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Visa credit cards – which are provided through the Visa International brand – have a history that can be traced back to 1958, when Bank of America launched its BankAmericard program in California. Launching that charge card marked the birth of the credit card industry, and in the 1970s that original credit card evolved into the Visa Card. The name Visa was chosen by the company’s founder who thought that it would translate easily into different languages while conveying the idea of worldwide acceptance.
Visa International provides credit cards through more than 20,000 different financial institutions. Visa doesn’t actually issue cards directly to consumers but instead provides a Visa credit card processing system and brand and those banks and other businesses that issue the Visa cards set their own interest rates, create their own rewards programs, send out their own offers, and provide their own credit card customer service.
Cardholders in more than 150 countries use Visa card branded plastic, and there are more than 1 billion Visa credit cards in circulation. These cards account for more than $3 trillion per year in transactions, and Visa credit cards (and debit cards) are accepted by millions of merchants throughout the world.