  • California, U.S.
    Dec, 1959

    Williams resigned

    California, U.S.
    Dec, 1959

    However, the program was riddled with problems, as Williams (who had never worked in a bank's loan department) had been too earnest and trusting in his belief in the basic goodness of the bank's customers, and he resigned in December 1959.


  • Japan
    1960s

    Sumitomo Credit Service

    Japan
    1960s

    In Japan, The Sumitomo Bank issued BankAmericards through the Sumitomo Credit Service.


  • Frace
    1960s

    Carte Bleue

    Frace
    1960s

    In France, it was known as Carte Bleue (Blue Card). The logo still appears on many French-issued Visa cards today.


  • United Kingdom
    1960s

    BankAmericard issuer for some years was Barclaycard

    United Kingdom
    1960s

    In the UK, the only BankAmericard issuer for some years was Barclaycard. The branding still exists today, but is used not only on Visa cards issued by Barclays, but on its MasterCard and American Express cards as well.


  • California, U.S.
    1966

    BofA began to sign licensing agreements with a group of banks outside of California

    California, U.S.
    1966

    The original goal of BofA was to offer the BankAmericard product across California, but in 1966, BofA began to sign licensing agreements with a group of banks outside of California, in response to a new competitor, Master Charge (now MasterCard), which had been created by an alliance of several other California banks to compete against BankAmericard.


  • U.S.1
    1968

    Manager at the National Bank of Commerce , Dee Hock, was asked to supervise that bank's launch of its own licensed version of BankAmericard in the Pacific Northwest market

    U.S.1
    1968

    In 1968, a manager at the National Bank of Commerce (later Rainier Bancorp), Dee Hock, was asked to supervise that bank's launch of its own licensed version of BankAmericard in the Pacific Northwest market. Although Bank of America had cultivated the public image that BankAmericard's troubled startup issues were now safely in the past, Hock realized that the BankAmericard licensee program itself was in terrible disarray because it had developed and grown very rapidly in an ad hoc fashion. For example, "interchange" transaction issues between banks were becoming a very serious problem, which had not been seen before when Bank of America was the sole issuer of BankAmericards.


  • Canada
    1968

    Alliance of banks issued credit cards under the Chargex name

    Canada
    1968

    In Canada, an alliance of banks (including Toronto-Dominion Bank, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Royal Bank of Canada, Banque Canadienne Nationale and Bank of Nova Scotia) issued credit cards under the Chargex name from 1968 to 1977.


  • U.S.
    Jun, 1970

    Bank of America gave up control of the BankAmericard program

    U.S.
    Jun, 1970

    After lengthy negotiations, the committee led by Hock was able to persuade Bank of America that a bright future lay ahead for BankAmericard — outside Bank of America. In June 1970, Bank of America gave up control of the BankAmericard program.


  • U.S.
    1972

    Licenses had been granted in 15 countries

    U.S.
    1972

    However, Bank of America retained the right to directly license BankAmericard to banks outside the United States, and continued to issue and support such licenses. By 1972, licenses had been granted in 15 countries. The international licensees soon encountered a variety of problems with their licensing programs, and they hired Hock as a consultant to help them restructure their relationship with BofA as he had done for the domestic licensees.


  • U.S.
    1974

    International Bankcard Company (IBANCO), a multinational member corporation, was founded in order to manage the international BankAmericard program

    U.S.
    1974

    As a result, in 1974, the International Bankcard Company (IBANCO), a multinational member corporation, was founded in order to manage the international BankAmericard program.


  • U.S.
    1976

    The directors of IBANCO determined that bringing the various international networks together into a single network with a single name internationally would be in the best interests of the corporation

    U.S.
    1976

    In 1976, the directors of IBANCO determined that bringing the various international networks together into a single network with a single name internationally would be in the best interests of the corporation; however, in many countries, there was still great reluctance to issue a card associated with Bank of America, even though the association was entirely nominal in nature.


  • Spain
    1979

    Banco de Bilbao

    Spain
    1979

    In Spain, until 1979 the only issuer was Banco de Bilbao.


  • San Francisco, California, U.S.
    1985

    Headquarters in San Francisco

    San Francisco, California, U.S.
    1985

    Visa had been headquartered in San Francisco until 1985


  • Foster City, California, U.S.
    1993

    Visa became Foster City's largest employer

    Foster City, California, U.S.
    1993

    Around 1993, Visa began consolidating various scattered offices in San Mateo to a location in Foster City. Visa became Foster City's largest employer.


  • U.S.
    1996

    Visa settled a 1996 antitrust lawsuit brought by a class of U.S. merchants

    U.S.
    1996

    Visa settled a 1996 antitrust lawsuit brought by a class of U.S. merchants, including Walmart, for billions of dollars in 2003. Over 4 million class members were represented by the plaintiffs. According to a website associated with the suit, Visa and MasterCard settled the plaintiffs' claims for a total of $3.05 billion. Visa's share of this settlement is reported to have been the larger.


  • U.S.
    2001

    Department of Justice won its case at trial in 2001 and the verdict was upheld on appeal

    U.S.
    2001

    In 1998, the Department of Justice sued Visa over rules prohibiting its issuing banks from doing business with American Express and Discover. The Department of Justice won its case at trial in 2001 and the verdict was upheld on appeal. American Express and Discover filed suit as well.


  • Europe
    2002

    European Commission exempted Visa's multilateral interchange fees from Article 81 of the EC Treaty that prohibits anti-competitive arrangements

    Europe
    2002

    In 2002, the European Commission exempted Visa's multilateral interchange fees from Article 81 of the EC Treaty that prohibits anti-competitive arrangements.


  • Europe
    Jan, 2007

    European Commission issued the results of a two-year inquiry into the retail banking sector

    Europe
    Jan, 2007

    In January 2007, the European Commission issued the results of a two-year inquiry into the retail banking sector. The report focuses on payment cards and interchange fees. Upon publishing the report, Commissioner Neelie Kroes said the "present level of interchange fees in many of the schemes we have examined does not seem justified." The report called for further study of the issue.


  • Poland
    Thursday Jan 04, 2007

    Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection fined twenty banks a total of PLN 164 million (about $56 million) for jointly setting MasterCard's and Visa's interchange fees

    Poland
    Thursday Jan 04, 2007

    The antitrust authorities of EU Member States other than the United Kingdom are also investigating MasterCard's and Visa's interchange fees. For example, on January 4, 2007, the Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection fined twenty banks a total of PLN 164 million (about $56 million) for jointly setting MasterCard's and Visa's interchange fees.


  • U.S.
    Oct, 2007

    BankAmericard Rewards Visa

    U.S.
    Oct, 2007

    In October 2007, Bank of America announced it was resurrecting the BankAmericard brand name as the "BankAmericard Rewards Visa".


  • New York, U.S.
    Oct, 2007

    Visa Europe was an entirely separate company to Visa Inc.

    New York, U.S.
    Oct, 2007

    Visa Europe was an entirely separate company to Visa Inc. having gained independence of Visa International Service Association in October 2007 when Visa Inc. became a publicly-traded company on the New York Stock Exchange.


  • U.S.
    Wednesday Oct 03, 2007

    Visa completed its corporate restructuring with the formation of Visa Inc.

    U.S.
    Wednesday Oct 03, 2007

    On October 3, 2007, Visa completed its corporate restructuring with the formation of Visa Inc. The new company was the first step towards Visa's IPO.


  • U.S.
    Wednesday Oct 03, 2007

    Visa comprised four non-stock, separately incorporated companies that employed 6,000 people worldwide: the worldwide parent entity Visa International Service Association

    U.S.
    Wednesday Oct 03, 2007

    Prior to October 3, 2007, Visa comprised four non-stock, separately incorporated companies that employed 6,000 people worldwide: the worldwide parent entity Visa International Service Association (Visa), Visa USA Inc., Visa Canada Association, and Visa Europe Ltd. The latter three separately incorporated regions had the status of group members of Visa International Service Association.


  • U.S.
    Nov, 2007

    The second step

    U.S.
    Nov, 2007

    The second step came on November 9, 2007, when the new Visa Inc. submitted its $10 billion IPO filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).


  • Europe
    Monday Dec 31, 2007

    Exemption expired

    Europe
    Monday Dec 31, 2007

    In 2002, the European Commission exempted Visa's multilateral interchange fees from Article 81 of the EC Treaty that prohibits anti-competitive arrangements. However, this exemption expired on December 31, 2007. In the United Kingdom, MasterCard has reduced its interchange fees while it is under investigation by the Office of Fair Trading.


  • U.S.
    Monday Feb 25, 2008

    Visa announced it would go ahead with an IPO of half its shares

    U.S.
    Monday Feb 25, 2008

    On February 25, 2008, Visa announced it would go ahead with an IPO of half its shares.


  • U.S.
    Tuesday Mar 18, 2008

    Visa sold 406 million shares at US$44 per share ($2 above the high end of the expected $37–42 pricing range), raising US$17.9 billion in the largest initial public offering in U.S. history

    U.S.
    Tuesday Mar 18, 2008

    The IPO took place on March 18, 2008. Visa sold 406 million shares at US$44 per share ($2 above the high end of the expected $37–42 pricing range), raising US$17.9 billion in the largest initial public offering in U.S. history.


  • U.S.
    Thursday Mar 20, 2008

    the IPO underwriters exercised their overallotment option

    U.S.
    Thursday Mar 20, 2008

    On March 20, 2008, the IPO underwriters (including JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs & Co., Bank of America Securities LLC, Citi, HSBC, Merrill Lynch & Co., UBS Investment Bank and Wachovia Securities) exercised their overallotment option, purchasing an additional 40.6 million shares, bringing Visa's total IPO share count to 446.6 million, and bringing the total proceeds to US$19.1 billion.


  • Europe
    Wednesday Mar 26, 2008

    Honor All Cards

    Europe
    Wednesday Mar 26, 2008

    On March 26, 2008, the European Commission opened an investigation into Visa's multilateral interchange fees for cross-border transactions within the EEA as well as into the "Honor All Cards" rule (under which merchants are required to accept all valid Visa-branded cards).


  • U.S.
    Oct, 2010

    Visa and MasterCard reached a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department in another antitrust case

    U.S.
    Oct, 2010

    In October 2010, Visa and MasterCard reached a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department in another antitrust case. The companies agreed to allow merchants displaying their logos to decline certain types of cards (because interchange fees differ), or to offer consumers discounts for using cheaper cards.


  • Europe
    Dec, 2010

    Visa reached a settlement with the European Union in yet another antitrust case

    Europe
    Dec, 2010

    In December 2010, Visa reached a settlement with the European Union in yet another antitrust case, promising to reduce debit card payments to 0.2 percent of a purchase.


  • Europe
    Tuesday Dec 07, 2010

    WikiLeaks

    Europe
    Tuesday Dec 07, 2010

    Visa Europe began suspending payments to WikiLeaks on December 7, 2010.


  • U.S.
    Wednesday Dec 08, 2010

    Anonymous

    U.S.
    Wednesday Dec 08, 2010

    On December 8, the group Anonymous performed a DDoS attack on visa.com, bringing the site down.


  • Foster City, California, U.S.
    Monday Oct 01, 2012

    Headquarters in Foster City, California

    Foster City, California, U.S.
    Monday Oct 01, 2012

    As of October 1, 2012, Visa's headquarters are located in Foster City, California.


  • U.S.
    Tuesday Nov 27, 2012

    Federal judge entered an order granting preliminary approval to a proposed settlement to a class-action lawsuit filed in 2005 by merchants and trade associations against Mastercard and Visa

    U.S.
    Tuesday Nov 27, 2012

    On November 27, 2012, a federal judge entered an order granting preliminary approval to a proposed settlement to a class-action lawsuit filed in 2005 by merchants and trade associations against Mastercard and Visa. The suit was filed due to alleged price fixing practices employed by Mastercard and Visa. About one quarter of the named class plaintiffs have decided to opt "out of the settlement". Opponents object to provisions that would bar future lawsuits and even prevent merchants from opting out of significant portions of the proposed settlement.


  • U.S.
    Sep, 2014

    Visa teamed with Apple

    U.S.
    Sep, 2014

    Visa teamed with Apple in September 2014, to incorporate a new mobile wallet feature into Apple's new iPhone models, enabling users to more readily use their Visa, and other credit/debit cards.


  • Australia
    2015

    Australian Federal Court ordered Visa to pay a pecuniary penalty of $20 million

    Australia
    2015

    In 2015, the Australian Federal Court ordered Visa to pay a pecuniary penalty of $20 million (including legal fees) for engaging in anti-competitive conduct against Dynamic Currency Conversion operators, in proceedings brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.


  • Europe
    Thursday Nov 05, 2015

    Visa Inc. announced the plan to acquire Visa Europe

    Europe
    Thursday Nov 05, 2015

    Visa Inc. announced the plan to acquire Visa Europe on November 5, 2015, creating a single global company.


  • Europe
    Monday Mar 21, 2016

    The agreement was amended in response to the feedback of European Commission

    Europe
    Monday Mar 21, 2016

    On April 21, 2016 the agreement was amended in response to the feedback of European Commission.


  • Canada
    Jun, 2016

    Walmart threatened to stop accepting Visa cards in Canada

    Canada
    Jun, 2016

    In June 2016, the Wall Street Journal reported that Walmart threatened to stop accepting Visa cards in Canada. Visa objected saying that consumers should not be dragged into a dispute between the companies.


  • Europe
    Tuesday Jun 21, 2016

    The acquisition of Visa Europe was completed

    Europe
    Tuesday Jun 21, 2016

    The acquisition of Visa Europe was completed on June 21, 2016.


  • U.S.
    Mar, 2019

    U.S. retailer Kroger announced that its 250-strong Smith's chain would stop accepting Visa credit cards

    U.S.
    Mar, 2019

    In March 2019, U.S. retailer Kroger announced that its 250-strong Smith's chain would stop accepting Visa credit cards as of April 3, 2019 due to the cards’ high ‘swipe’ fees. Kroger’s California-based Foods Co stores stopped accepting Visa cards in August 2018.


  • U.S.
    Thursday Nov 07, 2019

    A settlement of US$6.24 billion has been reached and a court is scheduled to approve or deny the agreement

    U.S.
    Thursday Nov 07, 2019

    Plaintiffs allege that Visa and Mastercard fixed interchange fees, also known as swipe fees, that are charged to merchants for the privilege of accepting payment cards. In their complaint, the plaintiffs also alleged that the defendants unfairly interfere with merchants from encouraging customers to use less expensive forms of payment such as lower-cost cards, cash, and checks. A settlement of US$6.24 billion has been reached and a court is scheduled to approve or deny the agreement on November 7, 2019.


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