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Visa supports economic recovery by helping millions of small businesses


  • Global campaign to help 50 million small businesses adapt, reopen and get back to business, while encouraging consumers to support their local businesses and communities
  • In Europe, Visa is working closely with its network of industry, technology and community partners to support eight million small businesses impacted by the economic shutdown in Europe

LONDON, JUNE 22, 2020 – Building on its long-standing commitment to champion small businesses, Visa Inc. (NYSE:V) today announces an initiative to digitally enable eight million small businesses in Europe, and support the communities they serve in the recovery process, following the Covid-19 pandemic. Globally, Visa is committing to digitally enabling 50 million more small and micro businesses over the recovery period.

Small businesses will play a vital role in helping communities across Europe recover – they account for over half of the GDP and two-thirds of employment in the region[1]. Recent studies show that small businesses were hit hard by Covid-19 with personal services, hospitality and retail reporting the greatest losses.

Many could find the road to recovery challenging as new data from Visa reveals a shift in consumer behaviour with online purchases rising by at least 25 percent in some European countries[2]. In addition, contactless is now the preferred mode of payment for Europeans, with two in three in-store purchases being made by contactless cards or mobile phones[3].

Adapting to this changing environment will be a priority for small business owners. However research by Visa found that less than one in two across Europe are enabled to accept payment online[4]. By drawing on its network of financial institutions, technology and community partners, Visa aims to help small business adapt, build digital capabilities and meet consumer demand for cashless payments – both online and in-stores.

“Where you shop matters now more than ever.Small businesses are the backbone of local economies - they create jobs, foster innovation and keep income within local communities. Their survival will be key to how our economies recover from this current crisis.“ said Charlotte Hogg, Chief Executive Officer, for Visa in Europe. “To ensure they get the support needed, we're enlisting the help of our partners - big and small - to provide the tools, resources and expertise that will help small businesses adapt and build for the future.”

Visa’s commitment to small businesses is also supported by AIB Merchant Services, Barclays, Bambora, BBVA, CaixaBank, Deliveroo,, eBay, Elavon, Fiserv, Ingenico Group, iZettle, Lloyds Bank Cardnet, Orderbird, Nebenan, Nexi, Paysme, SafeCharge,, Shopify and SumUp with more partners expected to join in the effort. It combines Visa’s expertise in digital commerce with the capabilities of its clients and partners to provide much needed assistance to Europe’s small business community.

Rob Cameron, CEO of Barclaycard Payments, said: “Small businesses have been some of the hardest hit by the current crisis, but the good news is that there are early signs of progress – at Barclaycard we’ve already seen a 44% increase in the number of SME clients actively taking payments since the start of lockdown. While we don’t expect an overnight recovery, the resilience and perseverance of small businesses gives us optimism as we look towards the next 12 to 24 months. Working in partnership with Visa, we will continue to support UK SMEs by investing in the development of faster and smoother payment systems, to help them grow and adapt in the current economic climate.”

“At Shopify, we aim to remove the barriers that exist to entrepreneurs starting new online commerce shops and helping small businesses scale to the next level,” said Roman Rochel, Head of EMEA at Shopify. “During the current pandemic we’ve seen both businesses and customers come online in even greater numbers, from people buying more locally to traditional companies coming online for the first time. Together, with partners like Visa we are aiming to make the online transition as seamless as possible.”

“Elavon has helped small businesses get back to trading as quickly and as easily as possible,” says Simon Tune, Head of Commercial, Elavon. “In addition to providing uninterrupted operational and commercial support, we have offered our customers more flexible and contactless solutions so that they can expedite social distancing initiatives while maintaining revenues. This work has included implementing new transaction limits at Point-of-Sale terminals, and extending online, in App and telephone payments capabilities.”

The initiative provides support in three strategic areas that are critical to the economic recovery of European communities:

  • Enabling SMEs to build an online presence: One in two consumers are doing more shopping online than before the pandemic[5]. For time strapped small business, taking a business online can be a costly, daunting process. That’s why Visa is working with partners to help enable small businesses to build a digital presence quickly by providing the necessary tools, resources and advice.
  • Empowering small firms to take advantage of digital payments: Covid-19 has accelerated the need to for small business owners to offer consumers a safe and convenient way to pay. Visa is working with a range of partners to increase the number of locations where consumers can pay by card or mobile phone and pledging to help eight million more small businesses being able to embrace and grow through digital commerce
  • Encourage consumers to support small businesses: Research shows that consumers value their local and independent businesses and would like to support them when possible[6]. As businesses across Europe begin to reopen, Visa has launched several initiatives to encourage and incentivise consumers to “shop local”, and to remind them that Where You Shop Matters.

Today’s announcement follows a global commitment from the Visa Foundation announced in April, to provide $210 million in COVID-19 relief funding to address the longer-term needs of the small and micro business community over the next five years.

As the trusted engine of commerce, Visa is committed to leveraging its global network of networks to help the world adapt, rebuild and get everyone back to business.

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About Visa

Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is the world’s leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network - enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of digital commerce on any device, for everyone, everywhere. As the world moves from analog to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce. For more information, visit About Visa, and @VisaNews.

[1]European Commission, 2019

[2] VisaNet data, April 2020 [vs April 2019]

[3] VisaNet data].

[4] Visa SME acceptance survey October 2019- Research commissioned by Visa and conducted by Incite through research study in October 2019, n6,456 respondents, small businesses up to €10 million turnover or equivalent, 50 employees and ATV under €500 or equivalent

[5] GWI coronavirus findings April 2020 - Multi-Market Research (Release 5)

[6] Zendesk SMB Survey Report- September 2019