10-K 1 d10k.htm FORM 10-K Form 10-K
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UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

FORM 10-K

 

þ ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended September 30, 2010

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

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

San Francisco, California

  94128-8999
(Address of principal executive offices)   (Zip Code)

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code:    (415) 932-2100

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:    

 

Title of each Class    Name of each exchange on which registered
Class A common stock, par value $.0001 per share    New York Stock Exchange

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:

Title of each Class

Class B common stock, par value $.0001 per share

Class C common stock, par value $.0001 per share

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes  þ    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  þ

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  þ    No  ¨

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate website, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted 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 and post such files).    Yes  þ    No  ¨

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.    ¨

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, or a non-accelerated filer. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):

 

Large accelerated filer  þ

  Accelerated filer  ¨

Non-accelerated filer  ¨

  Smaller reporting company  ¨

(Do not check if a smaller reporting company)

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).    Yes  ¨    No  þ

The aggregate market value of the registrant’s class A common stock, par value $.0001 per share, held by non-affiliates (using the New York Stock Exchange closing price as of March 31, 2010, the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter) was approximately $44.8 billion. There is currently no established public trading market for the registrant’s class B common stock, par value $.0001 per share, or the registrant’s class C common stock, par value $.0001 per share.

As of November 10, 2010 there were 496,665,483 shares outstanding of the registrant’s class A common stock, par value $.0001 per share, 245,513,385 shares outstanding of the registrant’s class B common stock, par value $.0001 per share, and 94,690,736 shares outstanding of the registrant’s class C common stock, par value $.0001 per share.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

Portions of the Registrant’s Proxy Statement for the 2011 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, 2010.


Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

          Page  

PART I

  

Item 1

   Business      5   

Item 1A

   Risk Factors      19   

Item 1B

   Unresolved Staff Comments      35   

Item 2

   Properties      35   

Item 3

   Legal Proceedings      36   

Item 4

  

(Removed and Reserved)

     36   

PART II

  

Item 5

   Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities      37   

Item 6

   Selected Financial Data      39   

Item 7

   Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations      41   

Item 7A

   Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk      64   

Item 8

   Financial Statements and Supplementary Data      65   

Item 9

   Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosures      138   

Item 9A

   Controls and Procedures      138   

Item 9B

   Other Information      139   

PART III

  

Item 10

   Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance      140   

Item 11

   Executive Compensation      140   

Item 12

   Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters      140   

Item 13

   Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence      140   

Item 14

   Principal Accountant Fees and Services      141   

PART IV

  

Item 15

   Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules      142   

Unless the context requires otherwise, reference to “Company,” “Visa,” “we,” “us” or “our” refers to Visa Inc. and its subsidiaries.

The registered trademarks of Visa Inc. and its subsidiaries include: “All It Takes;” “Bands Design—Blue, White & Gold;” “Dove” Design; “Interlink;” “Life Takes Visa;” “PLUS;” “Verified by Visa;” “Visa;” “Visa Classic;” “Visa Corporate;” “Porque La Vida es Ahora;” “The World’s Best Way to Pay;” “Visa Electron;” “Visa Europe;” “Visa Fleet;” “Visa Infinite;” “Visa Mobile;” “VisaNet;” “Visa Platinum;” “Visa Purchasing;” “Visa Resolve OnLine;” “Visa ReadyLink;” “Visa Signature;” “Visa Signature Business;” “Visa Vale;” and “Winged V” Design. Other trademarks used in this report are the property of their respective owners.

 

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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. These statements can be identified by the terms “believe,” “continue,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “potential,” “project,” “should,” “will,” and similar references to the future. Examples of such forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements we make about our earnings per share, cash flow, revenue, incentive payments, expenses, operating margin, tax rate and capital expenditures and the growth of those items.

By their nature, forward-looking statements: (i) speak only as of the date they are made, (ii) are neither statements of historical fact nor guarantees of future performance and (iii) are subject to risks, uncertainties, assumptions and changes in circumstances that are difficult to predict or quantify. Therefore, actual results could differ materially and adversely from those forward-looking statements because of a variety of factors, including the following:

 

   

the impact of the U.S. Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, including:

 

   

its effect on issuers’ and retailers’ network selection for debit transactions;

 

   

its effect on our clients and on debit interchange rates;

 

   

its effect on other product categories, such as credit; and

 

   

the adoption of similar and related laws and regulations elsewhere;

 

   

developments in current or future disputes, including:

 

   

interchange;

 

   

currency conversion; and

 

   

tax;

 

   

the risk that CyberSource’s business will not be successfully integrated with Visa’s, including:

 

   

the costs associated with the acquisition; and

 

   

slowed growth of eCommerce;

 

   

macroeconomic and industry factors such as:

 

   

currency exchange rates;

 

   

global economic, political, health and other conditions;

 

   

competitive pressure on client pricing and in the payments industry generally;

 

   

material changes in our clients’ performance compared to our estimates;

 

   

marketplace barriers; and

 

   

disintermediation from the payments value stream through government actions or bilateral agreements;

 

   

systemic developments, such as:

 

   

concentration of revenue;

 

   

disruption of our transaction processing systems or the inability to process transactions efficiently;

 

   

account data breaches involving card data stored by us or third parties;

 

   

increased fraudulent and other illegal activities involving our cards;

 

   

failure to maintain interoperability between our and Visa Europe’s authorization and clearing and settlement systems;

 

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costs arising if Visa Europe were to exercise its right to require us to acquire all of its outstanding stock;

 

   

loss of organizational effectiveness or key employees;

 

   

changes in accounting principles or treatments; and

the other factors discussed under the heading “Risk Factors” herein. You should not place undue reliance on such statements. Unless required to do so by law, we do not intend to update or revise any forward-looking statement, because of new information or future developments or otherwise.

 

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PART I

 

ITEM 1. Business

Overview

Visa Inc. (“Visa” or the “Company”) is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, banks and governments in more than 200 countries and territories, enabling them to use digital currency instead of cash and checks.

Our business primarily consists of the following:

 

   

we own, manage and promote a portfolio of well-known, widely-accepted payment brands, including Visa, Visa Electron, PLUS and Interlink, which we license to our clients for use in their payment programs;

 

   

we offer a wide range of branded payments product platforms, which our clients, primarily financial institutions, use to develop and offer credit, debit, prepaid and cash access programs for their customers (individuals, businesses and government entities);

 

   

we provide transaction processing and value-added services to our clients through VisaNet, Visa Debit Processing Services and Visa Processing Services; and

 

   

we promote and enforce a common set of operating regulations adhered to by our clients to ensure the efficient and secure functioning of our payments network and the maintenance and promotion of our brands.

To ensure our long-term success and the success of our clients:

 

   

we invest in new services and processing platforms to facilitate more convenient and innovative payment methods, such as mobile payments, money transfer and eCommerce; and

 

   

we continually improve the security of our network and our payments services to enhance the reliability of our global processing infrastructure and protect the security of cardholder information.

We operate an open-loop payments network, a multi-party system in which Visa connects financial institutions—issuing financial institutions (or “issuers”) that issue cards to cardholders, and acquiring financial institutions (or “acquirers”) that have the banking relationship with merchants – and manage the exchange of information and value between them. As such, Visa does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. In most instances, cardholder and merchant relationships belong to, and are managed by, our network of financial institution clients. We derive revenues primarily from fees paid by our clients based on payments volume, transactions that we process and other related services that we provide.

Business developments in fiscal 2010 included the following:

 

   

CyberSource. We completed the acquisition of CyberSource Corporation in July 2010. CyberSource provides payment and risk solutions to online businesses, expanding Visa’s online payment, fraud, and security management capabilities. The combination of our businesses is expected to accelerate growth of the eCommerce category and enhance the value of Visa’s network, product and service offerings to financial institutions, merchants, partners and consumers.

 

   

Client Contracts. We continued to take steps to solidify our foundation for long-term growth by successfully renewing several major client contracts throughout the year. We now have no major contracts up for renewal until the beginning of fiscal 2013.

 

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Economic Recovery. The global economic recovery drove double-digit growth across our three primary revenue drivers—payments volume, cross-border volume and Visa-processed transactions—which contributed to our 17% year-over-year total operating revenues gain for fiscal 2010.

 

   

Sponsorships. We sponsored our first FIFA World Cup, held June-July 2010, as part of our overall FIFA sponsorship which extends through 2014. We also launched our first global Olympic marketing campaign, Go World, in November 2009 in advance of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. This followed shortly after we announced an eight-year extension of the Olympic Games sponsorship we have had in place since 1986, enabling us to remain the exclusive payment services sponsor through 2020.

 

   

Regulation. New regulation affecting the payments industry and our financial institution clients was adopted in several important jurisdictions. Of note this fiscal year, the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was signed into law in the United States on July 21, 2010, which will, amongst other things, regulate interchange fees and transaction routing rules related to our debit card products. See Government Regulation below.

Industry Overview

The Global Payments Industry

We operate in the global payments industry, which is undergoing a powerful secular shift towards card-based and other electronic payments and away from paper-based payments, such as cash and checks. For more than 50 years, Visa has played a central role in driving this migration by providing payment products and services that we believe deliver significant benefits to consumers, businesses, governments and merchants. We believe that consumers are increasingly attracted to the convenience, security, enhanced services and rewards associated with electronic payment forms. We also believe that corporations and governments are shifting to electronic payments to improve efficiency, control and security, and that a growing number of merchants are accepting electronic payments to improve sales and customer convenience.

The global payments industry consists of all forms of payment and value transfer, including:

 

   

paper-based payments—cash, personal checks, money orders, government checks, travelers cheques and other paper-based means of transferring value;

 

   

card-based payments—credit cards, charge cards, debit cards, deferred debit cards, ATM cards, prepaid cards, private label cards and other types of general-purpose and limited-use cards;

 

   

mobile payments—electronic payments through mobile phones and other handheld devices using a variety of applications such as text messages, mobile billing, web browsers or applications, contactless readers, or other means; and

 

   

other electronic payments—wire transfers, electronic benefits transfers, automated clearing house payments and other forms of electronic payment not typically tied to a payment card or similar access device.

The most common card-based forms of payment are general-purpose cards, which offer widespread merchant acceptance. General purpose cards are typically categorized as:

 

   

“pay now” cards, such as debit cards, which enable the cardholder to purchase goods and services by an automatic debit to a checking, demand deposit or other current account;

 

   

“pay later” cards, such as credit, deferred debit and charge cards, which typically permit a cardholder to carry a balance in a revolving credit or deferred debit account or require payment of the full balance within a specified period; and

 

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“pay before” cards, such as prepaid cards, which are pre-funded up to a certain monetary value.

Primary global general purpose card brands include Visa, MasterCard, American Express, JCB and Discover/Diners Club. While these brands—including Visa—were historically associated with consumer credit or charge cards in the United States and other major international markets, Visa and others have, over time, broadened their offerings to include debit, ATM, prepaid and commercial cards.

Our Core Operations

We derive revenues primarily from fees paid by our clients based on payments volume, transactions that we process and other related services we provide. Our clients deliver Visa products and payment services to consumers and merchants based on product platforms we define and manage. Payments network management is a core part of our operations, as it ensures that our payments system provides a safe, efficient, consistent and interoperable service to cardholders, merchants and financial institutions worldwide.

Transaction Processing Services

Processing Infrastructure

We own and operate VisaNet, which consists of multiple synchronized processing centers, including a new east coast data center in the United States. In addition, Visa Europe operates one processing center in the United Kingdom, which is part of our synchronized system in accordance with the terms of our Framework Agreement with Visa Europe. These centers are linked by a global telecommunications network and are engineered for redundancy. Intelligent access points around the world complete our global processing infrastructure and enable merchants and financial institutions worldwide to access our core processing and value-added services.

VisaNet is built on a centralized architecture, enabling us to view and analyze each authorization transaction we process in real time and to provide value-added information, such as risk scoring or loyalty applications, while the transaction data is being routed through our system.

CyberSource, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Visa Inc., operates multiple data centers in the United States and internationally. These secure data center facilities allow for high availability transaction services and connectivity to the Internet, clients and processing partners.

Core Processing Services

Our core processing services involve the routing of payment information and related data to facilitate the authorization, clearing and settlement of transactions between Visa issuers and acquirers. In addition, we offer a range of value-added processing services to support our clients’ Visa programs and to promote the growth and security of the Visa payments network.

Authorization is the process of approving or declining a transaction before a purchase is finalized or cash is disbursed. Clearing is the process of delivering final transaction data from an acquirer to an issuer for posting to the cardholder’s account, the calculation of certain fees and charges that apply to the issuer and acquirer involved in the transaction, and the conversion of transaction amounts to the appropriate settlement currencies. Settlement is the process of calculating, determining, reporting and transferring the net financial position of our issuers and acquirers for all transactions that are cleared.

The issuer and acquirer involved in a typical Visa transaction perform additional functions that we do not generally perform or monitor. For example, the acquirer credits the merchant’s account for the

 

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amount of the transaction less any fees the acquirer charges in accordance with the contractual agreement between the merchant and the acquirer. In addition, the issuer sends a statement to the cardholder and collects payment, in the case of a credit or deferred debit card, or collects payment directly from the cardholder’s deposit account, in the case of a debit card.

We process most Visa transactions occurring in the United States. We also process most Visa transactions where the issuer and the merchant are located in different countries, referred to as cross-border transactions. In many countries outside the United States, domestic transactions may be processed outside of our systems, generally by government-controlled payments networks, our clients, independent companies or joint ventures owned in whole or in part by our clients.

We perform clearing and settlement through VisaNet for transactions involving an issuer that is located in Visa Europe’s region and an acquirer that is located in the rest of the world, or vice versa. In addition, we provided clearing and settlement services for Visa transactions occurring entirely within Visa Europe’s region before Visa Europe substantially deployed its own processing system in fiscal 2010. The impact to our consolidated financial results as a result of this deployment was not material. Visa Europe authorizes transactions for its members through its own processing system.

Other Value-Added Processing Services

We offer a range of other value-added services in certain countries, including risk management, debit issuer processing, loyalty services, dispute management and value-added information services.

Risk Management Services. We provide clients in certain countries with a number of value-added risk-management services. These services, including Visa Advanced Authorization, include preventive, monitoring, investigative and predictive tools, which are intended to mitigate and help eliminate fraud at the cardholder and merchant level.

Issuer Processing Services. Visa Debit Processing Services (DPS) provides comprehensive issuer processing services for participating U.S. issuers of Visa debit, prepaid and ATM payment products. In addition to core issuer authorization processing, DPS offers card management services, exception processing, PIN and ATM network gateways, call center services, fraud detection services and ATM terminal driving. Visa Processing Service (VPS) provides credit, debit and prepaid issuer processing services, including multicurrency processing functionality, outside the United States.

Loyalty Services. We offer loyalty services, such as the Visa Incentive Network and Visa Extras, which allow our clients to differentiate their Visa program offerings, enhance the attractiveness of their Visa payment programs and strengthen their relationships with cardholders and merchants.

Dispute Management Services. We manage Visa Resolve Online, an automated web-based service that allows our clients’ back-office analysts and client service representatives to manage and resolve Visa transaction disputes more efficiently than with paper-based processes.

Value-Added Information Services. We provide our clients with a range of additional information-based business analytics and applications, as well as the transaction data and associated infrastructure required to support them.

Additionally, through our CyberSource-branded solutions, we provide technology and services that make it easier for eCommerce merchants to accept, process and reconcile payments, manage fraud, and safeguard payment security online. CyberSource brings these payment management solutions to market on two platforms: CyberSource Enterprise services, targeting medium and large-sized enterprise businesses, and Authorize.Net, targeting smaller businesses with less than $3 million in annual online sales.

 

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Product Platforms

We offer a broad range of product platforms that enable our clients to build differentiated, competitive payment programs for their consumer, business, government and merchant clients. Our principal payment platforms enable credit, charge, deferred debit, debit and prepaid payments, as well as cash access for consumers, businesses and government entities. Our payment platforms are offered under our Visa, Visa Electron, Interlink and PLUS brands.

Consumer Credit

Our consumer credit product platforms allow our issuers to offer deferred payment and financing products that can be customized to meet the needs of all consumer segments. Our baseline consumer credit platform is marketed to our issuers as Visa Classic. In addition, we offer premium credit platforms. These enable our issuers to tailor programs to consumers requiring higher credit lines or enhanced benefits, such as loyalty programs. Our premium consumer credit platforms are marketed to issuers, and in some cases, to cardholders, as Visa Gold, Visa Platinum, Visa Signature, Visa Signature Preferred and Visa Infinite.

Consumer Deposit Access

Our deposit access product platforms enable our issuers to offer consumer payment and cash access products that draw on consumers’ deposit accounts, such as checking, demand deposit, asset or other pre-funded accounts.

Consumer Debit. Our primary consumer debit platform in the United States and many other countries uses the Visa brand mark. Our clients in Asia Pacific (AP), Latin America and Caribbean (LAC), and Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMEA), can use the Visa Electron debit platform, which requires all transactions initiated from the card to be authorized electronically. It is primarily used by issuers offering payment programs to higher risk client segments or in countries where electronic authorization is less prevalent. In the United States, we also provide the Interlink debit product platform, which generally requires a cardholder to enter a personal identification number (PIN), for authentication. Interlink may be enabled through an acceptance mark on a Visa debit card or issued as a standalone debit card.

Prepaid. Our prepaid product platform enables issuers to offer products that access a pre-funded account, allowing cardholders to enjoy the convenience and security of a payment card in lieu of cash or checks. Our prepaid platform includes gift, travel, youth, payroll, money transfer, corporate incentive, insurance reimbursement and government benefits cards.

Cash Access. Our clients can provide global cash access to their cardholders by issuing products accepted at Visa and PLUS branded ATMs. Most Visa and Visa Electron branded cards offer cash access at ATMs, as well as at branches of our participating financial institution clients. The PLUS brand may also be included on issuers’ non-Visa branded cards to offer international cash access as a complement to domestic cash access services.

Commercial

Our commercial product platforms enable small businesses, medium and large companies, and government organizations to streamline payment processes, manage total spend, access information reporting, automate their supply chain and reduce administrative costs.

Small Businesses. The Visa Business credit and debit platforms provide small businesses with cash flow tools, purchasing savings, rewards and management reporting. Visa Business Electron is an electronic authorization platform used in many countries outside North America.

 

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Large and Medium Companies. The Visa Corporate platform offers payment options primarily for employee travel and entertainment charges, including cash advances, and provides detailed transaction data as well as information and expense management tools. The Visa Purchasing platform provides card and non-card electronic payment products that allow companies to easily procure goods and services, while streamlining resource- and paper-intensive purchase order and invoice processing. Through Syncada, our joint venture with US Bank, we market an integrated invoice processing, payment and financing platform for financial institutions to offer to their corporate and government commercial clients around the world.

Government Organizations. In addition to the products mentioned above, Visa offers government organizations unique information-and expense-management tools, employee-fraud-and misuse-management tools and strategic sourcing tools for their card programs. In certain countries, Visa offers specialized commercial products for specific government-sponsored programs, typically targeting agriculture, small-business, freight or construction loan programs.

Product Platform Innovation

Our fundamental approach to innovation focuses on enhancing our current product platforms and extending the utility of our products and services to new merchant segments and geographies. We invest in innovation because we believe we can drive more secure, accessible and versatile payment program options for clients, merchants and consumers. We focus on new payment channels, card technologies, payment account access devices and authentication methods, and have recently made significant investments in the development of: eCommerce payment platforms; contact and contactless chip cards and devices; card product enhancements; authentication and security technologies and platforms; and money transfer.

In addition to the eCommerce (CyberSource) development mentioned above, we announced the following innovative offerings:

 

   

we launched an online shopping tool in the U.S., Rightcliq by Visa, which improves the way consumers browse and compare products, checkout on merchant websites, and track packages to their doorstep.

 

   

working with Bancomer Transfer Services, Inc., a subsidiary of BBVA Bancomer, S.A., we launched a money transfer service that will provide an alternative for consumers that send money from the U.S. to select countries in Latin America and Asia.

 

   

we partnered with DeviceFidelity to launch a solution that combines Visa’s contactless payment technology, Visa payWave, and DeviceFidelity’s In2Pay technology to transform a mobile phone with a microSD memory slot into a mobile contactless payment device.

Payments Network Management

We devote significant resources to ensure that Visa is the payments network of choice for clients, merchants and cardholders. We seek to accomplish this by promoting our brand through marketing and sponsorship activities, increasing acceptance of Visa cards around the world and ensuring that the system operates reliably and securely for all of our network participants.

Brand Management and Promotion, and Corporate Reputation

We engage in a variety of activities designed to maintain and enhance the value of our brand, taking a targeted, analytical approach tailored by geography to achieve our growth and business objectives. We combine advertising, sponsorships, promotions, public relations and, increasingly, social media to create programs that build active preference for products carrying our brand, promote product

 

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usage, increase product acceptance and support cardholder acquisition and retention. For merchants, we work to ensure that the Visa brand represents timely and guaranteed payment, as well as a way to increase sales. For our clients, our marketing program is designed to support their card issuance, activation and usage efforts while complementing and enhancing the value of their own brands.

We establish global marketing relationships to promote the Visa brand and to allow clients to conduct marketing programs in conjunction with major sporting and entertainment events. For instance, we have been the exclusive payment card sponsor for the Olympic Games since 1986 and recently extended the sponsorship through 2020. We are also one of six FIFA partners, which provides us with worldwide exclusive access to the FIFA World Cup™ and more than 40 other FIFA competitions through 2014. This sponsorship creates a powerful opportunity to drive business, achieve maximum exposure and improve brand lift, global reach and local relevance. In addition, we engage in marketing and sponsorship activities with other regional, national and local companies, sports leagues or events, such as the National Football League in the United States, or with associations and companies, to provide customized marketing platforms to clients in certain countries and regions.

Our merchant marketing activities bring added value to our merchant partners through the development of marketing programs customized for specific merchants and industry segments. These programs, which we develop in conjunction with merchants, generate awareness for new acceptance channels and locations and increase cardholder spending and merchant sales revenue through special offers and promotions.

In addition, we work on various fronts to maintain, enhance and protect our corporate reputation and brand. Our Corporate Responsibility program helps ensure we positively impact the lives of those in our global and local communities. We do so by focusing on promoting financial literacy and inclusion, providing humanitarian aid and community support, and engaging in responsible business practices. We continue to stress the importance of promoting an understanding of Visa’s role as a payments network and articulating the ways that digital currency can advance economic empowerment and business efficiencies. To that end, Currency of Progress, our corporate reputation campaign launched in October 2009, communicates the tangible benefits that Visa and digital currency delivers to individuals, businesses, governments and economies.

Merchant Acceptance Initiatives

We aim to maintain and expand our merchant base by focusing on the needs of merchants and consumers and enhancing our programs to increase acceptance in attractive and fast-growing segments, such as bill payment. Our efforts to address these needs include supporting the development of technological innovations, delivering value-added information services, such as the Visa Incentive Network, and evaluating potential modifications to our operating rules and interchange rates to enhance the value of our payments network compared to other forms of payment. For example, in October 2010 we began offering a global program that enables millions of face-to-face merchants to accept Visa cards for transactions of approximately US$25 or less without requiring a cardholder signature, PIN or providing a receipt, unless requested by the cardholder. This program has the potential to increase speed at the point-of-sale, enhance consumer satisfaction and deliver operating efficiencies for merchants.

We also enter into arrangements with certain merchants under which they receive monetary incentives and rebates for acceptance of products carrying our brands and increasing their payments volume of products carrying our brands or indicating a preference for our cards.

Client Standards

Rulemaking and Enforcement. In general, our clients are granted licenses to use our brands and to access our transaction processing systems. Our clients are obligated to honor our rules and

 

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standards through agreements with, and in certain cases non-equity membership interests in, our subsidiaries. These rules and standards relate to such matters as the use of our brands and trademarks; the standards, design and features of payment cards, devices and programs; merchant acquiring activities, including acceptance standards applicable to merchants; use of agents; disputes between members; risk management; guaranteed settlement; client financial failures and allocation of losses among clients.

We establish dispute management procedures between clients relating to specific transactions. For example, after a transaction is presented to an issuer, the issuer may determine that the transaction is invalid for a variety of reasons, including fraud. If the issuer believes there is a defect in a transaction, the issuer may return the transaction to the acquirer, an action termed a “chargeback.” We enforce rules relating to chargebacks and maintain a dispute resolution process with respect to chargeback disputes.

Credit Risk Management. We indemnify our clients for any settlement loss suffered due to another client’s failure to fund its daily settlement obligations. In certain instances, we may indemnify clients even in situations in which a transaction is not processed by our system. No material loss related to settlement risk has been incurred in recent years.

To manage our exposure in the event our clients fail to fund their settlement obligations, we have a credit risk policy with a formalized set of credit standards and risk control measures. We regularly evaluate clients with significant settlement exposure to assess risk. In certain instances, we may require a client to post collateral or provide other guarantees. If a client becomes unable or unwilling to meet its obligations, we are able to draw upon such collateral or guarantee in order to minimize any potential loss. We may also apply other risk control measures, such as blocking the authorization and settlement of transactions, limiting the use of certain types of agents, prohibiting initiation of acquiring relationships with certain high-risk merchants or suspending or terminating a client’s rights to participate in our payments network. The exposure to settlement losses is accounted for as a settlement risk guarantee. The fair value of the settlement risk guarantee is estimated using our proprietary model. Key inputs to the model include the probability of clients becoming insolvent, statistically derived loss factors based on historical experience and estimated settlement exposures at period end.

Payment System Integrity

The integrity of our payments system is affected by fraudulent activity and other illegal uses of our products. Fraud is most often committed in connection with counterfeit cards or card-not-present transactions using stolen account information resulting from security breaches of systems that store cardholder or account data, including systems operated by merchants, financial institutions and other third-party data processors.

Our fraud detection and prevention offerings include:

 

   

Verified by Visa, a global Internet authentication product, which permits cardholders to authenticate themselves to their issuing financial institution using a unique personal code;

 

   

Visa Advanced Authorization, which adds additional fraud detection capability by adding real-time risk scores to authorization messages;

 

   

Chip technologies that have been demonstrated to reduce the incidence of counterfeit card fraud at point-of-sale locations; and

 

   

CyberSource’s globally proven Decision Manager solution, which provides access to over 200 validation tests to assess the legitimacy of card-not-present orders.

 

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We work with all participants in the payment system to ensure any entity that transmits, processes or stores sensitive card information takes necessary steps to secure that data and protect cardholders. For example, Visa mandates protection of PIN data through use of the Triple Data Encryption Standard and works with the payments industry to manage the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS). There has been significant progress in growing industry adoption of PCI DSS with more than 95 percent of the largest U.S. merchants validating compliance annually.

Interchange Reimbursement Fees

Interchange represents a transfer of value between the financial institutions participating in an open-loop payments network such as ours. On purchase transactions, interchange reimbursement fees are paid to issuers by acquirers in connection with transactions initiated with cards in our payments system. We set default interchange rates in the United States and other regions. In certain jurisdictions, interchange rates are subject to government regulation. Although we administer the collection and remittance of interchange reimbursement fees through the settlement process, we do not receive any portion of interchange reimbursement fees. Interchange reimbursement fees are often the largest single component of the costs that acquirers charge merchants in connection with the acceptance of payment cards.

We believe that default interchange reimbursement fees are an important driver of system volume and value, and promote the efficient operation of our payments network by enabling both the issuer and the acquirer to understand the economics of a given transaction before entering into it, and by giving our clients an alternative to negotiating transfer pricing with each other. By establishing and modifying default interchange rates in response to marketplace conditions and strategic demands, we seek to ensure a competitive value proposition for transactions using our cards in order to encourage electronic transactions and to maximize participation in the Visa payments system by issuers and acquirers and, ultimately, consumers and merchants. We believe that proper management of interchange rates benefits consumers, merchants, our financial institution clients and us by promoting the overall growth of our payments network in competition with other payment card systems and other forms of payment, and by creating incentives for innovation, enhanced data quality and security.

Interchange reimbursement fees and related practices have come to the attention of, or have been or are being reviewed by, regulatory authorities and/or central banks in a number of jurisdictions, including, for example, Australia, Canada, Brazil and South Africa. In the United States in particular, the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was signed into law on July 21, 2010 and will impact interchange fees related to debit card products. We are currently devoting substantial management and financial resources to explain the importance of and defend interchange reimbursement fee practices in these geographies. See Item 1A—Risk Factors—Interchange reimbursement fees and related practices are subject to significant legal and regulatory scrutiny worldwide, and resulting regulations may have a material adverse impact on our revenues, our prospects for future growth and our overall business, and Item 8—Financial Statements and Supplementary Data—Note 22—Legal Matters elsewhere in this report.

Merchant Discount Rates. Merchants do not pay interchange reimbursement fees. A merchant’s cost of acceptance is determined by its acquirer and is called a merchant discount or merchant discount rate. The merchant discount typically covers the costs that acquirers incur for participation in open-loop payments networks, including those relating to interchange, and compensates them for various other services they provide to merchants. Merchant discount rates and other merchant fees are set by our acquirers without our involvement and by agreement with their merchant clients and are established in competition with other acquirers, other payment card systems and other forms of payment. We do not establish or regulate merchant discount rates or any other fees charged by our acquirers.

 

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Government Regulation

General. Government regulation affects key aspects of our business. We are subject to regulation of the payments industry in many countries in which our cards are used. Our clients are also subject to numerous regulations applicable to banks and other financial institutions in the United States and elsewhere, and consequently such regulations affect our business. In recent years, our business has come under increasing regulatory scrutiny.

Network Exclusivity and Routing. Issues relating to network exclusivity and to interchange fees associated with open-loop payments systems such as ours are being reviewed or challenged in various jurisdictions in which our cards are used. Most notably, the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act recently enacted in the United States includes provisions that will regulate the selection of payment networks by issuers and the routing of debit transactions by retailers. This may result in the routing of debit transactions onto competitive networks, potentially reducing the processing fees we earn on debit transactions.

Interchange Fees. The U.S. Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act also established regulation and oversight by the U.S. Federal Reserve Board of debit interchange rates and certain other network industry practices. In addition, the Federal Reserve now has the power to regulate network fees to the extent necessary to prevent evasion of the new rules on interchange rates. Although we administer the collection and remittance of interchange reimbursement fees through the settlement process, we generally do not receive any portion of the interchange reimbursement fees. Interchange reimbursement fees are often the largest component of the costs that acquirers charge merchants in connection with the acceptance of payment cards. Interchange reimbursement fees are an important driver of system volume.

Interchange fees and related practices also have been or are being reviewed by regulatory authorities and/or central banks in a number of jurisdictions. Most notably:

 

   

The Reserve Bank of Australia, or RBA, has promulgated regulations under legislation enacted to give it powers over payments systems. One of the regulations controls the costs that can be considered in setting interchange reimbursement fees for Visa credit and debit cards, but it does not regulate the merchant discount charged by any payment system, including competing closed-loop payments systems. The RBA has concluded that conditions have not yet been met for removal of interchange regulation and so will continue regulatory oversight of interchange.

 

   

In June 2009, the Canadian Senate issued a report with the non-binding recommendations that debit interchange be set at zero for three years, that merchant surcharging be permitted in Canada and that rules requiring that Visa-accepting merchants honor all cards be modified. Canada’s Competition Bureau has opened a civil inquiry to review interchange and certain Visa rules, including those relating to surcharging and honoring cards. In addition, the Canadian Ministry of Finance has proposed a voluntary “Code of Conduct” on related issues for payment card industry participants in Canada.

 

   

In March 2009, the Central Bank of Brazil issued a joint report that criticized, amongst other things, Brazil’s current acquiring structure, Visa’s no-surcharge rule, and the current system of setting interchange rates. See also Note 22—Legal Matters to our consolidated financial statements included in Item 8 in this report.

Data Protection and Information Security. Aspects of our operations and business are subject to privacy regulation in the United States and elsewhere. For example, in the United States, our clients and we are respectively subject to Federal Trade Commission and federal banking agency information safeguarding requirements under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. The Federal Trade Commission’s

 

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information safeguarding rules require us to develop, implement and maintain a written, comprehensive information security program containing safeguards that are appropriate for our size and complexity, the nature and scope of our activities, and the sensitivity of any cardholder information at issue. Our financial institution clients in the United States are subject to similar requirements under the guidelines issued by the federal banking agencies. As part of their compliance with the requirements, each of our U.S. clients is expected to have a program in place for responding to unauthorized access to, or use of, cardholder information that could result in substantial harm or inconvenience to cardholders. In addition, a large number of U.S. states have enacted security breach legislation, requiring varying levels of consumer notification in the event of a security breach.

Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism. Most jurisdictions in which our clients and we operate have implemented, amended or have pending anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism regulations. We are subject to the provisions of the U.S.A. PATRIOT Act, which requires the creation and implementation of comprehensive anti-money laundering programs. In general, this requires that we make certain efforts to prevent the use of our payments system to facilitate money laundering and the financing of terrorist activities, including, for example, the designation of a compliance officer, training of employees, adoption of internal policies and procedures to mitigate money laundering risks, and periodic audits.

We are also subject to regulations imposed by the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, restricting financial dealings with Cuba, Iran, Myanmar and Sudan, as well as financial dealings with certain restricted third parties, such as identified money laundering fronts for terrorists or narcotics traffickers. While we prohibit financial institutions that are domiciled in those countries or are restricted parties from being Visa members, many Visa International members are non-U.S. financial institutions, and thus are not subject to OFAC restrictions. Accordingly, our payments network may be used with respect to transactions in or involving countries or parties subject to OFAC-administered sanctions.

Further, certain U.S. states have enacted legislation regarding investments by pension funds and other retirement systems in companies that have business activities or contacts with countries identified as terrorist-sponsoring states and similar legislation may be pending in other states. As a result, pension funds and other retirement systems may be subject to reporting requirements with respect to investments in companies such as ours or may be subject to limits or prohibitions with respect to those investments.

Issuer Practice Legislation and Regulation. The Board of Governors of the U.S. Federal Reserve System is in the process of implementing the Credit CARD Act enacted in May 2009. The Credit CARD Act will have a significant impact on the disclosures made by our clients and on our clients’ account terms and business practices. The Credit CARD Act and its implementing regulations will make it more difficult for credit card issuers to price credit cards for future credit risk and will have a significant effect on the pricing, credit allocation, and business models of most major credit card issuers. The law could reduce credit availability, or increase the cost of credit to cardholders, possibly affecting Visa transaction volume and revenues.

The Credit CARD Act also includes provisions that impose limits and restrictions on certain prepaid (or “pay before”) card products, including those imposed on fees. The statutory provisions and implementing regulations may diminish the attractiveness of these products to our clients and may consequently adversely affect transaction volumes and revenues.

The Board of Governors of the U.S. Federal Reserve System has also adopted regulations on overdraft fees imposed in connection with ATM and debit card transactions. These regulations will have the effect of significantly reducing overdraft fees our clients may charge in connection with debit card programs. This may diminish the attractiveness of debit card programs to our clients and may adversely affect transaction volumes and revenues.

 

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Governments in certain countries have acted, or could act, to provide resources or protection to selected national payment card providers or national payment processing providers to support domestic competitors, to displace us from, or prevent us from entering into, or substantially restrict us from participating in, particular geographies. For example, our financial institution clients in China may not issue cards carrying our brands for domestic use in China. Governments in certain other countries have considered similar restrictions from time to time.

Financial Industry Regulation. The U.S. Federal Financial Institution Examination Council periodically reviews certain of our operations in the United States to ensure our compliance with applicable data integrity and security requirements, as well as other requirements applicable to us because of our role as a service provider to financial institutions. In recent years, the federal banking regulators in the United States have adopted a series of regulatory measures intended to require more conservative accounting, greater risk management and higher capital requirements for bank credit card activities, particularly in the case of banks that focus on subprime cardholders.

In the United States, regulators and the U.S. Congress have increased their scrutiny of our clients’ pricing and underwriting standards relating to credit. For example, a number of regulations have been issued to implement the U.S. Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act. One such regulation pertaining to risk-based pricing could have a significant impact on the application process for credit cards and result in increased costs of issuance and/or a decrease in the flexibility of card issuers to set the price of credit.

The U.S. Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act created a new independent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau within the Federal Reserve System. The bureau will assume responsibility for most federal consumer protection laws in the area of financial services and will have new authorities with respect to consumer issues, including those pertaining to us to some extent. The creation of the bureau and its actions may make payment card transactions less attractive to card issuers.

Government regulators may determine that we are a systemically important payments system and impose settlement risk management requirements on us, including new settlement procedures or other operational rules to address credit and operational risks or new criteria for client participation and merchant access to our payments system. In addition, outside of the United States, a number of jurisdictions have implemented legal frameworks to regulate their domestic payments systems. For example, regulators in Australia, Mexico, Colombia, India, Singapore and Malaysia have received statutory authority to regulate certain aspects of the payments systems in those countries.

Regulation of Internet Transactions. Many jurisdictions in which our clients and we operate are considering, or are expected to consider, legislation with regard to Internet transactions, and in particular with regard to choice of law, the legality of certain eCommerce transactions, the collection of applicable taxes and copyright and trademark infringement. In October 2006, the U.S. Congress enacted legislation requiring the coding and blocking of payments for certain types of Internet gambling transactions. The legislation applies to payment system participants, including Visa and our U.S. clients, and compliance was required by June 1, 2010. These federal rules require us and our clients to implement compliance programs that could increase our costs, decrease our transaction volumes or both.

In addition, the U.S. Congress continues its consideration of regulatory initiatives in the areas of Internet prescription drug purchases, copyright and trademark infringement, and privacy, among others, that could impose additional compliance burdens on us and/or our clients. Some U.S. states are considering a variety of similar legislation. If implemented, these initiatives could require us or our clients to monitor, filter, restrict, or otherwise oversee various categories of payment card transactions, thereby increasing our costs or decreasing our transaction volumes.

 

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Various regulatory agencies also continue to examine a wide variety of issues, including identity theft, account management guidelines, privacy, disclosure rules, security and marketing that would affect our clients directly. These new requirements and developments may affect our clients’ ability to extend credit by using payment cards, which could decrease our transaction volumes. In some circumstances, new regulations could have the effect of limiting our clients’ ability to offer new types of payment programs or restricting their ability to offer our existing programs such as stored value cards.

Intellectual Property

We rely on a combination of patent, trademark, copyright and trade secret laws in the United States and other jurisdictions, as well as confidentiality procedures and contractual provisions, to protect our proprietary technology.

We own a number of valuable trademarks and designs, which are essential to our business, including Visa, Interlink, PLUS, Visa Electron, the “Winged V” design, the “Dove” design and the “Bands Design—Blue, White & Gold.” We also own numerous other valuable trademarks and designs covering various brands, products, programs and services. Through agreements with our clients, we authorize and monitor the use of our trademarks in connection with their participation in our payments network.

In addition, we own a number of patents and patent applications relating to payments solutions, transaction processing, security systems and other matters.

Competition

We compete in the global payment marketplace against all forms of payment, including paper-based forms (principally cash and checks), card-based payments (including credit, charge, debit, ATM, prepaid, private-label and other types of general-purpose and limited-use cards) and other electronic payments (including wire transfers, electronic benefits transfers, automatic clearing house, or ACH, payments and electronic data interchange).

Within the general purpose payment card industry, we face substantial and intense competition worldwide in the provision of payments services to financial institution clients and their cardholder merchants. The leading global card brands in the general purpose payment card industry are Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Diners Club. Other general-purpose card brands are more concentrated in specific geographic regions, such as JCB in Japan and Discover in the United States. In certain countries, our competitors have leading positions, such as China UnionPay in China, which is the sole domestic inter-bank bankcard processor and operates the sole domestic bankcard acceptance mark in China due to local regulation. We also compete against private-label cards, which can generally be used to make purchases solely at the sponsoring retail store, gasoline retailer or other merchant.

In the debit card market segment, Visa and MasterCard are the primary global brands. In addition, our Interlink and Visa Electron brands compete with Maestro, owned by MasterCard, and various regional and country-specific debit network brands. In addition to our PLUS brand, the primary cash access card brands are Cirrus, owned by MasterCard, and many of the online debit network brands referenced above. In many countries, local debit brands are the primary brands, and our brands are used primarily to enable cross-border transactions, which typically constitute a small portion of overall transaction volume.

We increasingly face competition from emerging players in the payment space, many of which are non-financial institution networks that have departed from the more traditional “bank-centric” business model. The emergence of these competitive networks has primarily been via the online channel with a focus on eCommerce and/or mobile technologies.

 

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Based on payments volume, total volume, number of transactions and number of cards in circulation, Visa is the largest retail electronic payments network in the world. The following chart compares our network with those of our major general-purpose payment network competitors for calendar year 2009:

 

Company

   Payments
Volume
     Total
Volume
     Total
Transactions
     Cards  
     (billions)      (billions)      (billions)      (millions)  

Visa Inc.(1)

   $ 2,793       $ 4,423         62.2         1,808   

MasterCard

     1,852         2,454         32.1         966   

American Express

     613         620         5.1         88   

Discover

     100         109         1.7         54   

JCB

     75         83         0.8         61   

Diners Club

     25         26         0.2         7   

 

(1)

Visa Inc. figures as reported on form 8-K filed with the SEC on February 3 and April 28, 2010, respectively. Visa figures represent total volume, payments volume and cash volume, and the number of payments transactions, cash transactions, accounts and cards for products carrying the Visa, Visa Electron and Interlink brands. Card counts include PLUS proprietary cards. Payments volume represents the aggregate dollar amount of purchases made with cards carrying the Visa, Visa Electron and Interlink brands for the relevant period. Total volume represents payments volume plus cash volume. The data presented is reported quarterly by Visa’s clients on their operating certificates and is subject to verification by Visa. On occasion, clients may update previously submitted information.

Sources: MasterCard, American Express, JCB and Diners Club data sourced from The Nilson Report issue 946 (April 2010). Includes all consumer and commercial credit, debit and prepaid cards. Currency figures are in U.S. dollars. MasterCard excludes Maestro and Cirrus figures. American Express includes figures for third party issuers. JCB figures are for April 2008 through March 2009 and include third party issuers. Transactions are estimates. Diners Club figures are for the 12 months ended November 30, 2009. Discover data sourced from The Nilson Report issue 942 (February 2010)—U.S. data only and includes business from third party issuers.

For more information on the concentration of our operating revenues and other financial information, see Note 15—Enterprise-wide Disclosures and Concentration of Business to our consolidated financial statements included in Item 8 of this report.

Working Capital Requirements

Payments settlement due from and due to issuing and acquiring clients generally represents our most consistent and substantial liquidity requirement, arising primarily from the payments settlement of certain credit and debit transactions and the timing of payments settlement between financial institution clients with settlement currencies other than the U.S. dollar. These settlement receivables and payables generally remain outstanding for one to two business days, consistent with standard market conventions for domestic transactions and foreign currency transactions. We maintain working capital sufficient to enable uninterrupted daily settlement. During fiscal 2010, we funded average daily net settlement receivable balances of $129 million, with the highest daily balance being $386 million.

Seasonality

We do not expect to experience any pronounced seasonality in our business. No individual quarter of fiscal 2010 or fiscal 2009 accounted for more than 30% of our fiscal 2010 or fiscal 2009 operating revenues.

 

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Employees

At September 30, 2010, we employed approximately 6,800 persons worldwide, including CyberSource. We consider our relationships with our employees to be good.

Additional Information and SEC Reports

Our corporate Internet address is http://www.corporate.visa.com. On our investor relations page, accessible through our corporate website and at http://investor.visa.com, we make available, free of charge our annual reports on Forms 10-K, our quarterly reports on Forms 10-Q, our current reports on Forms 8-K and amendments to those reports as soon as reasonably practicable after they are electronically filed with, or furnished to, the SEC. The information contained on our website, including the information contained on our investor relations website, is not incorporated by reference into this report or any other report filed with, or furnished to, the SEC.

 

ITEM 1A. Risk Factors

Regulatory Risks

Regulations that prohibit us from requiring our customers to use only our network may decrease the number of transactions we process, materially and adversely affecting our financial condition, revenues, results of operations, prospects for future growth and overall business.

We have agreements with some issuers under which they agree to issue certain payment cards that use only the Visa network or receive incentives if they do so. In addition, certain issuers of some debit products choose to include only the Visa network. We refer to these various practices as network exclusivity. In addition, certain network or issuer rules or practices may be interpreted as limiting the routing options of merchants when multiple debit networks co-reside on Visa debit cards. Increased regulatory scrutiny in the United States has already resulted in laws that will limit our and issuers’ ability to impose rules for, or choose various forms of, network exclusivity and preferred routing in the debit area. See—The U.S. Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act may have a material adverse impact on our revenues, our prospects for future growth and our overall business. These restrictions and future regulations like them in the United States and elsewhere have the potential to cause a material decrease in the number of transactions we process. In order to retain that transaction volume, we might have to reduce the fees we charge to issuers or acquirers, or we might have to increase the payments and other incentives we provide to issuers or acquirers or directly to merchants. Any of these eventualities could have a material, adverse affect on our financial condition, revenues, results of operations, prospects for future growth and overall business.

Interchange reimbursement fees and related practices have been receiving significant legal and regulatory scrutiny worldwide, and the resulting regulations may have a material adverse impact on our financial condition, revenues, results of operations, prospects for future growth and overall business.

Interchange represents a transfer of value between the financial institutions participating in a payments network such as ours. In connection with transactions initiated with cards in our payments system, interchange reimbursement fees are typically paid to issuers, the financial institutions that issue Visa cards to cardholders. They are typically paid by acquirers, the financial institutions that offer Visa network connectivity and payments acceptance services to merchants. We refer to a system like ours, in which a payment network intermediates between the issuer and the acquirer, as an open-loop system.

 

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We generally do not receive any portion of interchange reimbursement fees. They are, however, a factor on which we compete with other payments providers and therefore an important determinant of the volume of transactions we process over our network. Consequently, changes to these fees can have a substantial impact on our revenues. We have historically set default interchange reimbursement fees in the United States and other countries. However, in certain jurisdictions, interchange rates and related practices are subject to increased government regulation. Increased regulatory scrutiny in the United States has already resulted in limitations on our ability to establish default interchange rates in the debit area. See—The U.S. Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act may have a material adverse impact on our revenues, our prospects for future growth and our overall business. In addition, interchange rates have become subject to increased scrutiny elsewhere, and regulatory authorities and central banks in a number of jurisdictions have reviewed or are reviewing them. These include Australia, Canada, Brazil and South Africa.

If we cannot set default interchange rates at optimal levels, issuers and acquirers may find our payments system unattractive. This could materially lower overall transaction volumes. It could also materially increase the attraction of closed-loop payments systems—those with direct connections to both merchants and consumers—and other forms of payment. In addition, issuers could begin to charge higher fees to consumers. This would make our card programs less desirable and reduce our transaction volumes and profitability. Acquirers could elect to charge higher discount rates to merchants, regardless of the level of Visa interchange, leading merchants not to accept cards for payment or to steer Visa cardholders to alternate payment systems. In addition, issuers and acquirers could attempt to decrease the expense of their card programs by seeking incentives from us or a reduction in the fees that we charge. Any of the foregoing could have a substantial, adverse impact on our financial condition, revenues, results of operations, prospects for future growth and overall business.

The U.S. Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act may have a material, adverse effect on our financial condition, revenues, results of operations, prospects for future growth and overall business.

The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act recently enacted in the United States includes provisions that will regulate the selection of payment networks by issuers and the routing of debit transactions by retailers. This may result in the routing of debit transactions onto competing networks, potentially reducing the processing fees we earn on debit transactions.

The legislation also establishes regulation and oversight by the U.S. Federal Reserve Board of debit interchange rates and certain other network industry practices. In addition, the Federal Reserve now has the power to regulate network fees to the extent necessary to prevent evasion of the new rules on interchange rates.

The act also created a new independent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau within the Federal Reserve System. The bureau will assume responsibility for most federal consumer protection laws in the area of financial services and will have new authorities with respect to consumer issues. The bureau’s actions may make payment card transactions less attractive to card issuers. This could result in a reduction in our payments volume and revenues.

The new legislation may have a material, adverse impact on our financial condition, revenues, results of operations, prospects for future growth and overall business. Failure by our clients or by us successfully to adjust our strategies to compete in the new environment would increase this impact.

 

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New regulations in one jurisdiction or of one product segment may lead to new regulations in other jurisdictions or of other products.

Regulators around the world increasingly look at each other’s approaches to the regulation of the payments industry. Consequently, a development in any one country, state or region may influence regulatory approaches in other countries, states or regions. This includes the recent U.S. Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Similarly, new laws and regulations in a country, state or region involving one product segment may cause lawmakers there to extend the regulations to another product. For example, regulations like those affecting debit payments could eventually spread to regulate credit.

As a result, the risks created by any one new law or regulation are magnified by the potential they have to be replicated, affecting our business in another place or involving another product segment. These include matters like interchange rates, network exclusivity and preferred routing agreements. Conversely, if widely varying regulations come into existence worldwide, we may have difficulty adjusting our products, services, fees and other important aspects of our business, with the same effect. Either of these eventualities could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Government actions may prevent us from competing effectively against providers of domestic payments services in certain countries, materially and adversely affecting our ability to maintain or increase our revenues.

Governments in certain countries provide resources or protection to selected national payment card and processing providers. These governments may take this action in order to support these providers. They may also take this action to keep us from entering these countries, to force us to leave, or to restrict substantially our activities there. For example, China, a significant emerging market, has increasingly tightened its rules requiring use of its payment system for domestic transactions. Additionally, governments in certain countries are considering, or may consider, regulatory requirements that mandate processing of domestic payments entirely in that country. This would prevent us from utilizing our global processing capabilities for our clients. Our efforts to effect change in these countries may not succeed. This could adversely affect our ability to maintain or increase our revenues and extend our global brands.

Regulation in the areas of consumer privacy and data use and security could decrease the number of payment cards issued, our payments volume and our revenues.

Recently, privacy, data use and security have received heightened legislative and regulatory focus in the United States (at the federal and state level) and in other countries. For example, in many jurisdictions consumers must be notified in the event of a data breach. These measures may materially increase our costs and our clients’ costs. They may also decrease the number of our cards our clients issue. This would materially and adversely affect our profitability. In addition, our failure, or the failure of our clients, to comply with these laws and regulations could result in fines, sanctions, litigation and damage to our global reputation and our brands.

If government regulators determine that we are a “systemically important payments system,” we may have to change our settlement procedures or other operations, making it costlier to operate our business and reducing our operational flexibility.

A number of international initiatives are underway to maintain financial stability by strengthening financial infrastructure. The Committee on Payment and Settlement Systems of the central banks of the Group of Ten countries has developed a set of core principles for “systemically important payment systems.” Government regulators in the United States or elsewhere may determine that we are a

 

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systemically important payments system and impose settlement risk-management requirements on us. These could include new settlement procedures or other operational rules to address credit and operational risks. They could also include new criteria for member participation and merchant access to our payments system. Any of these developments could increase the cost of operating our business.

Recent increased global regulatory focus on the payments industry may result in costly new compliance burdens on our clients and on us, leading to increased costs and decreased payments volume and revenues.

Regulation of the payments industry has increased significantly in recent years. Examples include:

 

   

Anti-Money-Laundering Regulation. The U.S.A. PATRIOT Act and similar laws in other jurisdictions require us to maintain a comprehensive anti-money laundering program;

 

   

U.S. Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control Regulation. Regulations imposed by the U.S. Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC, restrict us from dealing with certain countries and parties considered to be connected with money laundering, terrorism or narcotics. Non-U.S. Visa International members may not be similarly restricted, so our payments system may be used for transactions in or involving countries or parties subject to OFAC-administered sanctions, potentially subjecting us to penalties, reputational damage or loss of business;

 

   

Regulation of the Price of Credit. Many jurisdictions in which our cards are used have new or proposed regulations that could increase the costs of card issuance or decrease the flexibility of card issuers to charge interest rates and fees on credit card accounts. These include the Credit CARD Act and proposed regulations under it. They also include proposed changes to the Federal Truth in Lending Act, which, if implemented along with regulations required to be promulgated under the Credit CARD Act, could result in a decrease in our payments volume and revenues;

 

   

Regulation of Internet Transactions. Proposed legislation in various jurisdictions may make it less desirable or more costly to complete Internet transactions using our cards by affecting the legality of those transactions, the law that governs them, their taxation and the allocation of intellectual property rights; and

 

   

Safety and Soundness Regulation. Recent federal banking regulations may make some financial institutions less attracted to becoming an issuer of our cards, because they may be subject to more conservative accounting procedures, increased risk management or higher capital requirements.

Complying with these and other regulations may increase our costs. Similarly, the impact of such regulations on our clients may reduce the volume of payments we process. Moreover, such regulations could limit the types of products and services that we offer, the countries in which our cards are used and the types of cardholders and merchants who can obtain or accept our cards. Any of these occurrences could materially and adversely affect our business, prospects for future growth, financial condition and results of operations.

Litigation Risks

A finding of liability in the interchange litigation may result in substantial damages.

Since 2005, approximately 55 class actions and individual complaints have been filed on behalf of merchants against us, MasterCard and/or other defendants, including certain financial institutions that issue Visa-branded payment cards and acquire Visa-branded payment transactions in the U.S. We refer to this as the interchange litigation. Among other antitrust allegations, the plaintiffs allege that

 

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Visa’s setting of default interchange rates violated federal and state antitrust laws. The lawsuits have been transferred to a multidistrict litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

The plaintiffs in the interchange litigation seek damages for alleged overcharges in merchant discount fees as well as injunctive and other relief. The consolidated class action complaint alleges that the plaintiffs estimate that damages will range in the tens of billions of dollars. Because these lawsuits were brought under the U.S. federal antitrust laws, any actual damages will be trebled, and we may be subject to joint and several liability among the defendants if liability is established. This could significantly magnify the effect of any adverse judgment.

The interchange litigation is part of the covered litigation that our retrospective responsibility plan is intended to address. The retrospective responsibility plan may not, however, adequately insulate us from the impact of settlements of, or judgments in, the interchange litigation. Failure to successfully defend or settle the interchange litigation would result in liability that, to the extent not covered by our retrospective responsibility plan, could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows, or, in certain circumstances, even cause us to become insolvent. In addition, even if our retrospective responsibility plan covered our direct financial exposure, settlements or judgments involving the multidistrict litigation could include restrictions on our ability to conduct business, which could increase our cost of doing business and limit our prospects for future growth. See—Our retrospective responsibility plan may not adequately insulate us from the impact of settlements and judgments in the covered litigation and will not insulate us from other pending or future litigation, and See Note 22—Legal Matters to our consolidated financial statements included in Item 8 in this report.

Our retrospective responsibility plan may not adequately insulate us from the impact of settlements or final judgments.

Our retrospective responsibility plan addresses monetary liabilities from settlements of, or final judgments in, the covered litigation, which is described in Note 22—Legal Matters to our consolidated financial statements included in Item 8 of this report. The retrospective responsibility plan consists of several related mechanisms to fund settlements or judgments in the covered litigation. These include an escrow account funded with a portion of the net proceeds of our initial public offering and potential subsequent offerings of our shares of class A common stock (or deposits of cash to the escrow account in lieu of such offerings), a loss-sharing agreement and a judgment-sharing agreement. In addition, our U.S. members are obligated to indemnify us pursuant to Visa U.S.A.’s certificate of incorporation and bylaws and in accordance with their membership agreements. These mechanisms are unique and complicated, and if we cannot use one or more of them, we could have difficulty funding the payment of a settlement or final judgment against us in a covered litigation. This could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows, or, in certain circumstances, even cause us to become insolvent.

The retrospective responsibility plan only addresses the covered litigation. The plan does not cover other pending litigation or any litigation that we may face in the future, except for cases that include claims for damages relating to the period prior to our initial public offering that are transferred for pre-trial proceedings or otherwise included in the interchange litigation. In addition, our retrospective responsibility plan covers only the potential monetary liability from settlements of, or judgments in, the covered litigation. Non-monetary settlement terms and judgments in the covered litigation may require us to modify the way we do business in the future. This could adversely affect our revenues, increase our expenses and/or limit our prospects for growth. Therefore, even if our retrospective responsibility plan adequately safeguards us from the monetary impact of settlements of, and judgments in, the covered litigation, it may not insulate us from all potential adverse consequences of them.

 

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If the settlements of our currency conversion cases do not become final and we are unsuccessful in any of the various lawsuits relating to Visa U.S.A.’s and Visa International’s currency conversion practices, our business may be materially and adversely affected.

Visa U.S.A. and Visa International are defendants in several state and federal lawsuits alleging that their currency conversion practices are or were deceptive, anti-competitive or otherwise unlawful.

On July 20, 2006, and September 14, 2006, Visa U.S.A. and Visa International entered into agreements to settle or otherwise dispose of these matters. Under the settlement agreements, Visa U.S.A. paid approximately $100 million as part of the defendants’ settlement fund for the federal actions and approximately $19 million to fund settlement of the state cases. Although the federal court has granted final approval of the settlement agreements, the settlements are subject to resolution of any appeals. If we are unsuccessful in any appellate proceeding, all of the agreements resolving the federal and state actions will terminate. If that occurs and we are unsuccessful in defending against some or all of these lawsuits on the merits, we may have to pay restitution, damages or both, and we may be required to modify our currency conversion practices. The potential amount of damages, restitution or both could be substantial. In addition, although we have substantially changed the practices at issue in these litigations, court-ordered changes to our currency conversion and cross-border transaction practices could materially and adversely affect our business. See Note 22Legal Matters to our consolidated financial statements included in Item 8 in this report.

If we are found liable in certain other pending or future lawsuits, we may have to pay substantial damages or change our business practices or pricing structure, which may have a material, adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

Like many large companies, we are a defendant in a number of civil actions and investigations alleging violations of competition/antitrust law, securities law, consumer protection law, or intellectual property law, among others. These lawsuits and investigations have been initiated by a wide variety of parties, including the U.S. Department of Justice, or the DOJ, U.S. state attorneys general, merchants, and consumers. Examples of such claims are described more fully in Note 22Legal Matters to our consolidated financial statements included in Item 8 in this report. Some lawsuits involve complex claims that are subject to substantial uncertainties and unspecified damages; therefore, we cannot ascertain the probability of loss or estimate the damages. Accordingly, we have not established allowances for such legal proceedings.

In the United States, private plaintiffs often seek class action certification in cases against us. This is particularly so in cases involving merchants and consumers, due to the size and scope of our business. If we are found liable in a large class action lawsuit, monetary damages could be significant.

If we are unsuccessful in our defense against any material current or future proceedings, we may have to pay substantial damages, limit the fees we charge or change other business practices. This could limit our payments volume and result in a material and adverse effect on our revenues, results of operations, cash flow, financial conditions, prospects for future growth and overall business and could even cause us to become insolvent.

Limitations on our business that resulted from litigation may materially and adversely affect our revenues and profitability.

Certain limitations have been placed on our business in recent years because of litigation. For example, in October 2010, we reached a settlement, subject to court approval, with the Antitrust Division of the DOJ and a number of state attorneys general relating to their investigation of certain Visa merchant acceptance practices. Under the agreement, Visa will allow U.S. merchants to offer discounts or other incentives to steer cardholders to a particular form of payment including to a specific

 

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network brand or to any card product, such as a “non-reward” Visa credit card. See Note 22—Legal Matters to our consolidated financial statements included in Item 8 of this report. The agreement does not address surcharging or the setting of default interchange, and does not preclude the DOJ from pursuing a future investigation of these or other topics. Similarly, as a result of the June 2003 settlement of a U.S. merchant lawsuit against Visa U.S.A., merchants are able to reject our consumer debit cards in the United States while still accepting other Visa-branded cards, and vice versa.

These and other limitations on our business that were the result of settlements of, or judgments in, litigation could limit the fees we charge and reduce our payments volume, which could materially and adversely affect our revenues, operating results, prospects for future growth and overall business.

Tax audits or disputes, or changes in the tax laws applicable to us, could materially increase our tax payments.

We exercise significant judgment in calculating our worldwide provision for income taxes and other tax liabilities. Although we believe our tax estimates are reasonable, many factors may decrease their accuracy. We are currently under audit by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and other tax authorities, and we may be subject to additional audits in the future. The tax authorities may disagree with our tax treatment of certain material items and thereby increase our tax liability. In addition, changes in existing laws, such as recent proposals for fundamental U.S. and international tax reform, may also increase our effective tax rate. A substantial increase in our tax burden could have a material, adverse effect on our financial results. See also Note 21Income Taxes to our consolidated financial statements included in Item 8 in this report.

Our agreement with Visa Europe includes indemnity obligations that could expose us to significant liabilities.

Under our framework agreement with Visa Europe, we indemnify it for losses resulting from all claims outside its region arising from our or their activities and relating to our or their payments business. This obligation applies even if neither we, nor any of our related parties or agents, participated in the actions giving rise to such claims. Such an obligation could expose us to significant liabilities for activities over which we have little or no control. Our retrospective responsibility plan would not cover these liabilities.

Business Risks

The intense pressure we face on client pricing may materially and adversely affect our revenues and profits.

We offer incentives to clients in order to increase payments volume, enter new market segments and expand our card base. These include up-front cash payments, fee discounts, credits, performance-based incentives, marketing support payments and other support. Over the past several years, we have increased the use of incentives such as up-front cash payments and fee discounts in many countries, including the United States. In order to stay competitive, we may have to continue to increase our use of incentives. This pressure may make the provision of certain products and services less profitable or unprofitable and materially and adversely affect our operating revenues and profitability.

Pressure on client pricing also poses indirect risks, presenting the potential for the same adverse effects. If we continue to increase incentives to our clients, we will need to find ways to offset the financial impact by increasing payments volume, the amount of fee-based services we provide or both. We may not succeed in doing so, particularly in the current regulatory environment. In addition, we benefit from long-term contracts with certain clients, including those that are large contributors to our

 

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revenue. Continued pressure on our fees could prevent us from entering into such agreements in the future on favorable terms. We may also have to modify existing agreements in order to maintain relationships or comply with regulations. Finally, increased pricing pressure enhances the importance of cost containment and productivity initiatives in areas other than those surrounding client incentives, and we may not succeed in these efforts.

Our business, financial condition and results of operations may suffer because of intense competition in our industry.

The global payments industry is intensely competitive. Our payment programs compete against all forms of payment. These include cash, checks and electronic transactions, such as wire transfers and automatic clearinghouse payments. In addition, our payment programs compete against the card-based payments systems of our competitors, such as MasterCard, American Express, Discover and private-label cards issued by merchants.

Some of our competitors may develop substantially greater financial and other resources than we have. They may offer a wider range of programs and services than we do. They may use advertising and marketing strategies that are more effective than ours, achieving broader brand recognition and merchant acceptance than we do. They may develop better security solutions or more favorable pricing arrangements than we have. They may also introduce more innovative programs and services than we provide.

Certain of our competitors operate with different business models, have different cost structures or participate selectively in different market segments. These include domestic networks in the United States, China, Canada, Australia and other countries and regions. They may ultimately prove more successful or more adaptable to new regulatory, technological and other developments. In many cases, these competitors have the support of government mandates that prohibit, limit or otherwise hinder our ability to compete for or otherwise secure transactions within those countries and regions.

Our clients can reassess their commitments to us at any time or develop their own competitive services. This is especially so given the recent U.S. Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which restricts our ability to require network exclusivity in the debit sector. Most of our larger client relationships are not exclusive. These include those with our largest clients, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America. In certain circumstances, our clients may terminate these relationships, sometimes on relatively short notice, and in many cases subject to significant early termination fees. Because a significant portion of our operating revenues is concentrated among our largest clients, our operating revenues would decline significantly if we lost one or more of them. This could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition and results of operations. See Note 15—Enterprise-wide Disclosure and Concentration of Business to our consolidated financial statements included in Item 8 in this report.

We expect there to be changes in the competitive landscape in the future. For example:

 

   

Competitors, clients and others may develop products that compete with or replace the value-added services we provide to support our transaction processing;

 

   

Parties that process our transactions in certain countries may try to eliminate our position in the payments value chain;

 

   

Participants in the payments industry may merge, form joint ventures or enter into other business combinations that strengthen their existing business propositions or create new, competing payment services; or

 

   

Competition may increase from alternative types of payment services, such as mobile payments services, online payment services and services that permit direct debit of consumer checking accounts or ACH payments.

 

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Our failure to compete effectively against any of these threats could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, revenues, results of operations, prospects for future growth and overall business.

Disintermediation from the payments value chain would harm our business.

Our position in the payments value chain underpins our business. Certain of our competitors, including American Express, Discover, private-label card networks and certain alternative payments systems, operate closed-loop payments systems, with direct connections to both merchants and consumers and no intermediaries. These competitors seek to derive competitive advantages from this business model. In addition, they have not attracted the same level of legal or regulatory scrutiny of their pricing and business practices as operators of multi-party payments systems such as ours.

We also run the risk of disintermediation by virtue of increasing bilateral agreements between entities that would rather not use a payment network for processing payments. For example, merchants could process transactions directly with issuers, or processors could process transactions directly between issuers and acquirers.

Additional consolidation in the banking industry could result in our losing business and create pressure on the fees we charge our clients, materially and adversely affecting our revenues and profitability.

The banking industry has recently undergone substantial, accelerated consolidation, which could continue. Significant ongoing consolidation in the banking industry may result in the acquisition of one or more of our largest clients by an institution with a strong relationship with one of our competitors. This could result in the acquired bank’s Visa business shifting to that competitor, resulting in a substantial loss of business to us. In addition, one or more of our clients could merge with or acquire one of our competitors, shifting its payments volume to that competitor. Any such transaction could have a material adverse effect on our business and prospects.

Continued consolidation in the banking industry would also reduce the overall number of our clients and potential clients and could increase the negotiating power of our remaining clients and potential clients. This consolidation could lead financial institutions to seek greater pricing discounts or other incentives with us. In addition, consolidation could prompt our existing clients to seek to renegotiate their pricing agreements with us to obtain more favorable terms. We may also be adversely affected by price compression should one of our clients absorb another financial institution and qualify for higher volume-based discounts on the combined volumes of the merged businesses. Pressure on the fees we charge our clients caused by such consolidation could materially and adversely affect our revenues, results of operations, prospects for future growth and overall business. In addition, the current economic environment could lead some clients to curtail or postpone near-term investments in growing their card portfolios, limit credit lines or take other actions that affect adversely the growth of our volume and revenue streams from these clients.

Merchants’ continued focus on the costs associated with payment card acceptance may result in more litigation, regulation, regulatory enforcement and incentive arrangements.

We rely in part on merchants and their relationships with our clients to maintain and expand the acceptance of our payment cards. Consolidation in the retail industry is producing a group of larger merchants that is having a significant impact on all participants in the global payments industry. Some merchants are seeking to reduce their costs associated with payment card acceptance by lobbying for new legislation and regulatory enforcement and by bringing litigation. If they continue, these efforts could materially and adversely affect our revenues, results of operations, prospects for future growth and overall business.

 

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We, along with our clients, negotiate pricing discounts and other incentive arrangements with certain large merchants to increase acceptance and usage of our payment cards. If merchants continue to consolidate, our clients and we may have to increase the incentives provided to certain larger merchants. This could materially and adversely affect our revenues, results of operations, prospects for future growth and overall business. Competitive and regulatory pressures on pricing could make it difficult to offset the cost of these incentives.

Certain financial institutions have exclusive, or nearly exclusive, relationships with our competitors to issue payment cards, and these relationships may adversely affect our ability to maintain or increase our revenues.

Certain financial institutions have longstanding exclusive, or nearly exclusive, relationships with our competitors to issue payment cards. These relationships may make it difficult or cost-prohibitive for us to conduct material amounts of business with them in order to increase our revenues. In addition, these financial institutions may be more successful and may grow more quickly than our clients, which could put us at a competitive disadvantage.

Failure to maintain relationships with our clients and others and failure of clients to provide services on our behalf could materially and adversely affect our business.

We depend and will continue to depend significantly on relationships with our clients and on their relationships with cardholders and merchants to support our programs and services. We do not issue cards, extend credit to cardholders or determine the interest rates, if any, or other fees charged to cardholders using cards that carry our brands. Each issuer determines these and most other competitive card features. In addition, we do not generally solicit merchants to accept our cards, and we do not establish the discount rates charged to merchants for card acceptance, which rates are the responsibility of acquirers. As a result, the success of our business significantly depends on the continued success and competitiveness of our clients and the strength of our relationships with them.

In many countries outside the United States, our clients or other processors authorize, clear and settle most domestic transactions using our payment cards without involving our processing systems. In addition, we do not generally have direct relationships with merchants and do not have direct relationships with cardholders. Consequently, we depend on our close working relationships with our clients to effectively manage the processing of transactions involving our cards, Our inability to control the end-to-end processing for cards carrying our brands in these countries may put us at a competitive disadvantage by limiting our ability to ensure the quality of the services supporting our brands.

In addition, we depend on third parties to provide various services on our behalf, and to the extent that third-party vendors fail to deliver services, our business and reputation could be impaired.

Our perception in the marketplace may affect our brands and reputation, which are key assets of our business.

Our brands and their attributes are key assets of our business. The ability to attract and retain consumer cardholders and corporate clients to Visa-branded products depends highly upon the external perceptions of our company and our industry. Our business may be affected by actions taken by our clients that change the perception of our brands. From time to time, our clients may take actions that we do not believe to be in the best interests of our brands, such as creditor practices that may be subject to challenge, which may materially and adversely affect our business. Further, Visa Europe has very broad latitude to operate the Visa business in and use our brands and technology within Visa Europe’s region, in which we have only limited control over the operation of the Visa business. Visa Europe is not required to spend any minimum amount of money promoting or building the Visa brands

 

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in its region, and the strength of the Visa global brands depends in part on the efforts of Visa Europe to maintain product and service recognition and quality in Europe. Finally, adverse developments with respect to our industry may also, by association, impair our reputation or result in greater regulatory or legislative scrutiny.

Unprecedented economic events in financial markets around the world have and are likely to continue to affect our clients, merchants and cardholders, resulting in a material and adverse impact on our prospects, growth, profitability, revenue and overall business.

The competitive and evolving nature of the global payments industry provides both challenges to and opportunities for the continued growth of our business. Unprecedented events that began in 2008 continue to affect the financial markets around the world. This includes decreased consumer spending, increased unemployment, deflation, increased savings, decreased debt, excess housing inventory, lowered government spending, less export activity, continued challenges in the credit environment, continued equity market volatility, additional government intervention and the uncertainty arising from new government policies. This economic turmoil has affected the economies of the United States and other mature economies in particular.

The fragility of the current situation would be exacerbated if additional negative economic developments were to arise. These could include, among other things, policy missteps, exhaustion of U.S. and other national economic stimulus packages, dramatic increases in oil prices, tax increases, economic turmoil in China, the Euro zone or Japan or a significant decline in the commercial real estate market.

Some existing clients have been placed in receivership or administration or have a significant amount of their stock owned by their governments. Many financial institutions are facing increased regulatory and governmental influence, including potential changes in laws and regulations. Many of our clients, merchants that accept our brands and cardholders who use our brands have been directly and adversely affected.

Our financial results may be negatively affected by actions taken by individual financial institutions or by governmental or regulatory bodies in response to the economic crisis. The severity of the economic environment may accelerate the timing of or increase the impact of risks to our financial performance that have historically been present. As a result, our revenue growth has been and may be negatively affected, or we may be affected, in several ways, including but not limited to the following:

 

   

Constriction of consumer and business confidence may continue to decrease cardholder spending.

 

   

Uncertainty and volatility in the performance of our clients’ businesses may reduce the accuracy of our estimates of our revenues, rebates, incentives and realization of prepaid assets.

 

   

Our clients may implement cost-reduction initiatives that reduce or eliminate payment card marketing or increase requests for greater incentives or additional expense reductions, which may reduce our revenues.

 

   

Our clients may decrease spending for optional or enhanced services, affect our revenue and reduce cardholders’ desire to use these products.

 

   

Government intervention or investments in our clients may negatively affect our business with those institutions or otherwise alter their strategic direction away from our products.

 

   

Tightening of credit availability could affect the ability of participating financial institutions to lend to us under the terms of our credit facility.

 

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Our clients may default on their settlement obligations.

 

   

Our business and prospects, as well as our revenue and profitability, could be materially and adversely affected by consolidation of our clients.

In addition, regulatory bodies may seek to impose rules and price controls on certain aspects of our business and the payments industry.

Any of these developments could have a material adverse impact on our prospects, growth, revenue, profitability and overall business.

A decline in non-U.S. and cross-border activity and in multi-currency transactions could adversely affect our revenues and profitability, as we generate a significant portion of our revenue from such transactions.

We generate a significant amount of our revenues from cross-border transactions. Our clients pay us fees in connection with cross-border transactions. Some of those fees may differ if conversion from the merchant’s currency to the cardholder’s billing currency is required. Thus, revenue from processing cross-border transactions for our clients fluctuates with cross-border travel and the need for transactions to be converted into a different currency. Cross-border travel may be adversely affected by world geopolitical, economic and other conditions. These include the threat of terrorism, natural disasters, the effects of climate change and outbreaks of diseases. A decline in cross-border travel could adversely affect our revenues and profitability. A decline in the need for conversion of currencies might also adversely affect our revenues and profitability.

In addition, Visa derives revenue from foreign currency exchange activities that result from our clients’ settlement in different currencies. A reduction in multi-currency transactions may reduce the need for foreign currency exchange activities and adversely affect our revenues.

Transactions outside the United States represent an increasingly important part of our strategy. In order to continue to grow in those areas, we will need to ensure that we maintain consistency in the types of products we provide, the quality of our service and the viability of our brand. If we cannot employ our organizational resources effectively, we will be unable to do so.

Finally, because we are domiciled in the United States, a negative perception of the United States arising from its political or other positions could harm the perception of our company and our brand. Any of these factors could materially and adversely affect our revenues, operating results, prospects for future growth and overall business.

We risk loss or insolvency if our clients fail to fund settlement obligations we have guaranteed.

We indemnify issuers and acquirers for any settlement loss they suffer due to the failure of another issuer or acquirer to fund its daily settlement obligations. In certain instances, we may indemnify issuers or acquirers even in situations in which a transaction is not processed by our system. This indemnification creates settlement risk for us due to the difference in timing between the date of a payment transaction and the date of subsequent settlement. The term and amount of our indemnification obligations are unlimited.

Concurrent settlement failures involving more than one of our largest clients or several of our smaller clients may exceed our available financial resources, as could systemic operational failures lasting more than a single day. Any such failure could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, even if we have sufficient liquidity to cover a

 

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settlement failure, we may be unable to recover the amount of such payment. This could expose us to significant losses, materially and adversely affecting our financial condition, results of operations and cash flow.

We estimate settlement at risk (or exposure) based on the sum of three inputs. The first is average daily volumes during the quarter multiplied by the estimated number of days to settle plus a safety margin. The second is four months of rolling average chargebacks volume. The third is the total balance for outstanding traveler’s cheques. Additionally, from time to time, we review and revise our risk management methodology and inputs as necessary. See Note 13—Settlement Guarantee Management to our consolidated financial statements included in Item 8 of this report.

Some of our clients are composed of groups of financial institutions. Some of these clients have elected to limit their responsibility for settlement losses arising from the failure of their constituent financial institutions in exchange for managing their constituent financial institutions in accordance with our credit risk policy. To the extent that any settlement failure resulting from a constituent financial institution exceeds the limits established by our credit risk policy, we would have to absorb the cost of such settlement failure, which could materially and adversely affect our cash flow.

If our transaction processing systems are disrupted or we cannot process transactions efficiently, the perception of our brands and our revenues or operating results could be materially and adversely affected.

Our transaction processing systems may experience service interruptions or degradation because of processing or other technology malfunction, fire, natural disasters, power loss, disruptions in long distance or local telecommunications access, fraud, terrorism, climate change or accident. Our visibility in the global payments industry may attract terrorists and hackers to conduct physical or computer-based attacks, leading to an interruption in service, increased costs or the compromise of data security. Additionally, we rely on service providers for the timely transmission of information across our global data network. If a service provider fails to provide the communications capacity or services we require because of a natural disaster, operational disruption, terrorism or any other reason, the failure could interrupt our services, adversely affect the perception of our brands’ reliability and materially reduce our revenues or profitability.

If we cannot keep pace with rapid technological developments to provide new and innovative payment programs and services, the use of our cards could decline, reducing our revenues and net income.

Rapid, significant technological changes are confronting the payments industry. These include developments in smart cards, eCommerce, mobile commerce and radio frequency and proximity payment devices, such as contactless cards. We cannot predict the effect of technological changes on our business. We rely in part on third parties, including some of our competitors and potential competitors, for the development of and access to new technologies. We expect that new services and technologies applicable to the payments industry will continue to emerge. These new services and technologies may be superior to, or render obsolete, the technologies we currently use in our card products and services. In addition, our ability to adopt new services and technologies that we develop may be inhibited by industry-wide standards, by resistance to change from clients or merchants or by third parties’ intellectual property rights. Our success will depend in part on our ability to develop new technologies and adapt to technological changes and evolving industry standards.

Account data breaches involving card data stored by third parties or by us could adversely affect our reputation and revenues.

Our clients, merchants, others and we store cardholder account information in connection with our payment cards. In addition, our clients may use third-party processors to process transactions

 

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generated by cards carrying our brands. Breach of the systems storing sensitive cardholder data and account information could lead to fraudulent activity involving Visa-branded cards, to reputational damage and to claims against us. If we are sued in connection with any data security breach, we could be involved in protracted litigation. If unsuccessful in defending such lawsuits, we may have to pay damages or change our business practices or pricing structure, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our revenues and profitability. In addition, any reputational damage resulting from an account data breach at one or more of our clients, merchants or other third parties could decrease the use and acceptance of our cards, which could have a material adverse impact on our payments volume, revenues and future growth prospects. Finally, any data security breach could result in additional regulation, which could materially increase our costs.

An increase in fraudulent and other illegal activity involving our cards could lead to reputational damage to our brands and reduce the use and acceptance of our cards.

Criminals are using increasingly sophisticated methods to capture cardholder account information. They use the information to conduct fraudulent transactions. Outsourcing and specialization of functions within the payments system are increasing. As a result, more third parties are involved in processing transactions using our cards. A rise in fraud levels involving our cards could lead to reputational damage to our brands. This could reduce the use and acceptance of our cards or lead to greater regulation, which could increase our compliance costs.

Failure to maintain interoperability between Visa Inc.’s and Visa Europe’s authorization and clearing and settlement systems could damage the business and global perception of the Visa brands.

Before our reorganization in October 2007, Visa Europe and we shared authorization, clearing, and settlement systems. Visa Europe completed and substantially deployed its own systems in the 2010 fiscal year. As a result, Visa Europe and we will have to ensure that the two systems can process every transaction, regardless of where it originates. Visa Europe’s newly independent system operations could present challenges to our business due to the heightened difficulty of maintaining the interoperability of our respective systems as they diverge over time. Failure to authorize or clear and settle transactions quickly and accurately could impair the global perception of the Visa brands.

Risks Related to our Structure and Organization

We have little ability to control Visa Europe’s operations and limited recourse if it breaches its obligations to us.

Visa Europe has very broad rights to operate the Visa business in its region under the agreement that governs our relationship. If we want to change a global rule or require Visa Europe to implement certain changes that would not have a positive return for Visa Europe and its members, then Visa Europe is not required to implement that rule or change unless we agree to pay for the implementation costs and expenses that Visa Europe and its members will incur as a consequence of the implementation.

If Visa Europe fails to meet its obligations, our remedies under this agreement are limited. We cannot terminate the agreement even upon Visa Europe’s material, uncured breach. Although we have a call right to acquire Visa Europe, we can exercise that right under only extremely limited circumstances.

These and other features of the licenses granted under the agreement may also raise issues concerning the characterization of the licenses for purposes of tax treatment of entry into the licenses and payments received thereunder.

 

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In some instances, as in the case of CyberSource, Visa Europe may have the right to control the activities of newly acquired entities within Visa Europe’s territory. In any event, Visa Europe’s exclusive license rights in Europe may hinder our ability to acquire new entities or to operate them effectively.

Any inconsistency in the payment processing services and products that we can provide could negatively affect cardholders from Visa Europe using cards in the countries we serve or our cardholders using cards in Visa Europe’s region.

If Visa Europe makes us acquire all of its outstanding stock, we will incur substantial costs and may suffer a material and adverse effect on our operations and net income.

We have granted Visa Europe a put option requiring us to purchase all outstanding capital stock from its members if exercised. We will incur a substantial financial obligation if Visa Europe exercises this option. Visa Europe may do so at any time. We may need to obtain third-party financing in order to meet our obligation, by either borrowing funds or selling stock. An equity offering, or the payment of part of the exercise price in our stock, would dilute the ownership interests of our stockholders. We would have only 285 days to pay the exercise price. Sufficient financing might not be available to us within that time on reasonable terms. See Note 3—Visa Europe to our consolidated financial statements included in Item 8 of this report.

If Visa Europe exercises the put option, we may encounter difficulties in integrating Visa Europe’s business and systems into our existing operations. If we cannot do so quickly and cost-effectively, the integration could divert the time and attention of senior management, disrupt our current operations and adversely affect our results of operations. In addition, we would become subject to the many regulations of the European Union that govern the operations of Visa Europe, including any regulatory disputes.

We are required to record quarterly any change in the fair value of the put option. We record these adjustments through our consolidated statements of operations. Consequently, the adjustments affect our reported net income and earnings per share. These quarterly adjustments and their resulting impact on our reported statements of operations could be significant. The existence of these changes could adversely affect our ability to raise capital or the costs involved in raising it.

If we cannot remain organizationally effective, we will be unable to address the opportunities and challenges presented by our strategy and by the increasingly challenging competitive, economic and regulatory environment.

Since our reorganization in October 2007, we have increasingly centralized our management and operations. For us to succeed, we must effectively integrate our operations, actively work to ensure consistency throughout our organization, and avoid U.S.-centric thinking. If we fail to do so, we may be unable to expand as rapidly as we plan, and the results of our expansion may be unsatisfactory.

In addition, the current competitive, economic and regulatory environment will require our organization to adapt rapidly and nimbly to new opportunities and challenges. We will be unable to do so if we do not make important decisions quickly enough, define our appetite for risk specifically enough, implement new governance, managerial and organizational processes smoothly enough and communicate roles and responsibilities clearly enough.

We may be unable to attract and retain key management and other key employees.

Our employees, particularly our key management, are vital to our success and 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 competitive with the rest of the market. Failure to attract and retain highly qualified employees, or failure to develop and implement a viable succession plan, could result in inadequate depth of institutional knowledge or skill sets, adversely affecting our business.

 

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Acquisitions or strategic investments could disrupt our business and harm our financial condition and results of operations.

Although we may continue to make strategic acquisitions or investments in complementary businesses, products or technologies, we may be unable to successfully finance, partner with or integrate them. The integration of the recently acquired CyberSource Corporation will take time and resources that would otherwise have been available for other acquisitions. We will be subject to the terms of the exclusive license granted to Visa Europe in most acquisitions and major investments that involve countries in the Visa Europe territory. Regulatory constraints, particularly competition regulations, may affect the extent to which we can maximize the value of acquisitions or investments.

Furthermore, the integration of any acquisition or investment may divert management’s time and resources from our core business and disrupt our operations. We may spend time and money on projects that do not increase our revenues. Moreover, our cash reserves contract to the extent we pay the purchase price of any acquisition or investment in cash. Although we periodically evaluate potential acquisitions of and investments in businesses, products and technologies, and anticipate continuing to make these evaluations, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to execute and integrate any such acquisitions and investments.

Future sales of our class A common stock, or the expiration or waiver of transfer restrictions on our class B and C common stock, could result in dilution to holders of shares of our existing class A common stock, adversely affecting their rights and depressing the market price of our class A common stock.

The market price and voting power of our class A common stock could decline because of increases in the number of such shares outstanding. The market price of our class A common stock may also suffer from the perception that such an increase could occur, such as upon the issuance or conversion of securities convertible to shares of our class A common stock. Specifically, on March 25, 2011, all of our restricted shares of class C common stock will become transferable at once.

If funds are released from escrow after the resolution of the litigation covered by our retrospective responsibility plan, the value of our class A common stock will be diluted.

Under our retrospective responsibility plan, funds still in the escrow account after the resolution of all covered litigation will be released back to us. At that time, each share of class B common stock will become convertible into an increased number of shares of class A common stock, benefitting the holders of class B common stock. This in turn will result in dilution of the interest in Visa Inc. held by the holders of class A common stock. The amount of this dilution will depend on the amount, if any, of the funds released from the escrow account and the market price of our class A common stock near the time the funds are released.

Shares of Class A common stock acquired by Visa members and certain affiliates and competitors convert automatically into shares of class C common stock, which have limited voting rights and may be subject to restrictions on transfer.

Shares of class A common stock acquired by a Visa member, an affiliate of a Visa member or any person that is a competitor or its affiliate, in each case to the extent acting as a principal investor, convert automatically into shares of class C common stock. Some shares of class C common stock cannot be transferred until March 25, 2011. In addition, holders of shares of our class C common stock do not have the right to vote on certain matters, including the election of directors.

 

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Holders of our shares of our class B and C common stock have voting rights concerning certain significant corporate transactions, and their interests in our business may be different from those of holders of our class A common stock.

Although their voting rights are limited, holders of shares of our class B and C common stock can vote on certain significant transactions. These include a proposed consolidation or merger, a decision to exit our core payments business and any other vote required by law. The holders of these shares 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 those of the holders of class A common stock.

Anti-takeover provisions in our governing documents and Delaware law could delay or prevent entirely a takeover attempt or a change in control.

Provisions contained in our amended and restated certificate of incorporation, our bylaws and Delaware law could delay or prevent a merger or acquisition that our stockholders consider favorable. For instance, except for limited exceptions, no person may beneficially own more than 15% of our class A common stock (or 15% of our total outstanding common stock on an as-converted basis), unless our board of directors approves the acquisition of such shares in advance. In addition, except for common stock issued to a member in connection with our reorganization or shares issuable on conversion of such common stock, shares held by a competitor or an affiliate of a competitor may not exceed 5% of our total outstanding shares on an as-converted basis.

Our ability to pay regular dividends to holders of our common stock in the future is subject to the discretion of our board of directors and will be limited by our ability to generate sufficient earnings and cash flows.

Since August 2008, we have paid cash dividends quarterly on our class A, B and C common stock. Any future payment of dividends will depend upon our ability to generate earnings and cash flows. However, sufficient cash may not be available to pay such dividends. Payment of future dividends, if any, would be at the discretion of our board of directors after taking into account various factors, including our financial condition, operating results, capital requirements, covenants in our debt instruments and other factors that our board of directors deems relevant. If, because of these factors, we cannot generate sufficient earnings and cash flows from our business, we may be unable to make payments of dividends of our common stock. Furthermore, no dividend may be declared or paid on any class or series of common stock unless an equivalent dividend is contemporaneously declared and paid on each other class of common stock.

 

ITEM 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments

Not Applicable.

 

ITEM 2. Properties

At September 30, 2010, we owned and leased approximately 2.8 million square feet of office and processing center space in 32 countries around the world, of which approximately 1.9 million square feet are owned and the remaining 890,000 square feet are leased. Our corporate headquarters is located in the San Francisco Bay Area and consists of four buildings that we own, totaling 944,000 square feet. We also own a 164,000 square foot office building in Miami.

In addition, we operate three primary processing centers. We own a processing center and an adjacent office facility in two locations, Colorado and Virginia, totaling 268,000 square feet and 482,000 square feet, respectively. We also lease a 13,000 square foot facility in Japan.

We believe that these facilities are suitable and adequate to support our business needs.

 

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ITEM 3. Legal Proceedings

Refer to Note 22—Legal Matters to our consolidated financial statements included in Item 8 in this report.

 

ITEM 4. (Removed and Reserved)

 

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PART II

 

ITEM 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

Price Range of Common Stock

Our class A common stock has been listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “V” since March 19, 2008. At September 30, 2010, the Company had 380 stockholders of record of its class A common stock. The following table sets forth the intra-day high and low sale prices for our class A common stock in each of our last eight fiscal quarters:

 

2010

   High      Low  

First Quarter

   $ 89.69       $ 66.54   

Second Quarter

     93.63         80.54   

Third Quarter

     97.19         68.29   

Fourth Quarter

     77.80         64.90   

2009

   High      Low  

First Quarter

   $ 62.11       $ 43.54   

Second Quarter

     57.98         41.78   

Third Quarter

     71.24         53.63   

Fourth Quarter

     74.99         58.00   

There is currently no established public trading market for our class B or class C common stock. There were approximately 1,727 and 1,558 holders of record of our class B common stock and class C common stock, respectively, as of September 30, 2010.

Dividend Declaration and Policy

During the fiscal years ended September 30, 2010 and 2009, we paid the following quarterly cash dividends per share of our class A common stock (determined in the case of class B and C common stock, on an as-converted basis) to all holders of record of our class A, B and C common stock.

 

2010

   Dividend Per
Share
 

First Quarter

   $ 0.125   

Second Quarter

     0.125   

Third Quarter

     0.125   

Fourth Quarter

     0.125   

2009

   Dividend Per
Share
 

First Quarter

   $ 0.105   

Second Quarter

     0.105   

Third Quarter

     0.105   

Fourth Quarter

     0.105   

In addition, on October 20, 2010, our board of directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.15 per share of class A common stock (determined in the case of class B and C common stock, on an as-converted basis) payable on December 7, 2010 to holders of record as of November 19, 2010 of our class A, B and C common stock.

 

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Subject to legally available funds, we intend to pay quarterly cash dividends on our outstanding class A, B and C common 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 guarantees, operating results, available cash and current and anticipated cash needs. Prior to our IPO, we did not pay any cash dividends on our common stock.

Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

The table below sets forth the information with respect to purchases of the Company’s common stock made by or on behalf of the Company during the quarter ended September 30, 2010.

 

Period

   (a)
Total
Number of
Shares
Purchased(1)
     (b)
Average
Price Paid
per Share
     (c)
Total
Number  of
Shares
Purchased
as Part of
Publicly
Announced
Plans or
Programs(2)
     (d)
Approximate
Dollar Value
of Shares  that
May Yet Be Purchased
Under the Plans or
Programs(2)
 

July 1-31, 2010

     861,900       $ 72.46         861,900        273,705,982   

August 1-31, 2010

     3,788,035       $ 72.25         3,787,162        —     

September 1-30, 2010

     —              —           —     
                       

Total

     4,649,935       $ 72.29         4,649,062     
                       

 

(1)

Includes 873 shares of class A common stock withheld at an average price of $71.67 per share (under the terms of grants under the Company’s equity incentive compensation plan) to offset tax withholding obligations that occur upon vesting and release of restricted shares.

(2)

On October 27, 2009, the Company announced a $1.0 billion class A common stock repurchase plan, authorized by the board of directors through September 30, 2010. Under this plan, during the 12 months ended September 30, 2010, the Company drew the entire $1.0 billion authorized amount and repurchased approximately 12.9 million shares of its class A common stock at an average price of $77.48.

 

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EQUITY COMPENSATION PLAN INFORMATION

The table below presents information as of September 30, 2010 for the Visa 2007 Equity Incentive Compensation Plan, or the EIP, which was approved by our stockholders. We do not have any equity compensation plans that have not been approved by our stockholders, except as noted in note (2) in the table below. For a description of the awards issued under the EIP, see Note 18—Share-based Compensation to our consolidated financial statements included in Item 8 of this report.

 

Plan Category

   Number of shares
of class A
common stock to
be issued upon
exercise of
outstanding
options, warrants
and rights (a)
    Weighted-average
exercise price of
outstanding
options, warrants
and  rights (b)
     Number of shares of
class A
common stock
remaining available for
future issuance under
equity compensation
plans (excluding shares
reflected in column (a)) (c)
 

Equity compensation plans approved by stockholders

     8,383,501 (1)    $ 49.67         44,519,878   

Equity compensation plans not approved by stockholders

     1,558,878 (2)      47.31         —     
                         

Total

     9,942,379 (1)    $ 49.30         44,519,878   
                         

 

(1)

In addition to options, the EIP authorizes the issuance of restricted stock, restricted stock units, performance units and other stock-based awards. A total of 786,238 shares have been issued pursuant to outstanding restricted stock units.

(2)

These shares may be issued upon the exercise of options issued by Visa replacing certain CyberSource options outstanding at the time of the acquisition as discussed further in Note 6—CyberSource Acquisition and Note 18—Share-based Compensation to our consolidated financial statements included in Item 8 of this report. These options were issued under certain provisions of the EIP, which permit Visa to issue options in connection with certain acquisition transactions.

 

ITEM 6. Selected Financial Data

The following table presents selected Visa Inc. financial data for fiscal 2010, 2009 and 2008 and selected Visa U.S.A. financial data for fiscal 2007 and 2006. During the reorganization in October 2007, Visa U.S.A., the accounting acquirer, Visa International, Visa Canada and Inovant became direct or indirect subsidiaries of Visa Inc. The operating results of the acquired interests are included in the consolidated financial results of Visa Inc. beginning October 1, 2007. The data below should be read in conjunction with Item 7—Management’s Discussion and Analysis and Results of Operations and the Visa Inc. fiscal 2010 consolidated financial statements and notes included in Item 8 of this report.

Selected Financial Data

 

    Fiscal Year Ended September 30,  

Statement of Operations Data:

  2010     2009     2008     2007(1)     2006(1)  
    (in millions, except per share data)  

Operating revenues

  $ 8,065      $ 6,911      $ 6,263      $ 3,590      $ 2,948   

Operating expenses

    3,476        3,373        5,031        5,039        2,218   

Operating income (loss)

    4,589        3,538        1,232        (1,449     730   

Net income (loss) attributable to Visa Inc

    2,966        2,353        804        (1,076     455   

Basic earnings per share—class A common stock(2)(3)

    4.03        3.10        0.96        N/A        N/A   

Diluted earnings per share—class A common stock(2)(3)

    4.01        3.10        0.96        N/A        N/A   

 

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    At September 30,  

Balance Sheet Data:

  2010     2009     2008     2007(1)     2006(1)  
    (in millions, except per share data)  

Total assets

  $ 33,408      $ 32,281      $ 34,981      $ 4,390      $ 2,964   

Current portion of long-term debt(4)

    12        12        51        41        32   

Current portion of accrued litigation

    631        1,394        2,698        2,236        216   

Long-term debt(4)

    32        44        55        —          41   

Long-term accrued litigation

    66        323        1,060        1,446        784   

Total equity (deficit)(5)

    25,014        23,193        21,141        (463     621   

Dividend declared and paid per common share

    0.50        0.42        0.105        N/A       N/A  

 

(1)

Historical balances for the consolidated statements of operations and consolidated balance sheet data prior to October 1, 2007 represent balances for Visa U.S.A. Inc., the accounting acquirer in the reorganization.

(2)

Visa U.S.A. Inc. was a non-stock corporation and therefore no comparable metric for earnings per share is provided for fiscal 2007 and 2006.

(3)

Effective October 1, 2009, we adopted a new accounting standard related to the calculation of earnings per share, which requires retrospective application to earnings per share for fiscal 2009 and 2008. See Note 17—Earnings Per Share to the consolidated financial statements included in Item 8 of this report.

(4)

The long term portion of Visa U.S.A. debt was classified as being due within one year at September 30, 2007 because Visa U.S.A. was in default of certain financial performance covenants as a result of the American Express settlement in fiscal 2007 as described in Note 22—Legal Matters to the consolidated financial statements included in Item 8 of this report.

(5)

Effective October 1, 2009, we adopted a new accounting standard which requires the presentation of non-controlling interests (previously referred to as minority interests) to be included in total equity. The change in presentation has been applied to prior year comparable periods.

 

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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 the liquidity and capital resources of Visa Inc. and its subsidiaries (“Visa,” “we,” “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.

Overview

Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, banks and governments around the world, enabling them to use digital currency instead of cash and checks. We provide financial institutions with payment processing platforms that encompass consumer credit, debit, prepaid and commercial payments. We facilitate global commerce through the transfer of value and information among financial institutions, merchants, consumers, businesses and government entities. Each of these constituencies has played a key role in the ongoing worldwide migration from paper-based to electronic forms of payment, and we believe that this transformation continues to yield significant growth opportunities, particularly outside the United States. We continue to explore additional opportunities to enhance our competitive position by expanding the scope of payment services to benefit our existing clients and to position Visa to serve more and different constituencies.

Overall economic conditions and regulatory environment. Our business is affected by overall economic conditions and consumer spending. We continue to monitor the progress of the global economic recovery, which has shown signs of slow but gradual improvement. We expect consumer and commercial spending, and our payments volume to continue to increase in the near term if the economic recovery maintains momentum.

The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act enacted in the U.S. in July 2010 includes provisions that will establish regulation and oversight of debit interchange rates and certain other network industry practices in the U.S. While the legislation does not directly regulate the network fees we charge, except to ensure that fees are not used to evade the new regulation of interchange rates, it may give retailers greater ability to route debit transactions onto competitive networks, which can reduce the processing fees we currently earn on debit transactions. Because the implementation details for this new legislation will be determined over the next year, the expected impact on our consolidated financial statements is unknown at this time. However, we expect to see the impacts of the legislation beginning in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011.

Other regulatory measures previously enacted in the U.S. became effective in the second quarter of fiscal 2010. These regulatory measures primarily impacted our clients, but have not resulted in any notable impact to our payments volumes.

We continue to believe that our broad platform of payment products provides substantial value to both retailers and consumers, and that the continuing worldwide secular shift to digital currency, will buffer the impacts of our current regulatory environment, as reflected in our overall payments volume growth, and in particular payments volume growth outside the U.S.

Funding of the litigation escrow account. During May 2010 and subsequently in October 2010, after our fiscal year end, we deposited $500 million and $800 million, respectively, into the escrow account previously established under the retrospective responsibility plan, or the plan. Under the terms of the plan, when Visa funds the escrow account, the shares of class B common stock retained by our

 

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U.S. clients and their affiliates are subject to dilution through an adjustment to the conversion rate of the shares of class B common stock to shares of class A common stock. On an as-converted basis, funding of the escrow account had the effect of our repurchasing approximately 7 million shares and 11 million shares of class A common stock, respectively. See Note 4—Retrospective Responsibility Plan to our consolidated financial statements.

Share repurchase plan. In October 2009, our board of directors authorized a $1.0 billion share repurchase plan. As of September 30, 2010, we have drawn on the entire $1.0 billion authorized amount by repurchasing a total of 12.9 million shares of our class A common stock at an average price of $77.48 per share. In October 2010, subsequent to our fiscal year end, our board of directors authorized a second $1.0 billion share repurchase plan, which will be in place through September 30, 2011, subject to extension or expansion at the determination of our board of directors. See the Liquidity and Capital Resources section for further discussion.

Expansion of our eCommerce capabilities. On July 21, 2010, we completed our acquisition of CyberSource Corporation, a leading provider of electronic payment, risk management and payment security solutions to online merchants, at a price of $26.00 per share. The total purchase consideration was approximately $2.0 billion, paid with cash on hand. The acquisition of CyberSource will expand our online payment, fraud and security management capabilities and is expected to accelerate our growth in the eCommerce category. The results of CyberSource are included in our results from the acquisition date. See Note 6—CyberSource Acquisition to our consolidated financial statements.

Nominal payments volume and transaction counts. We believe that payments volume and processed transactions are key drivers of our business. Payments volume is the basis for service revenues and processed transactions are the basis for data processing revenues. The growth in nominal payments volume in fiscal 2010 compared to fiscal 2009, in particular credit and debit, was primarily driven by growth outside the U.S. Comparing fiscal 2009 with fiscal 2008, nominal payments volume declined in credit and commercial products, which was offset by growth in debit resulting in minimal year-over-year nominal payments volume impact.

The number of processed transactions continues to increase reflecting the continued shift to electronic payments globally.

The payments volume and processed transactions tables presented below do not include CyberSource volumes and transactions. CyberSource activities primarily contribute to our data processing revenues, which is discussed below in Results of Operations.

 

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This table sets forth nominal product payments volumes for the periods presented in nominal dollars(1):

 

    U.S.A.     Rest of World     Visa Inc.  
    12 months
ended
June  30,
2010(4)
    12 months
ended
June  30,
2009(4)
    %
Change
    12 months
ended
June  30,
2010(4)
    12 months
ended
June  30,
2009(4)
    %
Change
    12 months
ended
June  30,
2010(4)
    12 months
ended
June  30,
2009(4)
    %
Change
 
    (in billions, except percentages)  

Nominal Payments Volume

                 

Consumer credit

  $ 599      $ 613        (2 )%    $ 987      $ 811        22   $ 1,586      $ 1,424        11

Consumer debit(2)

    909        787        16     197        148        33     1,107        935        18

Commercial and other(2)

    243        221        10     100        99        1     344        320        7
                                                     

Total Nominal Payments Volume

  $ 1,752      $ 1,621        8   $ 1,285      $ 1,058        21   $ 3,037      $ 2,679        13

Cash volume

    374        380        (2 )%      1,411        1,189        19     1,785        1,569        14
                                                     

Total Nominal Volume(3)

  $ 2,125      $ 2,001        6   $ 2,696      $ 2,248        20   $ 4,821      $ 4,248        13
                                                     

 

    U.S.A.     Rest of World     Visa Inc.  
    12 months
ended
June  30,
2009(4)
    12 months
ended
June  30,
2008(4)
    %
Change
    12 months
ended
June  30,
2009(4)
    12 months
ended
June  30,
2008(4)
    %
Change
    12 months
ended
June  30,
2009(4)
    12 months
ended
June  30,
2008(4)
    %
Change
 
    (in billions, except percentages)  

Nominal Payments Volume

                 

Consumer credit

  $ 613      $ 661        (7 )%    $ 811      $ 802        1   $ 1,424      $ 1,463        (3 )% 

Consumer debit(2)

    787        733        7     148        133        11     935        866        8

Commercial and other(2)

    221        217        2     99        108        (8 )%      320        325        (1 )% 
                                                     

Total Nominal Payments Volume

  $ 1,621      $ 1,611        1   $ 1,058      $ 1,043        2   $ 2,679      $ 2,654        1

Cash volume

    380        406        (6 )%      1,189        1,127        5     1,569        1,533        2
                                                     

Total Nominal Volume(3)

  $ 2,001      $ 2,017        (1 )%    $ 2,248      $ 2,170        4   $ 4,248      $ 4,187        1
                                                     

 

(1)

Figures may not sum due to rounding. Percentage change calculated based on whole numbers, not rounded numbers.

(2)

Includes prepaid volume.

(3)

Total nominal volume is the sum of total nominal payments volume and cash volume. Total nominal payments volume is the total monetary value of transactions for goods and services that are purchased. Cash volume generally consists of cash access transactions, balances access transactions, balance transfers and convenience checks. Total nominal volume is provided by our clients, subject to verification by Visa. From time to time, previously submitted volume information may be updated. Prior year volume information presented in these tables has not been updated, as subsequent adjustments were not material.

(4)

Service revenues in a given quarter are assessed based on payments volume in the prior quarter. Therefore, service revenues reported with respect to the twelve months ended September 30, 2010, September 30, 2009 and September 30, 2008 were based on payments volume reported by our clients for the twelve months ended June 30, 2010, June 30, 2009 and June 30, 2008, respectively.

 

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This table sets forth transaction volumes processed by our VisaNet system during the following fiscal periods:

 

     2010      2009      2008      2010 vs. 2009
% Change
    2009 vs. 2008
% Change
 
     (in millions)               

Total processed transactions

     45,411         39,885         36,956         14     8

Results of Operations

Operating Revenues

Our operating revenues are primarily generated from payments volume on Visa-branded cards for goods and services, as well as the number, size and type of transactions processed on our VisaNet system. We do not earn revenues from, or bear credit risk with respect to, interest and fees paid by cardholders on Visa-branded cards. Our issuing clients have the responsibility for issuing cards and determining interest rates and fees paid by cardholders, and most other competitive card features. We do not earn revenues from the fees that merchants are charged for card acceptance, including the merchant discount rate. Our acquiring clients, which are generally responsible for soliciting merchants, establish and earn these fees.

The following sets forth the components of our operating revenues:

Service revenues are earned from clients for their participation in card programs carrying marks of the Visa brand. Service revenues are primarily assessed using a calculation of pricing applied to the prior quarter’s payments volume.

Data processing revenues are earned for authorization, clearing, settlement, transaction processing services and other maintenance and support services that facilitate transaction and information processing among our clients globally and Visa Europe. Data processing revenues are primarily based on information we accumulate from VisaNet, our secure, centralized, global processing platform, which provides transaction processing services linking issuers and acquirers. Data processing revenues also include revenues earned for transactions processed by CyberSource’s online payment gateway.

International transaction revenues are assessed to clients on transactions where the cardholder’s issuer country is different from the merchant’s country. International transaction revenues are generally driven by cross-border payments volume, which includes single currency transactions, and currency conversion activities for transactions involving more than one currency.

Other revenues consist primarily of revenues earned from Visa Europe in connection with the Visa Europe Framework Agreement and fees from cardholder services and licensing and certification. Other revenues also include optional service or product enhancements, such as extended cardholder protection and concierge services.

Volume and support incentives represent contracts with clients, merchants and other business partners for various programs designed to build payments volume and to increase product acceptance. These incentives are accounted for as reductions to operating revenues.

Operating Expenses

Personnel includes salaries, stock-based compensation, incentives, fringe benefits and contractor expense.

 

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Network, EDP and communications primarily represents expenses for the operation of our electronic payments network, including maintenance, equipment rental and fees for other data processing services.

Advertising, marketing and promotion includes expenses associated with advertising and marketing campaigns, sponsorships and other related promotions to promote the Visa brand.

Professional and consulting fees consists of fees for consulting, legal and other professional services.

Depreciation and amortization includes depreciation expenses of properties and equipment, as well as amortization of purchased and internally developed software. Also included in this amount are depreciation and amortization of the incremental basis in technology and other assets acquired in our October 2007 reorganization, and the incremental basis in technology and other assets, including finite-lived intangible assets, acquired in our July 2010 acquisition of CyberSource. The incremental basis in technology and other assets acquired in our October 2007 reorganization was fully depreciated and amortized at September 30, 2010.

Administrative and other primarily consists of facilities costs, foreign exchange gains and losses and other corporate and overhead expenses in support of our business.

Litigation provision is an estimate of litigation expense and is based on management’s understanding of our litigation profile, the specifics of the case, advice of counsel to the extent appropriate and management’s best estimate of incurred loss at the balance sheet dates.

Other Income (Expense)

Interest expense primarily includes accretion associated with litigation settlements to be paid over periods longer than one year and interest incurred on outstanding debt.

Investment income, net represents returns on our fixed-income securities and other investments. Investment income also includes cash dividends received from other cost method investments.

Other non-operating income primarily relates to the change in the fair value of the Visa Europe put option. Also included in this amount is the change in the fair value of the liability under the Framework Agreement with Visa Europe, which was fully discharged in October 2008.

Visa Inc. Fiscal 2010, 2009 and 2008

Operating Revenues

The following table sets forth our operating revenues earned in the United States, in the rest of the world and from Visa Europe. Revenues earned from Visa Europe are a result of our contractual arrangement with Visa Europe, as governed by the Framework Agreement that provides for trademark and technology licenses and bilateral services.

 

     Fiscal Year ended
September 30,
     $ Change     % Change(1)  
     2010      2009      2008      2010
vs.
2009
    2009
vs.
2008
    2010
vs.
2009
    2009
vs.
2008
 
     (in millions, except percentages)  

U.S. operating revenues

   $ 4,718       $ 4,023       $ 3,664       $ 695      $ 359        17     10

Rest of world operating revenues

     3,137         2,669         2,378         468        291        18     12

Visa Europe operating revenues

     210         219         221         (9     (2     (4 )%      (1 )% 
                                               

Total Operating Revenues

   $ 8,065       $ 6,911       $ 6,263       $ 1,154      $ 648        17     10
                                               

 

(1)

Percentage change calculated based on whole numbers, not rounded numbers.

 

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Growth in operating revenues primarily reflects an increase in nominal payments volume, continued growth of processed transactions and the impact of pricing modifications made on various services as a result of innovations in our product line and improvements in our service model. The benefits of pricing modifications are partially offset by increases to volume and support incentives. We continue to monitor the progress of nominal payments volume growth as part of the overall global economic recovery, and evaluate the potential impacts to operating revenues under our current regulatory environment. We may adjust our pricing strategy to ensure that it competitively aligns with the value and growth opportunities provided to our clients.

Revenues from processing cross-border transactions for our clients fluctuate with cross-border travel and the extent to which Visa-branded products are utilized for travel purposes. Cross-border transactions have shown signs of improvement in all geographies during fiscal 2010.

Our operating revenues, primarily service revenues and international transaction revenues, are impacted by the overall strengthening or weakening of the U.S. dollar as payments volume and related revenues denominated in local or regional currencies are converted to U.S. dollars. The effect of the general weakening of the U.S. dollar during fiscal 2010 was moderated by our hedging activities, resulting in a net 1% increase in total operating revenues. In comparison, the general strengthening of the U.S. dollar during fiscal 2009, net against the impact from our hedging activities, resulted in a 3% decline in total operating revenues. As we are substantially hedged through fiscal 2011, we do not expect any significant impact from currency fluctuations next year.

The following table sets forth the components of our total operating revenues:

 

     Fiscal Year ended
September 30,
    $ Change     % Change(1)  
     2010     2009     2008     2010
vs.
2009
    2009
vs.
2008
    2010
vs.
2009
    2009
vs.
2008
 
     (in millions, except percentages)  

Service revenues

   $ 3,497      $ 3,174      $ 3,061      $ 323      $ 113        10     4

Data processing revenues

     3,125        2,430        2,073        695        357        29     17

International transaction revenues

     2,290        1,916        1,721        374        195        20     11

Other revenues

     713        625        569        88        56        14     10

Volume and support incentives

     (1,560     (1,234     (1,161     (326     (73     26     6
                                            

Total Operating Revenues

   $ 8,065      $ 6,911      $ 6,263      $ 1,154      $ 648        17     10
                                            

 

(1)

Percentage change calculated based on whole numbers, not rounded numbers.

 

   

Service revenues increased in fiscal 2010 primarily due to 13% growth in nominal payments volume. The growth in service revenues was slower than the growth in nominal payments volume primarily reflecting differences in the geographic mix of our service revenues and the impact of our hedging program against the weakening U.S. dollar. We expect service revenues to increase in fiscal 2011 as we continue to align our pricing strategy across the globe to ensure it reflects the competitive value and growth opportunities provided to our clients.

Service revenues increased in fiscal 2009 compared to fiscal 2008 primarily due to strategic pricing modifications implemented in the second half of fiscal 2009, combined with modest growth of 1% in nominal global payments volume.

 

   

Data processing revenues increased during fiscal 2010 due to competitive pricing actions across various geographies which became effective in the second half of fiscal 2009, combined with growth of 14% in the number of transactions processed. Data processing

 

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revenues also benefitted slightly from the inclusion of CyberSource activity since the July acquisition. We do not believe that the current rate of growth in data processing revenues is representative of sustainable future revenue growth due to the inclusion of these pricing actions, which have largely anniversaried in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010. However, we will benefit from the inclusion of a full year CyberSource activity in fiscal 2011.

Data processing revenues increased in fiscal 2009 due to 8% growth in the number of transactions processed during the year, combined with other strategic pricing modifications.

 

   

International transaction revenues increased in fiscal 2010 primarily due to a growth of 16% in nominal cross-border payments volume, combined with strategic pricing modifications which took place after the third quarter of fiscal 2009. We generally expect international transaction revenue to grow in line with increased cross-border transaction volume, although economic downturns or other adverse international conditions could hinder this growth.

International transaction revenues increased in fiscal 2009 despite an 11% decline in cross-border nominal payments volume, primarily due to strategic pricing modifications made after fiscal 2008.

 

   

Other revenues increased during fiscal 2010, primarily due to license fees from Cielo, formerly known as Companhia Brasileira de Meios de Pagamento, or VisaNet do Brasil, for the use of Visa trademarks and technology intellectual property. We entered into this licensing arrangement with VisaNet do Brasil following its initial public offering and the sale of our equity interest in the third quarter of fiscal 2009. The increase also reflects growth in other new license and royalty fees.

Other revenues increased in fiscal 2009 primarily due to growth in the Visa Extras loyalty platform for administrative and rewards fulfillment services performed in support of the platform.

 

   

Volume and support incentives increased in fiscal 2010 primarily due to growth in global payments volumes and incentives incurred on significant long-term customer contracts that were initiated or renewed in fiscal 2010. These increases were offset by lower one-time incentives incurred for early renewals compared to fiscal 2009. As anticipated, volume and support incentives as a percentage of gross revenues were approximately 16% in fiscal 2010. We expect incentives as a percentage of gross revenues to be in the range of 16.0% to 16.5% for the full 2011 fiscal year. The actual amount of volume and support incentives will vary based on modifications to performance expectations for these contracts, amendments to existing contracts or new contracts.

Volume and support incentives increased in fiscal 2009 primarily due to incentives incurred on initiation or early renewal of significant long-term customer contracts. These incentives were partially offset by the absence of a non-recurring charge related to a customer agreement executed in fiscal 2008.

 

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Operating Expenses

The following table sets forth components of our total operating expenses for the periods presented.

 

     Fiscal Year ended
September 30,
     $ Change     % Change(1)  
     2010     2009      2008      2010
vs.
2009
    2009
vs.
2008
    2010
vs.
2009
    2009
vs.
2008
 
     (in millions, except percentages)  

Personnel

   $ 1,222      $ 1,228       $ 1,314       $ (6   $ (86     (1 )%      (7 )% 

Network, EDP and communications

     425        393         339         32        54        8     16

Advertising, marketing and promotion

     964        918         1,016         46        (98     5     (10 )% 

Professional and consulting fees

     286        268         323         18        (55     7     (17 )% 

Depreciation and amortization

     265        226         237         39        (11     17     (5 )% 

Administrative and other

     359        338         332         21        6        7     2

Litigation provision

     (45     2         1,470         (47     (1,468     NM        NM   
                                              

Total Operating Expenses

   $ 3,476      $ 3,373       $ 5,031       $ 103      $ (1,658     3     (33 )% 
                                              

 

(1)

Percentage change calculated based on whole numbers, not rounded numbers.

 

   

Personnel decreased in fiscal 2010, reflecting lower severance charges and reductions in our net periodic pension cost due to the remeasurement and annual census update of our U.S. pension plan. See Note 12 – Pension, Postretirement and Other Benefits to our consolidated financial statements. The decrease was offset by additional salary and stock compensation expense as a result of our acquisition of CyberSource in July 2010.

The decrease in fiscal 2009 reflects the absence of larger severance and other charges incurred in fiscal 2008 associated with workforce consolidation and elimination of overlapping functions, combined with reduced contractor fees and employee incentive-related costs in fiscal 2009.

 

   

Network, EDP and communications increased in fiscal 2010 and 2009, reflecting higher fees paid for debit processing services related to processing transactions through non-Visa networks.

 

   

Advertising, marketing and promotion increased in fiscal 2010, due to higher spending in connection with the 2010 Winter Olympics and the 2010 FIFA World Cup, which will not recur in fiscal 2011. The increase also reflects additional investment in emerging markets and higher redemption costs associated with the Visa Extras loyalty platform. We continue to review and refine our marketing and advertising spending globally to ensure it is consistent with our growth initiatives.

In fiscal 2009, expenses decreased, despite the launch of our global “More people go with Visa” campaign, reflecting the effective implementation of our global strategy to reduce cost.

 

   

Professional and consulting fees increased in fiscal 2010, primarily reflecting professional fees associated with our acquisition of CyberSource and consulting fees related to the migration of one of our product platforms to a new service provider. The increase was offset by the absence of legal fees related to the settlement of Discover financial services and various other litigation matters in fiscal 2009.

The decrease in fiscal 2009 reflects the absence of consulting and legal fees incurred in fiscal 2008 in connection with our global reorganization and IPO, and related insourcing of professional services.

 

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Depreciation and amortization increased in fiscal 2010, primarily reflecting additional depreciation and amortization on technology and intangible assets acquired in the CyberSource acquisition. The increase also reflects charges related to the new east coast data center and office building that were placed in service during the second half of fiscal 2009. We expect associated depreciation and amortization related to CyberSource assets to increase in fiscal 2011, reflecting a full year of charges, or $76 million. This increase will be offset by the absence of $68 million in annual depreciation and amortization on the incremental basis of assets acquired in our October 2007 reorganization, as those assets became fully depreciated as of September 30, 2010.

The decrease in fiscal 2009 primarily reflects the absence of depreciation and amortization for assets in our Colorado data center which were fully depreciated in fiscal 2008, partially offset by additional depreciation in fiscal 2009 from our new east coast data center.

 

   

Administrative and other increased in fiscal 2010 primarily due to travel activities related to the 2010 Winter Olympics and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Administrative and other expenses remained flat in fiscal 2009, primarily due to unrealized foreign exchange losses recorded upon the remeasurement of monetary assets and liabilities held by foreign subsidiaries into their functional currencies, offset by a decrease in overall spending reflecting our overall cost reduction strategy.

 

   

Litigation provision in fiscal 2010 primarily reflects the $41 million pre-tax gain recorded as a result of prepaying the remaining obligation under the Retailers’ litigation settlement. The gain reflects the difference between our prepayment amount of $682 million and the carrying value of the obligation. The remaining credit balance was due to the release of accruals during fiscal 2010 for certain legal matters. There was no other significant provision activity to offset the credit balance during fiscal 2010.

The decrease in fiscal 2009 primarily reflects the absence of litigation provision recorded in connection with the Discover settlement in fiscal 2008. See Note 22—Legal Matters to our consolidated financial statements.

Other Income (Expense)

The following table sets forth the components of our other income (expense) for the periods presented.

 

     Fiscal Year ended
September 30,
    $ Change     % Change(1)  
     2010     2009     2008     2010
vs.
2009
    2009
vs.
2008
    2010
vs.
2009
    2009
vs.
2008
 
     (in millions, except percentages)  

Equity in earnings of unconsolidated affiliates

   $ (7   $ —        $ 1      $ (7   $ (1     NM        NM   

Interest expense

     (72     (115     (143     43        28        (37 )%      (20 )% 

Investment income, net

     49        575        211        (526     364        (92 )%      NM   

Other

     79        2        35        77        (33     NM        (95 )% 
                                            

Total Other Income (Expense)

   $ 49      $ 462      $ 104      $ (413   $ 358        (90 )%      NM   
                                            

 

(1)

Percentage change calculated based on whole numbers, not rounded numbers.

 

   

Interest expense decreased in fiscal 2010 and 2009 reflecting lower interest accretion from declining litigation balances. The decrease in fiscal 2010 was partially offset by increases in interest expense related to uncertain tax positions recorded in the first half of fiscal 2010.

 

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Investment income, net decreased in fiscal 2010 primarily due to the absence of a pre-tax gain of $473 million and the loss of dividend income upon the sale of our ownership interest in VisaNet do Brasil in fiscal 2009. Additionally, we earned lower interest income in fiscal 2010 as a result of lower interest rates and lower investment balances, reflecting the use of $1.0 billion to repurchase class A common stock under the share repurchase plan, $682 million to prepay the Retailers’ litigation and $500 million to fund the litigation escrow account under the retrospective responsibility plan.

The increase in fiscal 2009 primarily reflects the pre-tax gain of $473 million discussed above, partially offset by lower interest income earned from lower investment balances after funding our October 2008 stock redemptions.

 

   

Other non-operating income in fiscal 2010 reflects a non-cash adjustment to the fair market value of the Visa Europe put option, which is not subject to tax. The change in value does not reflect any change in the likelihood that Visa Europe will exercise its option. See Note 3 – Visa Europe to our consolidated financial statements.

Other non-operating income in fiscal 2008 reflects adjustments to the fair market value of our liability under the Framework Agreement with Visa Europe, which was settled during the first fiscal quarter of 2009.

Effective Income Tax Rate

The effective tax rate decreased to 36% in fiscal 2010, compared with 41% in fiscal 2009 and 40% in fiscal 2008.

The effective tax rate in fiscal 2010 was lower than the rate in fiscal 2009 primarily due to changes in the geographic mix of our global income, the benefit of tax incentives in Singapore, our largest operating hub outside the U.S., the nontaxable revaluation of the Visa Europe put option in fiscal 2010, and the additional foreign tax related to the sale of our investment in VisaNet do Brasil in fiscal 2009.

The increase in the effective income tax rate in fiscal 2009 compared to fiscal 2008 was primarily due to additional foreign tax in fiscal 2009 on the sale of our investment in VisaNet do Brasil.

Liquidity and Capital Resources

Management of Our Liquidity

We regularly evaluate cash requirements for current operations, commitments, development activities and capital expenditures and we may elect to raise additional funds for these purposes in the future through the issuance of either debt or equity. Our treasury policies provide management with the guidelines and authority to manage liquidity risk in a manner consistent with corporate objectives.

The objectives of our treasury policies are to provide adequate liquidity to cover operating expenditures and liquidity contingency scenarios, to ensure payments on required litigation settlements, to ensure timely completion of payments settlement activities, to make planned capital investments in our business, to pay dividends, to repurchase our shares at the discretion of our board of directors, to service the payments of principal and interest on outstanding debt, and to optimize income earned by investing excess cash in securities that we believe are high-quality and marketable in the short term.

Based on our current cash flow budgets and forecasts of our short-term and long-term liquidity needs, we believe that our projected sources of liquidity will be sufficient to meet our projected liquidity needs for more than the next 12 months. We will continue to assess our liquidity position and potential sources of supplemental liquidity in view of our operating performance, current economic and capital market conditions, and other relevant circumstances.

 

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Cash Flow Data

This table summarizes cash flow activity for the following fiscal years:

 

     2010     2009     2008  
     (in millions)  

Total cash provided by (used in):

      

Operating activities

   $ 2,691      $ 558      $ 531   

Investing activities

     (1,904     1,830        554   

Financing activities

     (1,542     (2,751     3,624   

Effect of exchange rate changes on cash and cash equivalents

     5        1        (5
                        

(Decrease) increase in cash and cash equivalents

   $ (750   $ (362   $ 4,704   
                        

Operating activities. Cash provided by operating activities for fiscal 2010 primarily reflects net income including non-controlling interest of $3.0 billion and adjustments for non-cash items of $2.1 billion, offset by payments for volume and support incentives and litigation settlements, primarily including $682 million prepayment of our Retailers’ litigation obligation, as further discussed below. Total cash provided by operating activities was higher during fiscal 2010 compared to the prior year, primarily reflecting higher year-to-date net income and lower litigation settlement payments. We believe that cash flow generated from operating activities will sufficiently meet our ongoing operational needs.

Cash provided by operating activities for fiscal 2009 consisted of net income including non-controlling interest of $2.4 billion and adjustments for non-cash items of $1.5 billion. Standard non-cash adjustments for volume and support incentive accruals and depreciation and amortization were offset by a $473 million pre-tax gain on the sale of our investment in VisaNet do Brasil, which is reflected in investing activities. Cash from operating activities also reflects the use of $3.3 billion to fund significant operational payments, including litigation and volume and support incentives.

Cash provided by operating activities for fiscal 2008 consisted of net income including non-controlling interest of $804 million and adjustments for non-cash items of $3.1 billion. Cash provided by operating activities was lower than income provided by operations, reflecting the use of cash to satisfy litigation settlement payments and volume and support incentive payments net of new accruals.

Investing activities. Cash used in investing activities during fiscal 2010 primarily reflects the acquisition of CyberSource in July 2010 for $1.8 billion, net of cash received. The use of cash in investing activities was partially offset by net cash proceeds of $56 million from sales and maturities of investment securities compared to $290 million in the prior year, both of which were reinvested in money market funds. We also received $89 million in cash distributions from the Reserve Primary Fund, or the Fund, in the current year compared to $884 million of distributions in the prior year as the Fund liquidated.

Cash provided by investing activities for fiscal 2009 primarily reflects the $884 million of cash distribution from the Fund, net cash proceeds of $290 million from the sales and maturities of investment securities and $1.0 billion from the sale of our 10% ownership in VisaNet do Brasil, all of which were reinvested in money market funds. We also purchased $306 million of property, equipment and technology primarily related to construction of our east coast data center.

Cash provided by investing activities for fiscal 2008 reflects $1.0 billion of cash acquired through the reorganization, $949 million of net cash proceeds from the sales and maturities of investment securities that were re-invested in shorter-term cash equivalents and $415 million of property,

 

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equipment and technology purchases primarily related to construction of our data center. In addition, we reclassified our $953 million investment in the Fund from cash equivalents to other current assets on our consolidated balance sheet. See further discussion under Sources of Liquidity, below, and Note 7—Prepaid Expenses and Other Assets to our consolidated financial statements.

Financing activities. Cash used in financing activities during fiscal 2010 primarily reflects $1 billion in repurchases of class A common stock in the open market, funding of $500 million to the litigation escrow account and $368 million of dividend payments.

Cash used in financing activities during fiscal 2009 primarily reflects contractually-required redemption of certain of our series class C common shares for $2.6 billion, funding of $1.8 billion to the litigation escrow account and dividend payments of $318 million, offset by covered litigation payments totaling $2.0 billion from the litigation escrow account.

Cash provided by financing activities for fiscal 2008 is attributable to IPO-related activities including $19.1 billion in net proceeds from the issuance of class A common stock, offset by $13.4 billion used for the partial redemption of class B and class C common stock, and $3.0 billion payment to the litigation escrow account for the covered litigation matters in accordance with the retrospective responsibility plan. See Note 4—Retrospective Responsibility Plan to our consolidated financial statements. In addition, there was a source of cash of $1.1 billion, reflecting covered litigation payments from the litigation escrow account, offset by $93 million and $22 million for dividend and routine debt payments, respectively.

Sources of Liquidity

Our primary sources of liquidity are cash on hand, cash flow from our operations, an investment portfolio, and access to various equity and borrowing arrangements. Funds from operations are maintained in cash and cash equivalents, short-term available-for-sale investment securities, or long-term available-for-sale investment securities based upon our funding requirements, access to liquidity from these holdings, and return that these holdings provide.

Investment portfolio. Our investment portfolio is primarily comprised of securities which enable us to meet our working capital needs. Our investment portfolio primarily consists of liquid securities, including money market funds and debt securities issued by U.S. government-sponsored agencies. The liquidity of our investment portfolio is subject to uncertainties that are difficult to predict.

Other factors that may impact the liquidity of our investment portfolio include changes to credit ratings of the securities as well as to the underlying assets supporting those securities, rates of default of the underlying assets, underlying collateral value, discount rates, and ongoing strength and quality of credit markets. We will continue to review our portfolio in light of evolving market and economic conditions. However, if current market conditions deteriorate, the liquidity of our investment portfolio may be impacted and we could determine that some of our investments are impaired, which could adversely impact our financial results. We have policies that limit the amount of credit exposure to any one financial institution or type of investment.

Revolving credit facilities. On February 15, 2008, we entered into a $3.0 billion five-year revolving credit facility with a syndicate of banks including affiliates of certain holders of shares of our class B and class C common stock and certain of our clients and affiliates of our clients. Loans under the five-year facility may be in the form of: (1) Base Rate Advance, which will bear interest at a rate equal to the higher of the Federal Funds Rate plus 0.5% and the Bank of America prime rate; (2) Eurocurrency Advance, which will bear interest at a rate equal to LIBOR (as adjusted for applicable reserve requirements) plus an applicable cost adjustment and an applicable margin of 0.11% to 0.30% based

 

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on our credit rating; or (3) U.S. Swing Loan, Euro Swing Loan, or Foreign Currency Swing Loan, which will bear interest at the rate equal to the applicable Swing Loan rate for that currency plus the same applicable margin plus additionally for Euro and Sterling loans, an applicable reserve requirement and cost adjustment. We also agreed to pay a facility fee on the aggregate commitment amount, whether used or unused, at a rate ranging from 0.04% to 0.10% and a utilization fee on loans at a rate ranging from 0.05% to 0.10% based on our credit rating. Currently, the applicable margin is 0.15%, the facility fee is 0.05% and the utilization fee is 0.05%. This facility contains certain covenants, including financial covenant requirements relating to a maximum level of debt to EBITDA and events of default customary for financings of this type. This facility expires on February 15, 2013. There were no borrowings under this facility and we were in compliance with all covenants during and at the end of fiscal 2010.

U.S. commercial paper programs. We maintain a $500 million U.S. commercial paper program, which provides for the issuance of unsecured debt with maturities up to 270 days from the date of issuance at interest rates generally extended to companies with comparable credit ratings. The commercial paper program is a source of short-term borrowed funds that may be used from time to time to cover short-term cash needs. We had no obligations outstanding under this program during and at the end of fiscal 2010. There are no financial covenants related to this program.

Universal shelf registration statement. On May 6, 2009, we filed a registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission using a shelf registration process. As permitted by the registration statement, we may, from time to time, sell shares of debt or equity securities in one or more transactions. The registration statement expires on May 5, 2012.

Escrow account. We maintain an escrow account for use in the payment of covered litigation matters. When the Company funds the escrow account, the shares of class B common stock held by our stockholders are subject to dilution through an adjustment to the conversion rate of the shares of class B common stock to shares of class A common stock. See Note 4—Retrospective Responsibility Plan to our consolidated financial statements. The balance in this account at September 30, 2010 was $1.9 billion and is reflected as restricted cash on our consolidated balance sheet. In October 2010, after the end of our 2010 fiscal year, we deposited an additional $800 million into the escrow account. As these funds are restricted for use solely for the purpose of making payments related to covered litigation matters, we have not included them as part of our liquid assets. However, they should be viewed as a source of cash for purposes of making payments related to settlement of or judgment in covered litigation matters, as described below under Uses of Liquidity.

Credit Ratings

At September 30, 2010, Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s rated our unsecured debt as follows:

 

     Standard and Poor’s      Moody’s  

Debt type

   Rating      Outlook      Rating      Outlook  

Long-term unsecured debt

           

Local

     A+         Stable         A1         Stable   

Foreign

     A+         Stable         A1         Stable   

Short-term unsecured debt

     A-1         Stable         P-1         Stable   

Various factors affect our credit ratings, including changes in our operating performance, the economic environment, conditions in the electronic payment industry, our financial position and changes in our business strategy. We do not currently foresee any reasonable circumstances under which our credit ratings would be significantly downgraded. If a downgrade were to occur, it could adversely impact, among other things, our future borrowing costs and access to capital markets.

 

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Uses of Liquidity

Payments settlement. Payments settlement due from and due to issuing and acquiring clients represents our most consistent liquidity requirement, arising primarily from settlement currencies other than the U.S. dollar. U.S. dollar settlements are settled within the same day and do not result in a net receivable or payable balance. These settlement receivables and payables generally remain outstanding for one to two business days, consistent with standard market conventions for domestic transactions and foreign currency transactions. We maintain a liquidity position sufficient to enable uninterrupted daily net settlement. Typically, the highest seasonal liquidity demand is experienced in December and early January during the holiday shopping season.

Covered litigation. We are parties to legal and regulatory proceedings with respect to a variety of matters, including certain litigation that we refer to as covered litigation. As noted above, settlements of, or judgments in, covered litigation are paid from the escrow account. See Note 4—Retrospective Responsibility Plan and Note 22—Legal Matters to our consolidated financial statements, as well as Sources of Liquidity. In fiscal 2010, we made $280 million in covered litigation payments that were funded from the escrow account.

Other litigation. Judgments in and settlements of litigation, other than covered litigation, could give rise to future liquidity needs. For example, in connection with our Retailers’ litigation settlement in fiscal 2003, we were required to make annual settlement payments of $200 million through fiscal 2012. In fiscal 2009, we entered into an agreement to prepay our remaining payment obligations under the original Retailers’ litigation settlement agreement. We made a payment of $682 million to fully satisfy the remaining $800 million obligation in October 2009.

Share repurchase plan. During fiscal 2010, we used $1.0 billion to repurchase approximately 12.9 million shares of our class A common stock under the share repurchase plan authorized in October 2009. In October 2010, after the end of our 2010 fiscal year, our board of directors authorized a second $1.0 billion share repurchase plan to be in place through September 30, 2011, subject to extension or expansion at the determination of our board of directors. Repurchased shares have been retired and constitute authorized but unissued shares.

Dividends. During fiscal 2010, we paid $368 million in dividends. On October 20, 2010, our board of directors declared a quarterly dividend in the aggregate amount of $0.15 per share of class A common stock (determined in the case of class B and class C common stock on an as-converted basis). We expect to pay approximately $107 million in connection with this dividend in December 2010. See Note 16—Stockholders’ Equity to our consolidated financial statements. We anticipate continuing to pay quarterly dividends in cash, subject to approval by our board of directors. Class B and class C common stock will share ratably on an as-converted basis in such future dividends.

Visa Europe put option. We have granted Visa Europe a perpetual put option which, if exercised, will require us to purchase all of the outstanding shares of capital stock of Visa Europe from its members. Visa Europe may exercise the put option at any time. The put option provides a formula for determining the purchase price of the Visa Europe shares, which subject to certain adjustments, applies Visa Inc.’s forward price-to-earnings multiple, or the P/E ratio (as defined in the option agreement) at the time the option is exercised to Visa Europe’s adjusted sustainable income for the forward 12-month period, or the adjusted sustainable income. The calculation of Visa Europe’s adjusted sustainable income under the terms of the put option agreement includes potentially material adjustments for cost synergies and other negotiated items. Upon exercise, the key inputs to this formula, including Visa Europe’s adjusted sustainable income, will be the result of negotiation between us and Visa Europe. The put option provides an arbitration mechanism in the event that the two parties are unable to agree on the ultimate purchase price.

 

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At September 30, 2010, we determined the fair value of the put option liability to be approximately $267 million. While this amount represents the fair value of the put option at September 30, 2010, it does not represent the actual purchase price that we may be required to pay if the option is exercised. The purchase price we could be obligated to pay 285 days after exercise will represent a substantial financial obligation, which could be several billion dollars or more. We may need to obtain third-party financing, either by borrowing funds or undertaking a subsequent equity offering in order to fund this payment. The amount of that potential obligation could vary dramatically based on, among other things, Visa Europe’s adjusted sustainable income and our P/E ratio, in each case, as negotiated at the time the put option is exercised.

Given the perpetual nature of the put option and the various economic conditions which could be present at the time of exercise, our ultimate obligation in the event of exercise cannot be reliably estimated. The following table calculates our total obligation assuming, for illustrative purposes only, a range of P/E ratios for Visa Inc. and assuming that Visa Europe demonstrates $75 million of adjusted sustainable income at the date of exercise. The $75 million of assumed adjusted sustainable income provided below, for illustrative purposes only, is based on Visa Europe’s forecasted financial results for the year ended September 30, 2010. However, this does not represent an estimate of the amount of adjusted sustainable income Visa Europe would have been able to demonstrate at September 30, 2010 or will be able to demonstrate at any point in time in the future. Should Visa Europe elect to exercise its option, we believe it is likely that it will implement changes in its business operations to move to a for-profit model in order to maximize adjusted sustainable income and, as a result, to increase the purchase price. The table also provides the amount of increase or decrease in the payout, assuming the same range of estimated P/E ratios, for each $25 million of adjusted sustainable income above or below the assumed $75 million demonstrated at the time of exercise. At September 30, 2010, our estimated long-term P/E ratio was 18.8 and the long-term P/E differential, the difference between this ratio and the estimated ratio applicable to Visa Europe, was 3.5. At September 30, 2010, the spot P/E ratio was 15.7 and the spot P/E differential, the difference between this ratio and the estimated spot ratio applicable to Visa Europe, was 1.6. These ratios are for reference purposes only and are not necessarily indicative of the ratio or differential that could be applicable if the put option were exercised at any point in the future.

 

Visa Inc’s Forward

Price-to-Earnings Ratio

 

Payout Assuming

Adjusted Sustainable

Income of $75  million(1)

 

Increase/Decrease in Payout

for Each $25 million of

Adjusted Sustainable Income

Above/Below $75 million

    (in millions)   (in millions)

25

  $1,875   $625

20

  $1,500   $500

15

  $1,125   $375

 

(1)

Given the large range of different economic environments and circumstances under which Visa Europe could decide to exercise its option, the ultimate purchase price could be several billion dollars or more.

Pension and other postretirement benefits. We sponsor various qualified and nonqualified defined benefit pension plans which generally provide benefits based on years of service, age and eligible compensation. Employees hired before January 1, 2008, earn benefits based on their pay during their last five years of employment. Employees hired or rehired on or after January 1, 2008 earn benefits based on a cash balance formula. Effective January 1, 2011, all employees will accrue benefits under the cash balance formula and will cease to accrue benefits under any other formula. We also sponsor a postretirement benefit plan which provides postretirement medical benefits for retirees and dependents upon meeting minimum age and service requirements. Our policy with respect to our qualified pension plan is to contribute annually not less than the minimum required under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA. Our nonqualified pension and other postretirement benefit plans are

 

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funded on a current basis. We typically fund our qualified pension plan in September of each year. Funding does not impact current period pension expense but has the positive impact of reducing future period expense for the plan. In fiscal 2010, 2009 and 2008, we made contributions to our pension and other postretirement plans of $66 million, $170 million and $190 million, respectively. In fiscal 2011, we anticipate to fund our defined benefit pension plans and postretirement plan by approximately $60 million. The actual contribution amount will vary depending upon the funded status of the pension plan, movements in the discount rate, performance of the plan assets, and related tax consequences.

Capital expenditures. Our capital expenditures decreased during fiscal 2010 reflecting the completion of our new east coast data center in fiscal 2009. The new data center supports our technology objectives related to reliability, scalability, security and new product development. We expect capital expenditures to be approximately $250 million to $275 million in fiscal 2011, as we continue to make ongoing investments in technology and our payments system infrastructure.

Acquisition of CyberSource. On July 21, 2010, we completed our acquisition of CyberSource Corporation for approximately $2.0 billion in cash, or $1.8 billion net of cash received. The combination is expected to accelerate the growth of our eCommerce category and enhance the value of our network, product and service offerings to financial institutions, merchants, partners and consumers. See Note 6—CyberSource Acquisition to our consolidated financial statements.

Other uses. In addition to the principal uses of liquidity described above, we are also required to make interest and principal payments under our outstanding indebtedness. Our total outstanding principal balance of debt at September 30, 2010, net of unamortized issuance costs, was $44 million.

Fair Value Measurements—Financial Instruments

The assessment of fair value of our financial instruments is based on a fair value hierarchy that requires an entity to maximize the use of observable inputs and minimize the use of unobservable inputs when measuring fair value. Observable inputs are obtained from independent sources and can be validated by a third party, whereas unobservable inputs reflect assumptions regarding what a third party would use in pricing an asset or liability. As of September 30, 2010, our financial instruments measured at fair value on a recurring basis included approximately $5.7 billion of assets, of which $13 million, or less than 1%, had significant unobservable inputs. For these instruments, we lacked observable market data to corroborate either the non-binding market consensus prices or the non-binding broker quotes. At September, 30, 2010, debt instruments in this category included auction rate securities. See Note 5—Investments and Fair Value Measurements to our consolidated financial statements.

Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements

Our off-balance sheet arrangements primarily comprise guarantees. Visa has no off-balance sheet debt, other than lease and purchase order commitments as discussed below and reflected in our contractual obligations table.

Guarantees and Indemnifications

In 2001, Visa International entered into a 20-year lease agreement for premises in London to be occupied by Visa Europe and what is now the headquarters for our Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa operations. The lease is assigned to Visa Europe Services, Inc., or VESI, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Visa Europe, with Visa International acting as a guarantor to the landlord as required by the laws of the United Kingdom. In the event of a default by VESI, Visa International is obligated to make base lease payments. VESI has agreed to reimburse Visa International for any liabilities that may arise under Visa International’s guarantee to the landlord. Visa International has not made any payments under this guarantee and the estimated fair value of this guarantee was less than $1 million at September 30, 2010.

 

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We indemnify clients for settlement losses suffered by reason of the failure of any other customer to honor Visa cards, traveler’s cheques, or other instruments processed in accordance with our operating regulations. The amount of the indemnification is unlimited. We maintain global credit settlement risk policies and procedures to manage settlement risk which may require clients to post collateral if certain credit standards are not met. See Note 1—Summary of Significant Accounting Policies and Note 13—Settlement Guarantee Management to our consolidated financial statements.

In the ordinary course of business, we enter into contractual arrangements with financial institutions and other clients under which we may agree to indemnify the client for certain types of losses incurred relating to the services we provide or otherwise relating to our performance under the applicable agreement. See Note 19—Commitments and Contingencies to our consolidated financial statements.

Contractual Obligations

Our contractual commitments will have an impact on our future liquidity. The contractual obligations identified in the table below include both on- and off-balance sheet transactions that represent a material expected or contractually committed future obligation at September 30, 2010. We believe that we will be able to fund these obligations through cash generated from our operations and available credit facilities. See Note 3—Visa Europe, Note 11—Debt, Note 12—Pension, Postretirement and Other Benefits, Note 19—Commitments and Contingencies, and Note 22—Legal Matters to our consolidated financial statements.

 

     Payments Due by Period  
     Less than
1 Year
     1-3
Years
     3-5
Years
     More than
5 Years
     Total  
     (in millions)  

Purchase orders(1)

   $ 725       $ 102       $ 60       $ —         $ 887   

Leases(2)

     70         90         24         12         196   

Volume and support incentives(3)

     1,788         2,666         1,450         519         6,423   

Marketing and sponsorships(4)

     110         202         168         105         585   

Litigation settlement payments

     352         70         —           —           422   

Debt

     15         24         12         —           51   

Other(5)

     107         —           —           —           107   
                                            

Total(6, 7, 8)

   $ 3,167       $ 3,154       $ 1,714       $ 636       $ 8,671   
                                            

 

(1)

Represents agreements to purchase goods and services that are enforceable and legally binding and that specify significant terms, including: fixed or minimum quantities to be purchased and fixed, minimum or variable price provisions, and the approximate timing of the transaction.

(2)

Includes both operating and capital leases. Visa leases certain premises, equipment and software licenses under leases with varying expiration dates.

(3)

Represents future cash payments for volume and support incentive agreements with financial institutions and merchants under various programs designed to build sales volume and increase payment product acceptance. These agreements, which range in term from one to thirteen years, provide card issuance, marketing and program support based on specific performance requirements. Payments under these agreements will be offset by revenues earned from higher corresponding payments and transaction volumes. These payment amounts are estimates and will change based on customer performance, execution of new contracts, or amendments to existing contracts. Related amounts disclosed in Note 19—Commitments and Contingencies to our consolidated financial statements represent the associated expected future reduction of revenues related to these agreements.

(4)

Visa is a party to contractual sponsorship agreements ranging from approximately three years to sixteen years. These contracts are designed to help us increase Visa-branded cards and volumes. Over the life of these contracts, Visa is required to make payments in exchange for certain

 

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advertising and promotional rights. In connection with these contractual commitments, Visa has an obligation to spend certain minimum amounts for advertising and marketing promotion over the contract terms. For obligations where the individual years of spend are not specified in the contract, we have estimated the timing of when these amounts will be spent.

(5)

Includes dividend amount of $107 million as dividends were declared on October 20, 2010 and will be paid on December 7, 2010 to all holders of record of Visa’s common stock as of November 19, 2010.

(6)

We have liabilities for uncertain tax positions of $443 million, net of offsetting tax benefits associated with the corresponding effects of state and foreign income taxes. At September 30, 2010, we also accrued $58 million of interest and $10 million of penalties associated with our uncertain tax positions. We cannot determine the range of cash payments that will be made and the timing of the cash settlements associated with our uncertain tax positions. Therefore, no amounts related to these obligations have been included in the table.

(7)

Visa granted a perpetual put option to Visa Europe, which if exercised, will require us to purchase all of the outstanding shares of capital stock of Visa Europe from its members. Due to the perpetual nature of the instrument and the various economic conditions, which could exist when the put is exercised, the ultimate amount and timing of Visa’s obligation, if any, cannot be reliably estimated. Therefore, no amounts related to this obligation have been included in the table. The fair value of the Visa Europe put option itself totaling $267 million at September 30, 2010 has also been excluded from this table as it does not represent the amount or an estimate of the amount of Visa’s obligation in the event of exercise. See Liquidity and Critical Accounting Estimates sections of this Management’s Discussion and Analysis and Note 3—Visa Europe to our consolidated financial statements.

(8)

We evaluate the need to make contributions to our pension plan after considering the funded status of the pension plan, movements in the discount rate, performance of the plan assets, and related tax consequences. Expected contributions to our pension plan have not been included in the table as such amounts are dependent upon the considerations discussed above, and may result in a wide range of amounts. See Note 12—Pension, Postretirement and Other Benefits to our consolidated financial statements.

Critical Accounting Estimates

Our consolidated financial statements are prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America which requires us to make judgments, assumptions and estimates that affect the amounts reported. See Note 1—Summary of Significant Accounting Policies to our consolidated financial statements. We have established policies and control procedures which seek to ensure that estimates and assumptions are appropriately governed and applied consistently from period to period. However, actual results could differ from our assumptions and estimates, and such differences could be material.

We believe that the following accounting estimates are the most critical to fully understand and evaluate our reported financial results, as they require our most subjective or complex management judgments, resulting from the need to make estimates about the effect of matters that are inherently uncertain and unpredictable.

Revenue Recognition—Volume and Support Incentives

Critical Estimates. We enter into incentive agreements with clients, merchants and other business partners to build payments volume and to increase product acceptance. These incentives are generally accounted for as reductions of operating revenue or expense where an identifiable benefit can be identified. Certain volume and support incentives are based on performance targets and are accrued systematically and rationally based upon estimates of future performance. Other incentives are based

 

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on fixed payments and are generally deferred, if certain criteria are met. The deferability criteria include the existence of future benefits to Visa, the existence of legally enforceable recoverability clauses, management’s ability and intent to enforce the recoverability clauses and the ability to generate future earnings from the agreement in excess of the deferred amounts. Capitalized amounts are amortized over the period of contractual recoverability.

Assumptions and Judgment. Estimation of volume and support incentives relies on forecasts of payments volume, estimates of card issuance and card conversion. Performance is estimated using customer reported information, transactional information accumulated from our systems, historical information and discussions with our clients.

Impact if Actual Results Differ from Assumptions. If our clients’ actual performance or recoverable cash flows are not consistent with our estimates, volume and support incentives may be materially different than initially recorded. Increases in incentive payments are generally driven by increased payment and transaction volume. As a result, in the event incentive payments exceed estimates, such payments are not expected to have a material effect on our financial condition, results of operations or cash flows. The cumulative impact of a revision in estimates is recorded in the period such revisions become probable and estimable. For the year ended September 30, 2010, performance adjustments to volume and support agreements were less than 1% of our total operating revenues.

Fair Value—Visa Europe Put Option

Critical Estimates. We have granted Visa Europe a perpetual put option under which, if exercised, we are required to purchase all of the share capital of Visa Europe from its members at any time. The put option provides a formula for determining the purchase price of the Visa Europe shares, which, subject to certain adjustments, applies Visa Inc.’s forward price-to-earnings multiple, as defined in the agreement, at the time the option is exercised to Visa Europe’s adjusted sustainable income for the forward 12-month period, or the adjusted sustainable income. The calculation of Visa Europe’s adjusted sustainable income under the terms of the put option agreement includes potentially material adjustments for cost synergies and other negotiated items.

Upon exercise, the key inputs to this formula, including Visa Europe’s adjusted sustainable income, will be the result of negotiation between the Company and Visa Europe. The put option provides an arbitration mechanism in the event that the two parties are unable to agree on the ultimate purchase price. See Note 3—Visa Europe to our consolidated financial statements for further detail regarding the calculation of the put exercise price under the agreement.

The fair value of Visa Europe’s option was estimated to be approximately $267 million at September 30, 2010. While the put option is in fact non-transferable, this amount, recorded in our financial statements represents our estimate of the amount we would be required to pay a third party market participant to transfer the put option in an orderly transaction at the measurement date. The fair value of the put option is computed by comparing the estimated strike price, under the terms of the Put agreement, to the estimated fair value of Visa Europe. The fair value of Visa Europe is defined as the estimated amount a third party market participant might pay in an arm’s length transaction under normal business conditions. A probability of exercise assumption is applied to reflect the possibility that Visa Europe will never exercise its option.

While this amount represents the fair value of the put option at September 30, 2010, it does not represent the actual purchase price that we may be required to pay if the option is exercised, which could be several billion dollars or more. See the Liquidity and Capital Resources section of Management’s Discussion and Analysis for further discussion.

 

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Assumptions and Judgment. The most significant estimates used in the valuation of the fair value of the put option are the assumed probability that Visa Europe will elect to exercise its option and the estimated differential between the forward price-to-earnings multiple applicable to our common stock, as defined in the put option agreement, and that applicable to Visa Europe on a standalone basis at the time of exercise, which we refer to as the P/E differential.

Probability of Exercise—Exercise of the put option is at the sole discretion of Visa Europe (on behalf of the Visa Europe shareholders pursuant to authority granted to Visa Europe, under its articles of association). We estimate the assumed probability of exercise based on reasonably available information including, but not limited to: (i) Visa Europe’s stated intentions; (ii) indications that Visa Europe is preparing to exercise as reflected in its reported financial results; (iii) evaluation of market conditions, including the regulatory environment, that could impact the potential future profitability of Visa Europe; and (iv) qualitative factors applicable to Visa Europe’s largest members, which could indicate a change in their need or desire to liquidate their investment holdings.

P/E Differential—The P/E differential is determined by estimating the relative difference in the forward price-to-earnings multiples applicable to our common stock, as defined in the put option agreement, and that applicable to Visa Europe at the time of exercise. For valuation purposes, the forward price-to-earnings multiple applicable to our common stock at the time of exercise is estimated by evaluating various quantitative measures and qualitative factors. Quantitatively, we estimate our P/E ratio by dividing the average stock price over the preceding 24 months (the “long-term P/E calculation”) and the last 30 trading dates (the “30-day P/E calculation”) prior to the measurement date by the median estimate of our net income per share for the 12 months starting with the next calendar quarter immediately following the reporting date. This median earnings estimate is obtained from the Institutional Brokers’ Estimate System (I/B/E/S). We then determine the best estimate of our long-term price-to-earnings multiple for valuation purposes by qualitatively evaluating the 30-day P/E calculation as compared to the long-term P/E calculation. In this evaluation we examine both measures to determine whether differences, if any, are the result of a fundamental change in long-term value of the Company or the result of short-term market volatility or other non-Company specific market factors that may not be indicative of our long-term forward P/E. We believe, given the perpetual nature of the put option, that a market participant would more heavily weight long-term value indicators, as opposed to short-term indicators.

Factors that might indicate a fundamental change in long-term value include, but are not limited to, changes in the regulatory environment, client portfolio, long-term growth rates or new product innovation. A consistent methodology is applied to a group of comparable public companies used to estimate the forward price-to-earnings multiple applicable to Visa Europe. These estimates therefore are impacted by changes in stock prices and the financial market’s expectations of the future earnings of Visa Inc. and the comparable companies.

Other estimates of lesser significance applied include growth rates and foreign currency exchange rates applied in the calculation of Visa Europe’s adjusted sustainable income. The valuation model assumes a large range of annual growth rates, reflecting the different economic environments and circumstances under which Visa Europe could decide to exercise. The lowest growth rates assumed reflect Visa Europe’s current business model as an association, owned by its member banks, while the highest reflect a successful shift to a for-profit model in anticipation of exercise. The scenarios with higher growth rates are assigned a significantly higher probability in the valuation model, as we believe a market participant would more heavily weight these scenarios as it is likely that, should it choose to exercise its option, Visa Europe will seek to maximize the purchase price by adopting a for-profit business model in advance of exercising the put option. The foreign exchange rate used to translate Visa Europe’s results from Euros to U.S. dollars reflects a blend of forward exchange rates observed in the marketplace. The assumed timing of exercise of the put option used in the various modeled

 

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scenarios is not an overly significant assumption in the valuation, as obligations calculated in later years are more heavily discounted in the calculation of present value.

Impact if Actual Results Differ from Assumptions. In the determination of the fair value of the put option at September 30, 2010, we have assumed a 40% probability of exercise by Visa Europe at some point in the future and a P/E differential, at the time of exercise, of approximately 3.5x. The use of a probability of exercise that is 5% higher than our estimate would have resulted in an increase of approximately $33 million in the value of the put option. An increase of 1.0x in the assumed P/E differential would have resulted in an increase of approximately $81 million in the value of the put option. The put option is exercisable at any time at the sole discretion of Visa Europe. As such, the put option liability is included in accrued liabilities on our consolidated balance sheet at September 30, 2010. Classification in current liabilities is not an indication of management’s expectation of exercise and simply reflects the fact that this obligation could become payable within 12 months.

Fair Value—Goodwill and Intangible Assets

Critical Estimates. We are required to estimate the fair value and useful lives of assets acquired and liabilities assumed, including intangible assets, in a business combination. The difference between the purchase price and the fair value of the assets acquired and liabilities assumed is goodwill. We are subsequently required to assess assets acquired and goodwill for impairment.

Assumptions and Judgment. Judgment used in the valuation of assets and liabilities assumed in business combinations, including goodwill and intangible assets, can include the cash flows that an asset is expected to generate, the weighted average cost of capital and a discount rate determined by management. We believe that the assumptions made are comparable to those that market participants would use in making estimates of fair value. Determining the expected life of an intangible asset requires management’s judgment and is based on the evaluation of various factors, including the competitive environment, market share, customer history and macroeconomic situation. We determined that our Visa brand, customer relationships and Visa Europe franchise right are intangible assets with indefinite lives, based on our significant market share, history of strong revenue and cash flow performance, and historical retention rates. As a result of acquiring CyberSource in July 2010, we acquired intangible assets comprising customer relationships, tradenames and reseller relationships, which we determined have finite useful lives ranging from 5 to 15 years. See Note 6—CyberSource Acquisition and Note 9 – Intangible Assets, Net to our consolidated financial statements. Our assets acquired, liabilities assumed and related goodwill are assigned to respective reporting units, and goodwill impairment is assessed at the reporting unit level.

Indefinite-lived intangible assets. Annually or whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that impairment may exist, we test each category of indefinite-lived intangible assets for impairment on an aggregate basis, which may require the allocation of cash flows and/or an estimate of fair value to those assets or asset group. Impairment exists if the fair value of the indefinite-lived intangible asset is less than the carrying value. We rely on a number of factors when completing impairment assessment including a review of discounted future cash flows, business plans and use of present value techniques. As of July 1, 2010, we evaluated our indefinite-lived intangible assets for impairment and concluded there was no impairment as of that date. No recent events or changes in circumstances indicate that impairment may exist thereafter as reflected by the overall performance of our business and market capitalization.

Finite-lived intangible assets. We evaluate the recoverability of finite-lived intangible assets for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of an asset or asset group may not be recoverable. If the sum of expected undiscounted future cash flows is less than the carrying amount of an asset or asset group, an impairment loss is recognized. The loss is

 

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measured as the amount by which the carrying amount of the asset or asset group exceeds its fair value. No events or changes in circumstances indicate that finite-lived intangible assets were impaired as of September 30, 2010.

Goodwill. Review of goodwill impairment is completed annually or whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that impairment may exist. Goodwill impairment is reviewed using a two-step process that involves comparing the fair value of the reporting unit to its carrying value and comparing the implied fair value of reporting unit goodwill with the carrying amount of that goodwill. We rely on a number of factors when completing impairment assessment including a review of discounted future cash flows, business plans and use of present value techniques. We evaluated our goodwill for impairment on July 1, 2010, and concluded there was no impairment as of that date. Subsequent to this annual assessment, we completed the CyberSource acquisition on July 21, 2010, which resulted in an additional $1.2 billion in goodwill and established a second reporting unit. We allocate goodwill to reporting units based on the reporting unit expected to benefit from the acquisition. Of the $1.2 billion, approximately $0.8 billion was allocated to the second reporting unit. The remainder was allocated to our original reporting unit to reflect the incremental growth and synergy this acquisition will provide to our existing business. No recent events or changes in circumstances indicate that impairment exist as reflected by the business performance of our reporting units and overall market capitalization.

Impact if Actual Results Differ from Assumptions. If actual results are not consistent with our assumptions and estimates, we may be exposed to impairment charges. The carrying values of goodwill and intangible assets, net were $11.4 billion and $11.5 billion, respectively, including $10.9 billion of indefinite-lived intangible assets and $595 million of finite-lived intangible assets, net at September 30, 2010.

Legal and Regulatory Matters

Critical Estimates. We are currently involved in various legal proceedings, the outcomes of which are not within our complete control or may not be known for prolonged periods of time. Management is required to assess the probability of loss and amount of such loss, if any, in preparing our financial statements.

Assumptions and Judgment. We evaluate the likelihood of a potential loss from legal or regulatory proceedings to which we are a party. We record a liability for such claims when a loss is considered probable and the amount can be reasonably estimated. Significant judgment may be required in the determination of both probability and whether an exposure is reasonably estimable. Our judgments are subjective based on the status of the legal or regulatory proceedings, the merits of our defenses and consultation with in-house and outside legal counsel. As additional information becomes available, we reassess the potential liability related to pending claims and may revise our estimates.

Our retrospective responsibility plan only addresses monetary liabilities from settlements of, or final judgments in, the covered litigation. The plan’s mechanisms include the use of the litigation escrow account. The accrual related to covered litigation could be either higher or lower than the escrow account balance. We did not record an additional accrual for covered litigation during fiscal 2010. See Note 4—Retrospective Responsibility Plan to our consolidated financial statements.

Impact if Actual Results Differ from Assumptions. Due to the inherent uncertainties of the legal and regulatory processes in the multiple jurisdictions in which we operate, our judgments may be materially different than the actual outcomes, which could have material adverse effects on our business, financial conditions and results of operations. See Note 22—Legal Matters to our consolidated financial statements.

 

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Income Taxes

Critical Estimates. In calculating our effective tax rate, we make judgments regarding certain tax positions, including the timing and amount of deductions and allocations of income among various tax jurisdictions.

Assumptions and Judgment. We have various tax filing positions with regard to the timing and amount of deductions and credits, the establishment of reserves for audit matters and the allocation of income among various tax jurisdictions. We are also required to inventory, evaluate and measure all uncertain tax positions taken or to be taken on tax returns and to record liabilities for the amount of such positions that may not be sustained, or may only be partially sustained, upon examination by the relevant taxing authorities.

Impact if Actual Results Differ from Assumptions. Although we believe that our estimates and judgments are reasonable, actual results may differ from these estimates. Some or all of these judgments are subject to review by the taxing authorities, including our current and deferred tax benefits associated with the settlement of the American Express litigation and the Discover litigation and other matters. See Note 22—Legal Matters to our consolidated financial statements. If one or more of the taxing authorities were to successfully challenge our right to realize some or all of the tax benefit we have recorded, and we were unable to realize this benefit, it could have a material and adverse effect on our financial results and cash flows.

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk

Market risk is the potential economic loss arising from adverse changes in market factors. Our exposure to financial market risks results primarily from fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates, interest rates and equity prices. Cash and cash equivalents are not considered to be subject to significant interest rate risk due to the short period of time to maturity. Aggregate risk exposures are monitored on an ongoing basis. We do not hold or enter into derivatives or other financial instruments for trading or speculative purposes.

Foreign Currency Exchange Rate Risk

Although most of our activities are transacted in U.S. dollars, we are exposed to adverse fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates. Risks from foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations are primarily related to adverse changes in the dollar value of revenues generated from foreign currency-denominated transactions and adverse changes in the dollar value of payments in foreign currencies, primarily for expenses at our non-U.S. locations. We manage these risks by entering into foreign currency forward contracts with cash flow hedge accounting designation that hedge exposures of the variability in the U.S. dollar equivalent of anticipated non-U.S. dollar denominated cash flows. Our foreign currency exchange rate risk management program reduces, but does not entirely eliminate, the impact of foreign currency exchange rate movements.

We utilize a rolling hedge strategy program to reduce the exchange rate risk from forecasted net exposure of revenues derived from and payments made in foreign currencies during the immediately following 12 months. The aggregate notional amount of our foreign currency forward contracts outstanding in our exchange rate risk management program was $627 million and $742 million at September 30, 2010 and September 30, 2009, respectively. The aggregate notional amount of $627 million outstanding at September 30, 2010 is fully consistent with our strategy and treasury policy aimed at reducing foreign exchange risk below a predetermined and approved threshold. However, actual results for this period could materially differ from our forecast. The effect of a hypothetical 10% change of the U.S. dollar is estimated to create an additional fair value gain or loss of approximately $55 million on our foreign currency forward contracts outstanding at September 30, 2010. See Note 14Derivatives Financial Instruments to our consolidated financial statements.

 

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We are also subject to foreign currency exchange risk in daily settlement activities. This risk arises from the timing of rate setting for settlement with clients relative to the timing of market trades for balancing currency positions. Risk in settlement activities is limited through daily operating procedures, including the utilization of Visa settlement systems and our interaction with foreign exchange trading counterparties.

Interest Rate Risk

Our investment portfolio assets are held in both fixed-rate and adjustable-rate securities. These assets are included in cash equivalents, short-term available-for-sale investments and long-term available-for-sale investments. Investments in fixed rate instruments carry a degree of interest rate risk. The fair value of fixed rate securities may be adversely impacted due to a rise in interest rates. Additionally, a falling rate environment creates reinvestment risk because as securities mature the proceeds are reinvested at a lower rate, generating less interest income. Historically, we have been able to hold investments until maturity. Our operating results or cash flows have not been, and are not expected to be, materially impacted by a sudden change in market interest rates.

The fair value balances of our fixed-rate investment securities in fiscal 2010 and 2009 were $135 million and $176 million, respectively. A hypothetical 100 basis point increase or decrease in interest rates would not have a material impact on our investment portfolio at September 30, 2010. The fair value balances of our adjustable-rate debt securities were $13 million and $34 million at September 30, 2010 and 2009, respectively.

We also have fixed rate debt which is subject to interest rate risk. A hypothetical 100 basis point increase or decrease in interest rates would have impacted the fair value of the debt by approximately $1 million at September 30, 2010.

Visa Europe Put Option

We have a liability related to the put option with Visa Europe which is recorded at fair market value at September 30, 2010. We are required to record any change in the fair value of the put option on a quarterly basis. In the determination of the fair value of the put option at September 30, 2010, we have assumed a 40% probability of exercise by Visa Europe at some point in the future and a P/E differential, at the time of exercise, of approximately 3.5x. The use of a probability of exercise 5% higher than our estimate would have resulted in an increase of approximately $33 million in the value of the put option. An increase of 1.0x in the assumed P/E differential would have resulted in an increase of approximately $81 million in the value of the put option. See Liquidity and Capital Resources and Critical Accounting Estimates above.

Pension Plan Risks

Our U.S. defined benefit pension plan assets were $766 million and $703 million and projected benefit obligations were $743 million and $739 million at September 30, 2010 and September 30, 2009, respectively. A material adverse decline in the value of pension plan assets and/or the discount rate for benefit obligations would result in a decrease in the funded status of the plan, an increase in pension cost and an increase in required funding. We will continue to monitor the performance of pension plan assets and market conditions as we evaluate the amount of our contribution to the plan for fiscal 2011, which we expect to make in September 2011.

 

ITEM 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

Quantitative and qualitative disclosures about market risk are included in Item 7Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations of this report.

 

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ITEM 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

VISA INC.

INDEX TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

 

     Page  

As of September 30, 2010 and 2009 and for the years ended September 30, 2010, 2009 and 2008

  

Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

     66   

Consolidated Balance Sheets

     67   

Consolidated Statements of Operations

     69   

Consolidated Statements of Changes in Equity

     71   

Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Income

     73   

Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows

     74   

Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements

     76   

 

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Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

The Board of Directors and Stockholders

Visa Inc. and subsidiaries:

We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of Visa Inc. and subsidiaries as of September 30, 2010 and 2009, and the related consolidated statements of operations, changes in equity, comprehensive income, and cash flows for each of the years in the three-year period ended September 30, 2010. We also have audited Visa Inc.’s internal control over financial reporting as of September 30, 2010, based on criteria established in Internal Control – Integrated Framework issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO). Visa Inc.’s management is responsible for these consolidated financial statements, for maintaining effective internal control over financial reporting, and for its assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting, included in the accompanying Management’s Report on Internal Control Over Financial Reporting. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on these consolidated financial statements and an opinion on the Company’s internal control over financial reporting based on our audits.

We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States). Those standards require that we plan and perform the audits to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement and whether effective internal control over financial reporting was maintained in all material respects. Our audits of the consolidated financial statements included examining, on a test basis, evidence supporting the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements, assessing the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, and evaluating the overall financial statement presentation. Our audit of internal control over financial reporting included obtaining an understanding of internal control over financial reporting, assessing the risk that a material weakness exists, and testing and evaluating the design and operating effectiveness of internal control based on the assessed risk. Our audits also included performing such other procedures as we considered necessary in the circumstances. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinions.

A company’s internal control over financial reporting is a process designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. A company’s internal control over financial reporting includes those policies and procedures that (1) pertain to the maintenance of records that, in reasonable detail, accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and dispositions of the assets of the company; (2) provide reasonable assurance that transactions are recorded as necessary to permit preparation of financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, and that receipts and expenditures of the company are being made only in accordance with authorizations of management and directors of the company; and (3) provide reasonable assurance regarding prevention or timely detection of unauthorized acquisition, use, or disposition of the company’s assets that could have a material effect on the financial statements.

Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Also, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate.

In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of Visa Inc. and subsidiaries as of September 30, 2010 and 2009, and the results of their operations and their cash flows for each of the years in the three-year period ended September 30, 2010, in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles. Also in our opinion, Visa Inc. maintained, in all material respects, effective internal control over financial reporting as of September 30, 2010, based on criteria established in Internal Control – Integrated Framework issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission.

/s/ KPMG LLP

San Francisco, California

November 19, 2010

 

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VISA INC.

CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS

 

     September 30,
2010
     September 30,
2009
 
     (in millions, except par value data)  

Assets

     

Cash and cash equivalents

   $ 3,867       $ 4,617   

Restricted cash—litigation escrow (Note 4)

     1,866         1,365   

Investment securities

     

Trading (Note 5)

     60         59   

Available-for-sale (Note 5)

     124         56   

Settlement receivable

     402         605   

Accounts receivable

     476         444   

Customer collateral (Note 13)

     899         812   

Current portion of volume and support incentives

     175         214   

Current portion of deferred tax assets (Note 21)

     623         703   

Prepaid expenses and other current assets (Note 7)

     242         366   
                 

Total current assets

     8,734         9,241   

Restricted cash—litigation escrow (Note 4)

     70         350   

Investment securities, available-for-sale (Note 5)

     24         168   

Volume and support incentives

     101         102   

Property, equipment and technology, net (Note 8)

     1,357         1,204   

Other assets (Note 7)

     197         125   

Intangible assets, net (Note 9)

     11,478         10,883   

Goodwill

     11,447         10,208   
                 

Total assets

   $ 33,408       $ 32,281   
                 

Liabilities

     

Accounts payable

   $ 137       $ 156   

Settlement payable

     406         634   

Customer collateral (Note 13)

     899         812   

Accrued compensation and benefits

     370         396   

Volume and support incentives

     418         284   

Accrued liabilities (Note 10)

     625         754   

Current portion of long-term debt (Note 11)

     12         12   

Current portion of accrued litigation (Note 22)

     631         1,394   
                 

Total current liabilities

     3,498         4,442   

Long-term debt (Note 11)

     32         44   

Accrued litigation (Note 22)

     66         323   

Deferred tax liabilities (Note 21)

     4,181         3,807   

Other liabilities (Note 10)

     617         472   
                 

Total liabilities

     8,394         9,088   
                 

Commitments and contingencies (Note 19)

     

 

See accompanying notes, which are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.

 

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VISA INC.

CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS—(Continued)

 

     September 30,
2010
    September 30,
2009
 
     (in millions, except par value data)  

Equity

    

Preferred stock, $0.0001 par value, 25 shares authorized and none issued

   $ —        $ —     

Class A common stock, $0.0001 par value, 2,001,622 shares authorized, 493 and 470 shares issued and outstanding at September 30, 2010 and September 30,2009, respectively (Note 16)

     —          —     

Class B common stock, $0.0001 par value, 622 shares authorized, 245 shares issued and outstanding at September 30, 2010 and September 30, 2009 (Note 16)

     —          —     

Class C common stock, $0.0001 par value, 1,097 shares authorized, 97 and 131 shares issued and outstanding at September 30, 2010 and September 30, 2009, respectively (Note 16)

     —          —     

Additional paid-in capital

     20,794        21,160   

Class C treasury stock (Note 16)

     —          (2

Accumulated income

     4,368        2,219   

Accumulated other comprehensive loss, net

    

Investment securities, available-for-sale

     3        10   

Defined benefit pension and other postretirement plans

     (115     (136

Derivative instruments

     (40     (58

Foreign currency translation gain (loss)

     1        (4
                

Total accumulated other comprehensive loss, net

     (151     (188
                

Total Visa Inc. stockholders’ equity

     25,011        23,189   

Non-controlling interest

     3        4   

Total equity

     25,014        23,193   
                

Total liabilities and equity

   $ 33,408      $ 32,281   
                

See accompanying notes, which are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.

 

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VISA INC.

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS

 

     For the Years Ended
September 30,
 
         2010             2009             2008      
     (in millions, except per share data)  

Operating Revenues

      

Service revenues

   $ 3,497      $ 3,174      $ 3,061   

Data processing revenues

     3,125        2,430        2,073   

International transaction revenues

     2,290        1,916        1,721   

Other revenues

     713        625        569   

Volume and support incentives

     (1,560     (1,234     (1,161
                        

Total operating revenues

     8,065        6,911        6,263   
                        

Operating Expenses

      

Personnel

     1,222        1,228        1,314   

Network, EDP and communications

     425        393        339   

Advertising, marketing and promotion

     964        918        1,016   

Professional and consulting fees

     286        268        323   

Depreciation and amortization

     265        226        237   

Administrative and other

     359        338        332   

Litigation provision (Note 22)

     (45     2        1,470   
                        

Total operating expenses

     3,476        3,373        5,031   
                        

Operating income

     4,589        3,538        1,232   
                        

Other Income (Expense)

      

Equity in earnings of unconsolidated affiliates

     (7     —          1   

Interest expense

     (72     (115     (143

Investment income, net (Note 5)

     49        575        211   

Other

     79        2        35   
                        

Total other income

     49        462        104   
                        

Income before income taxes

     4,638        4,000        1,336   

Income tax expense

     1,674        1,648        532   
                        

Net income including non-controlling interest

     2,964        2,352        804   

Loss attributable to non-controlling interest

     2        1        —     
                        

Net income attributable to Visa Inc.

   $ 2,966      $ 2,353      $ 804   
                        

Basic earnings per share (Note 17)

      

Class A common stock

   $ 4.03      $ 3.10      $ 0.96   
                        

Class B common stock

   $ 2.31      $ 1.98      $ 0.85   
                        

Class C common stock

   $ 4.03      $ 3.10     
                  

Class C (series I) common stock

       $ 0.96   
            

Class C (series II) common stock

       $ 0.79   
            

Class C (series III and IV) common stock

       $ 0.96   
            

 

See accompanying notes, which are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.

 

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VISA INC.

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS—(Continued)

 

     For the Years Ended
September 30,
 
         2010              2009              2008      
     (in millions, except per share data)  

Basic weighted average shares outstanding (Note 17)

        

Class A common stock

     482         451         239   
                          

Class B common stock

     245         245         333   
                          

Class C common stock

     112         148      
                    

Class C (series I) common stock

           191   
              

Class C (series II) common stock

           56   
              

Class C (series III and IV) common stock

           44   
              

Diluted earnings per share (Note 17)

        

Class A common stock

   $ 4.01       $ 3.10       $ 0.96   
                          

Class B common stock

   $ 2.30       $ 1.98       $ 0.85   
                          

Class C common stock

   $ 4.01       $ 3.10      
                    

Class C (series I) common stock

         $ 0.96   
              

Class C (series II) common stock

         $ 0.79   
              

Class C (series III and IV) common stock

         $ 0.96   
              

Diluted weighted average shares outstanding (Note 17)

        

Class A common stock

     739         759         770   
                          

Class B common stock

     245         245         333   
                          

Class C common stock

     112         148      
                    

Class C (series I) common stock

           191   
              

Class C (series II) common stock

           56   
              

Class C (series III and IV) common stock

           44   
              

See accompanying notes, which are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.

 

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VISA INC.

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CHANGES IN EQUITY

 

    Common Stock                                      
    Class A     Class B     Class C(1)     Class C
(series II)
    Class C
(series III
and
series IV)
    Additional
Paid-In
Capital
    Treasury
Stock
    Accumulated
Income
(Deficit)
    Accumulated
Other
Comprehensive
Loss
    Non-
Controlling
Interests
    Total
Equity
(Deficit)
 
    (in millions, except per share data)  

Balance as of September 30, 2007(2)

    —          —          —          —          —        $ —        $ —        $ (501   $ —        $ 38      $ (463
                                                                                       

Tax adjustment as a result of adoption of FASB ASC 740

                  8            8   

Net income attributable to Visa Inc.

                  804            804   

Other comprehensive loss, net of tax

                    (70       (70
                           

Comprehensive income including non-controlling interest

                        734   

Elimination of non-controlling interests as part of reorganization

                      (38     (38

Issuance of regional classes of common stock

      426        258            12,613                12,613   

Issuance of class EU (series I and series III) common stock

            63        3,068                3,068   

Issuance of class EU (series II) common stock

          28          1,104                1,104   

Conversion of regional common stock in the true-up (Note 16)

      (26     27            1,150                1,150   

Issuance of class C (series II) common stock

          52          —                  —     

Reclassification of common stock upon IPO:

                     

Class C (series III) common stock to liabilities (Note 16)

            (35     (1,508             (1,508

Class C (series II) common stock to temporary equity (Note 16)

          (80       (1,104       (21         (1,125

Proceeds from issuance of class A common stock, net of offering expenses of $586 (Note 16)

    447                19,064                19,064   

Issuance of restricted share awards

    1                —                  —     

Redemption of class B and class C common stock (Note 16)

      (155     (160         (13,446             (13,446

Accretion of class C (series II) common stock

                  (19         (19

Share-based compensation (Note 18)

              80                80   

Cash dividends declared and paid, at a quarterly amount of $0.105 per as-converted share

                  (93         (93

Impact of cash dividend declaration on class C (series II) common stock

                  8            8   

Special IPO dividends received from cost-method investees (Note 16)

        (1         39        (35           4   
                                                                                       

Balance as of September 30, 2008

    448        245        124        —          28      $ 21,060      $ (35   $ 186      $ (70   $ —        $ 21,141   
                                                                                       

Net income attributable to Visa Inc.

                  2,353            2,353   

Loss attributable to non-controlling interest

                      (1     (1

Other comprehensive loss, net of tax

                    (118       (118
                           

Comprehensive income including non-controlling interest

                        2,234   

Issuance of restricted share awards

    1                —                  —     

Conversion of class C (series III) and class C (series IV) into class C (series I) common stock (Note 16)

        28          (28               —     

 

See accompanying notes, which are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.

 

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VISA INC.

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CHANGES IN EQUITY—(Continued)

 

    Common Stock                                      
    Class A     Class B     Class C(1)     Class C
(series II)
    Class C
(series III
and
series IV)
    Additional
Paid-In
Capital
    Treasury
Stock
    Accumulated
Income
(Deficit)
    Accumulated
Other
Comprehensive
Loss
    Non-
Controlling
Interests
    Total
Equity
(Deficit)
 
    (in millions, except per share data)  

Conversion of class C common stock upon sale into public market (Note 16)

    21          (21                   —     

Share-based compensation (Note 18)

              115                115   

Excess tax benefit for share-based compensation

              7                7   

Cash proceeds from exercise of stock options

              32                32   

Restricted stock instruments settled in cash for taxes

              (22             (22

Accretion of class C (series II) common stock

                  (2         (2

Cash dividends declared and paid, at a quarterly amount of $0.105 per as-converted share

                  (318         (318

Gain upon issuance of equity interest in joint venture (Note 1)

              6                6   

Retirement of treasury stock

              (39     34              (5

Special IPO dividends received from cost-method investees (Note 16)

              1        (1           —     

Investment in partially-owned consolidated subsidiary

                      5        5   
                                                                                       

Balance as of September 30, 2009

    470        245        131        —          —        $ 21,160      $ (2   $ 2,219      $ (188   $ 4      $ 23,193   
                                                                                       

Net income attributable to Visa Inc.

                  2,966            2,966   

Loss attributable to non-controlling interest

                      (2     (2

Other comprehensive income, net of tax

                    37          37   
                           

Comprehensive income including non-controlling interest

                        3,001   

Issuance of restricted share awards

    1                          —     

Conversion of class C common stock upon sale into public market (Note 16)

    34          (34                   —     

Share-based compensation (Note 18)

              131                131   

Excess tax benefit for share-based compensation

              14                14   

Cash proceeds from exercise of stock options

    1                56                56   

Restricted stock instruments settled in cash for taxes

              (14             (14

Cash dividends declared and paid, at a quarterly amount of $0.125 per as-converted share (Note 16)

                  (368         (368

Retirement of treasury stock

              (2     2              —     

Repurchase of class A common stock (Note 16)

    (13             (551       (449         (1,000

Special IPO dividends received from cost-method investees (Note 16)

              1                1   

Investment in partially-owned consolidated subsidiary

              (1           1        —     
                                                                                       

Balance as of September 30, 2010

    493        245        97        —          —        $ 20,794      $ —        $ 4,368      $ (151   $ 3      $ 25,014   
                                                                                       

 

(1)

Shares of class C (series I) common stock were designated as class C common stock with no series designation upon October 2008 redemption.

(2)

Historical balances for periods prior to October 1, 2007 represent balances for Visa U.S.A., the accounting acquirer in the October 2007 reorganization.

See accompanying notes, which are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.

 

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VISA INC.

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF COMPREHENSIVE INCOME

 

     For the Years Ended
September 30,
 
     2010     2009     2008  
     (in millions)  

Net income including non-controlling interest

   $ 2,964      $ 2,352      $ 804   

Other comprehensive income (loss), net of tax:

      

Investment securities, available-for-sale

      

Net unrealized (loss) gain (Note 5)

     (10     18        (27

Income tax effect

     4        (7     11   

Reclassification adjustment for net (gain) loss realized in net income including non-controlling interest

     (1     (3     25   

Income tax effect

     —          1        (10

Defined benefit pension and other postretirement plans

     35        (112     (104

Income tax effect

     (14     42        40   

Derivative instruments

      

Net unrealized (loss) gain

     (28     (92     2   

Income tax effect

     6        30        (1

Reclassification adjustment for net loss (gain) realized in net income including non-controlling interest

     61        6        (2

Income tax effect

     (21     (2     1   

Foreign currency translation gain (loss)

     5        1        (5
                        

Other comprehensive income (loss), net of tax

     37        (118     (70
                        

Comprehensive income including non-controlling interest

   $ 3,001      $ 2,234      $ 734   

Comprehensive loss attributable to non-controlling interest

     2        1        —     
                        

Comprehensive income attributable to Visa Inc.

   $ 3,003      $ 2,235      $ 734   
                        

See accompanying notes, which are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.

 

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VISA INC.

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS

 

     For the Years Ended
September 30,
 
     2010     2009     2008  
     (in millions)  

Operating Activities

      

Net income including non-controlling interest

   $ 2,964      $ 2,352      $ 804   

Adjustments to reconcile net income including non-controlling interest to net cash provided by operating activities:

      

Gain on sale of other investments

     (6     (473     —     

Depreciation and amortization of property, equipment and technology

     265        226        237   

Share-based compensation

     131        115        74   

Excess tax benefit for share-based compensation

     (14     (7     —     

Restricted stock instruments settled in cash for taxes

     (14     (22     —     

Fair value adjustment for liability under the Framework Agreement

     —          —          (35

Fair value adjustment for the Visa Europe put option

     (79     —          —     

Interest earned on litigation escrow, net of tax

     (1     (15     (13

Net recognized (gain) loss on investment securities, including other-than-temporary impairment

     (21     5        34   

Asset impairment

     3        11        34   

Loss on disposal of property, equipment and technology

     —          2        —     

Amortization of volume and support incentives

     1,560        1,234        1,161   

Litigation provision and accretion

     (18     95        1,601   

Equity in earnings of unconsolidated affiliates

     7        —          (1

Deferred income taxes

     249        297        (27

Change in operating assets and liabilities:

      

Trading securities

     (1     34        —     

Accounts receivable

     (7     (102     (24

Settlement receivable

     203        526        (543

Volume and support incentives

     (1,386     (1,136     (1,378

Other assets

     (41     (109     (158

Accounts payable

     (21     (3     (10

Settlement payable

     (245     (461     451   

Accrued compensation and benefits

     (26     (23     (115

Accrued and other liabilities

     191        213        (33

Accrued litigation

     (1,002     (2,201     (1,525

Member deposits

     —          —          (3
                        

Net cash provided by operating activities

     2,691        558        531   
                        

Investing Activities

      

Investment securities, available-for-sale:

      

Purchases

     (11     (7     (1,509

Proceeds from sales and maturities

     67        297        2,458   

Distribution from money market investment

     89        884        —     

Reclassification of money market investment

     —          —          (983

Purchases of/contributions to other investments

     (17     (48     (25

Proceeds from sale of other investments

     9        1,008        —     

Dividends/distributions from other investments

     2        2        22   

Acquisition, net of cash received of $147

     (1,805     —          —     

Cash acquired through reorganization

     —          —          1,002   

Purchases of property, equipment and technology

     (241     (306     (415

Proceeds from disposal of property, equipment and technology

     3        —          4   
                        

Net cash (used in) provided by investing activities

     (1,904     1,830        554   
                        

 

See accompanying notes, which are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.

 

74


Table of Contents

VISA INC.

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS—(Continued)

 

     For the Years Ended
September 30,
 
     2010     2009     2008  
     (in millions)  

Financing Activities

      

Proceeds from short-term borrowing

     —          —          2   

Payments on short-term borrowing

     —          —          (2

Proceeds from sale of common stock, net of issuance costs of $550

     —          —          19,100   

Excess tax benefit for share-based compensation

     14        7        —     

Cash proceeds from exercise of stock options

     56        32        —     

Funding of litigation escrow account—Retrospective Responsibility Plan

     (500     (1,800     (3,000

Payment from litigation escrow account—Retrospective Responsibility Plan

     280        2,028        1,085   

Funding of tax escrow account for income tax withheld on stock proceeds

     —          —          (116

Payments from tax escrow account

     —          —          116   

Payment for redemption of stock

     —          (2,646     (13,446

Dividends paid

     (368     (318     (93

Principal payments on debt

     (12     (50     (18

Principal payments on capital lease obligations

     (12     (4     (4

Repurchase of class A common stock

     (1,000     —          —     
                        

Net cash (used in) provided by financing activities

     (1,542     (2,751     3,624   
                        

Effect of exchange rate changes on cash and cash equivalents

     5        1