Form 10-K
Table of Contents

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, 2007

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 333-143966

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:    NONE

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:    NONE

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes  ¨    No  þ

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  ¨    No  þ

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.    þ

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

Large accelerated filer  ¨            Accelerated filer  ¨            Non-accelerated filer  þ

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

Aggregate market value of registrant’s common stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant at March 30, 2007:    Not applicable.

The common stock of Visa Inc. is not listed on any securities exchange or quoted on any automated quotation system. Accordingly, no aggregate market value of Visa Inc.’s common stock held by non-affiliates has been established.

At December 15, 2007, there were 119,100,481.00005 shares of Class AP, 22,034,685.00000 shares of Class Canada, 36,749,698.00003 shares of Class CEMEA, 90,577,252.00000 shares of Class EU, 80,137,915.00009 shares of Class LAC and 557,982,489.00018 shares of Class USA common stock of Visa Inc. issued and outstanding.

Documents incorporated by reference:    NONE


Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

          Page

PART I

  
Item 1    Business    4
Item 1A    Risk Factors    28
Item 1B    Unresolved Staff Comments    49
Item 2    Properties    49
Item 3    Legal Proceedings    49
Item 4    Submission of Matters to a Vote of Security Holders    69
PART II   
Item 5    Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities    70
Item 6    Selected Financial Data    70
Item 7    Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations    72
Item 7A    Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk    98
Item 8    Financial Statements and Supplementary Data    99
Item 9    Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosures    164
Item 9A    Controls and Procedures    164
Item 9B    Other Information    164
PART III   
Item 10    Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance    165
Item 11    Executive Compensation    172
Item 12    Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters    195
Item 13    Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence    199
Item 14    Principal Accountant Fees and Services    204
PART IV   

Item 15

  

Exhibits, Financial Statement Schedules

   206

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 Form 10-K contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements include, but are not limited to:

 

   

statements regarding the expected growth of the electronic payments industry;

 

   

expectations as to the benefits of the recent reorganization;

 

   

projections as to the future trends in the electronic payments industry, as well as our corresponding business strategies and the expected benefits derived from such strategies;

 

   

statements regarding our relationships with customers and expectations as to the future development of these relationships;

 

   

statements regarding the capabilities and advantages of our processing platform, VisaNet;

 

   

statements as to the market opportunities for certain product segments and in certain geographies, as well as our ability to take advantage of these opportunities;

 

   

statements as to future foreign and domestic regulatory changes and their impact on our business;

 

   

statements as to the impact of litigation and the operation of our retrospective responsibility plan; and

 

   

statements regarding the capacity of our facilities.

In addition, statements that contain the terms “anticipate,” “believe,” “continue,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “potential,” “predict,” “project,” “should,” “will” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. In addition, any underlying assumptions are forward-looking statements. By their nature, forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance or results and are subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions that are difficult to predict or quantify. Therefore, actual results could differ materially and adversely from these forward-looking statements as a result of a variety of factors, including all the risks discussed in Item 1A—“Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this report. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such statements, which speak only at the date of this report. Unless we are required to do so under U.S. federal securities laws or other applicable laws, we do not intend to update or revise any forward-looking statements.

 

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PART I

 

ITEM 1. Business

Visa operates the world’s largest retail electronic payments network and manages the world’s most recognized global financial services brand. We have more branded credit and debit cards in circulation, more transactions and greater total volume than any of our competitors. We facilitate global commerce through the transfer of value and information among financial institutions, merchants, consumers, businesses and government entities. We provide financial institutions, our primary customers, with product platforms encompassing consumer credit, debit, prepaid and commercial payments. VisaNet, our secure, centralized, global processing platform, enables us to provide financial institutions and merchants with a wide range of product platforms, transaction processing and related value-added services. Based on the size of our network, the strength of the Visa brand and the breadth and depth of our products and services, we believe we are the leading electronic payments company in the world.

Our business primarily consists of the following:

 

   

we own a family of well known, widely accepted payment brands, including Visa, Visa Electron, PLUS and Interlink, which we license to our customers for use in their payment programs;

 

   

we manage and promote our brands for the benefit of our customers through advertising, promotional and sponsorship initiatives and by encouraging card usage and merchant acceptance;

 

   

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

 

   

we provide transaction processing services (primarily authorization, clearing and settlement) to our customers through VisaNet, our secure, centralized, global processing platform;

 

   

we provide various other value-added services to our customers, including risk management, debit issuer processing, loyalty services, dispute management and value-added information services;

 

   

we develop new products and services to enable our customers to offer efficient and effective payment methods to their cardholders and merchants; and

 

   

we adopt and enforce a common set of rules adhered to by our customers to ensure the efficient and secure functioning of our payments network and the maintenance and promotion of our brands.

 

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We derive revenues primarily from fees paid by our customers based on payments volume, transactions that we process and certain other related services that we provide. Payments volume is the total monetary value of transactions for goods and services purchased with our cards, as reported by our customers. Cash volume generally includes cash access transactions, balance transfers and convenience check transactions associated with our products. Total volume, which we consider to be an important measure of the scale of our business, is the sum of payments volume and cash volume. An increasing portion of our revenues come from outside the United States, including Asia Pacific (AP) and Latin America and Caribbean (LAC), where macroeconomic and electronic payments trends provide attractive growth prospects. The table below shows our product performance for the twelve months ended June 30, 2007, according to data reported to us by our customers:

Visa Inc. Product Performance

Twelve Months Ended June 30, 2007

All numbers in billions, except as noted

 

     U.S.A.    Canada    AP    LAC    CEMEA(4)    Visa Inc.

Payments Volume

                 

Consumer credit

   $ 624    $ 125    $ 410    $ 80    $ 19    $ 1,258

Consumer debit(1)

     637      —        23      41      29      730

Commercial and other

     188      16      66      6      2      278
                                         

Total Payments Volume

   $ 1,449    $ 141    $ 499    $ 127    $ 50    $ 2,266

Cash volume

     382      18      248      296      272      1,216
                                         

Total Volume(2)

   $ 1,831    $ 159    $ 747    $ 423    $ 322    $ 3,482

Total transactions (in millions)(3)

     25,942      1,370      7,911      6,227      2,591      44,041

(1) Includes prepaid volume.
(2) Total volume is the sum of total payments volume and cash volume. Total payments volume is the total monetary value of transactions for goods and services that are purchased. Cash volume generally consists of cash access transactions, balance access transactions, balance transfers and convenience checks.
(3) Total transactions represents transactions involving our cards as reported by our customers and includes transactions that are not processed on our VisaNet processing system.
(4) Includes Bulgaria and Romania through March 31, 2007, after which time they became part of Visa Europe.

Our Reorganization

We completed a reorganization in October 2007. Prior to our reorganization, Visa operated as five corporate entities related by ownership and membership: Visa U.S.A., Visa International (comprising the operating regions of Asia Pacific (AP), Latin America and Caribbean (LAC), and Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMEA)), Visa Canada, Visa Europe and Inovant, which operated the VisaNet transaction processing system and other related processing systems. Each of Visa U.S.A., Visa Canada, Visa Europe, Visa AP, Visa LAC and Visa CEMEA operated as a separate geographic region, serving its member financial institutions and administering Visa programs in its respective region.

In order to respond to industry dynamics and enhance Visa’s ability to compete, Visa undertook a reorganization in which Visa U.S.A., Visa International, Visa Canada and Inovant became direct or indirect subsidiaries of Visa Inc., a Delaware stock corporation. Visa Europe did not become a subsidiary of Visa Inc., but rather remained owned by its member financial institutions and entered into a set of contractual arrangements with Visa Inc. in connection with the reorganization. In the reorganization, we issued different classes and series of shares reflecting the different rights and obligations of Visa financial institution members and Visa Europe based on the geographic region in which they are located.

We believe that the reorganization provides us with several significant strategic benefits. It allows us to increase our operational efficiency and enhances our ability to deliver more innovative products and services to

 

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financial institutions, merchants and cardholders on a global basis. The reorganization allows us to centralize and streamline our strategy and decision making. We also believe that the reorganization and our proposed initial public offering will enable us to facilitate a common, global approach, where appropriate, to the legal, regulatory and competitive issues arising in today’s marketplace. At the same time, we believe that the reorganization preserves and reinforces the advantages that have made Visa the largest retail electronic payments network in the world.

Industry Overview

The Global Payments Industry

We operate in the global payments industry, which is undergoing a major shift from paper-based payments, such as cash and checks, to card-based and other electronic payments. For more than 30 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, official checks 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; 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.

 

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We believe that the shift to electronic payment forms is a worldwide phenomenon; however, in many developing countries, it is at an early stage and will be accelerated by rising incomes, globalization of commerce and increased travel. Recent innovations such as contactless cards and mobile payments are also increasing the attractiveness of electronic payments. We believe these trends create a substantial growth opportunity for the global payments industry. According to The Nilson Report, global card purchase transactions grew at a CAGR of 14% over the period from 2000 to 2006. The Nilson Report forecasts global card purchase transactions to increase at a CAGR of 11% from 2006 to 2012, with particularly strong growth in Asia/Pacific, Latin America and the Middle East/Africa:

LOGO

 


Source: The Nilson Report, issue 866 (October 2006) and issue 885 (August 2007).

The most common card-based forms of payment are general-purpose cards, which are payment cards that permit widespread usage. 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, which typically permit a cardholder to carry a balance in a revolving credit account (a credit card or deferred debit card) or require payment of the full balance within a specified period (a charge card); and

 

   

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

The primary global general purpose card brands include Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, JCB and Diners Club. While these brands—including Visa—were historically associated primarily with 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.

In addition to general purpose cards, a number of retailers and other entities issue limited-purpose credit, charge and prepaid cards that can be used for payment only at the issuing entity. These cards are generally referred to as private label cards. Private label cards are sometimes issued by a financial institution under a contractual agreement with the retailer.

 

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Open-Loop Versus Closed-Loop Payments Networks

General purpose and limited-purpose payments networks primarily operate under two different business models. Open-loop payments networks, such as Visa and MasterCard, are multi-party and operate through a system that connects two financial institutions—one that issues the card to the cardholder, known as the issuing financial institution or issuer, and one that has the banking relationship with the merchant, known as the acquiring financial institution or acquirer—and manages information and the flow of value between them. In a typical closed-loop payments network, the payment services are provided directly to merchants and cardholders by the owner of the network without involving third-party financial institution intermediaries. Closed-loop networks can range in size from networks such as American Express and Discover, which issue cards directly to consumers and serve merchants directly, to an individual merchant that issues limited-purpose private-label credit cards to its customers for use only in that merchant’s stores. In recent years, the major closed-loop networks have begun to develop relationships with financial institution issuers and acquirers, thereby emulating certain aspects of the open-loop networks.

Operators of open-loop networks such as Visa generally do not issue cards, set fees or determine interest rates that cardholders are charged for use of their cards. Issuers have the responsibility for determining these and many other card features. In addition, such networks generally do not solicit merchants directly or establish the fees that merchants are charged for card acceptance, including the merchant discount rate. Both of these functions are generally the responsibility of acquirers. The following table outlines the major functions of each of the three major participants in the payments network.

 

    

Issuer

(Cardholder’s Financial
Institution)

  

Payments Network

(e.g., Visa)

  

Acquirer

(Merchant’s Financial
Institution)

Primary Customers

   Cardholders    Issuers and acquirers    Merchants

Products and Services

  

Issues cards to its cardholders based on payments network product platforms (e.g., credit, debit)

 

Establishes and maintains accounts with cardholders (either consumers or businesses)

  

Offers broad range of product platforms (e.g., credit, debit) to financial institutions

 

Operates data processing network that transfers transaction data and manages payment flow between issuers and acquirers

  

Establishes and maintains account with merchant to:

 

—     Provide connectivity to a payments network

 

—     Acquire receivables from merchant

 

—     Guarantee payment to merchant for receivables

Branding

   Issues cards that feature its own brand and that of a payments network    Establishes and maintains payments network brand for payment products and acceptance locations    Delivers payments network acceptance services under its own brand
Rules and Terms    Establishes applicable cardholder terms, including fees, interest rates and payment schedules for cardholders independently of the payments network and in contract with its cardholders   

Establishes rules and standards for its product platforms and payments network including:

 

—     Eligibility for participation in network

 

   Establishes any applicable merchant fees and/or discount rates independently of the payments network and in contract with its merchants

 

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Issuer

(Cardholder’s Financial
Institution)

  

Payments Network

(e.g., Visa)

  

Acquirer

(Merchant’s Financial
Institution)

     

 

—     Authorization and clearing of transactions

 

—     Financial settlement

 

—     Product platform features and functionality

 

—     Merchant acceptance standards

 

—     Dispute management and arbitration processes

  
Functions Performed in Connection with Payment Transaction(1)   

Authorizes cardholder transactions

 

Funds settlement obligations for its cardholders’ purchases

 

Collects payment from cardholder

 

Assumes risk of cardholder non-payment or late payment

  

Transfers authorization and clearing data and settles funds between issuer and acquirer

 

Performs payments network risk management and related functions

  

Receives settlement funds from issuers

 

Credits merchant for value of payment transactions

 

Assumes risk of merchant non-fulfillment of transaction obligation

 

Assumes responsibility for merchant compliance with network security and other rules


(1) In many instances, an issuer or acquirer may enter into an agreement with a third party processor to perform some of these functions on its behalf.

Largest Operators of Open-Loop and Closed-Loop Retail Electronic Payments Networks

The largest operators of open-loop and closed-loop retail electronic payments networks are Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, JCB and Diners Club. With the exception of Discover, which primarily operates in the United States, all of the other network operators can be considered multi-national or global providers of payments network services. 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 competitors for calendar year 2006:

 

Company

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

Visa Inc.(1)

   $ 2,127    $ 3,230    44.0    1,254

MasterCard

     1,417      1,922    23.4    817

American Express

     556      562    4.5    78

Discover

     96      114    1.4    57

JCB

     63      70    0.7    59

Diners Club

     22      22    0.1    7

(1) Reported global figures from The Nilson Report. Excludes Visa Europe based on internal Visa data.

Source: The Nilson Report, issue 874 (February 2007) and issue 877 (April 2007).

 

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Note: MasterCard figures include PIN-based debit card transactions on MasterCard cards, but not Maestro (MasterCard’s global online debit program). Domestic China figures on Visa cards and some domestic China figures on MasterCard cards have been excluded. Visa and MasterCard figures exclude proprietary PLUS and Cirrus. American Express and Discover figures include business from third-party issuers. JCB figures are for October 2005 through September 2006 (fiscal year). JCB transaction figures are estimates.

Our Competitive Strengths

World’s Largest Payments Network

We operate the world’s largest retail electronic payments network. Visa-branded cards are accepted in more than 170 countries around the world. We have more branded credit and debit cards in circulation, more transactions and greater total volume than any of our competitors. We believe that merchants, cardholders and our financial institution customers benefit from the Visa cardholder base, which is the largest in the world, and our merchant acceptance network, which is unsurpassed globally.

Leading Global Brand

Visa is the world’s most recognized global financial services brand. We believe merchants, consumers and our financial institution customers associate our brand with trust, security, reliability, efficiency, convenience and empowerment. Our deep base of local market knowledge enables us to tailor our product and marketing programs to the particular needs of specific geographies. We believe that the strength of our brand enables us to increase card usage in existing and new market segments, develop and offer innovative payment products and services and enhance the utility of our payments network for all participants.

Scalable and Unique Global Payments Processing Platform

We own and operate VisaNet, our secure, centralized, global processing platform. Unlike the processing platforms of some of our primary competitors, VisaNet is built on a centralized architecture rather than a distributed architecture, which enables us to provide real-time, value-added information to our customers. In addition, our centralized processing platform provides us the flexibility to develop, modify and enhance our products and services efficiently. VisaNet is highly reliable and processed more than 78 billion authorization, clearing and settlement requests in fiscal 2007. We believe that the operating efficiencies that result from the scale of our processing network provide us with a significant cost advantage over our competitors.

Comprehensive Payment Products and Services

We provide our financial institution customers with a comprehensive suite of electronic payment products and services. Our product platforms encompass credit, debit, cash access and prepaid products for consumers, businesses and governments. These product platforms enable our customers to develop and customize their own payment programs to meet the needs of their cardholders and merchants. We also offer our customers issuer processing to support our debit and prepaid platforms, and we are the largest issuer processor of Visa debit transactions in the world. Additionally, we offer a broad range of value-added services such as risk management, loyalty services, dispute management and value-added information services, which are enabled by our secure, centralized, global processing platform.

Established and Long-Standing Customer Relationships

We have long-standing relationships with the majority of our customers and long-term contracts with many of our major customers, which provide us with a significant level of business stability. More than two-thirds of our financial institution customers have been our customers for longer than 10 years. We believe that our many years of close cooperation with our customers in developing new products, processing capabilities and value-added services have enabled us to establish strong relationships. By virtue of these relationships, we believe that we are well-positioned to continue developing new products and services that anticipate the evolving needs of our customers.

 

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Our Strategy

We seek revenue and profit growth by expanding our core payments business in new and established geographies and market segments, as well as by broadening our processing capabilities and value-added service offerings for payments and related opportunities. The key components of our strategy include:

Expand Our Network

We intend to continue to expand the size of our payments network in order to drive the issuance, acceptance and usage of our products globally. We intend to do this in several ways including:

 

   

Expand existing and build new relationships with financial institution customers. We will continue to use an integrated product strategy to increase our share of business with our existing financial institution customers and to build relationships with new customers. We believe that delivering world class service reinforces the value that Visa brings to our customers’ payments businesses and increases the issuance, acceptance and usage of our products. Our customer-driven service model includes integrated global account services coupled with local account support staff in each region in which we operate. We provide marketing, processing, risk and other consultative services, which enhance our customers’ business and support delivery of new Visa products and services.

 

   

Enhance the value of our products for merchants and cardholders. We continually enhance our products and services to meet the evolving needs of merchants and cardholders. Merchants are important to the growth of our business, and we seek to increase the value we bring to them in order to increase merchant acceptance and preference for Visa. We also seek to grow our network by encouraging active cardholder preference for Visa through continual improvement of the convenience, value and security of our products. By focusing on expanding the number of merchants and cardholders in our network, we increase the value we provide to our financial institution customers.

Expand into New and High Growth Geographies and Market Segments

We will continue to globalize our product and service offerings and to expand acceptance of our core products in key geographies and market segments.

 

   

Expand our presence in new geographies. As the largest retail electronic payments network, we are uniquely positioned to expand our global processing platform and the acceptance of our products and services in targeted geographies. We believe there is a significant opportunity to expand the usage of our products and services in high growth geographies in which we currently have a presence, such as AP, LAC and CEMEA. We intend to seek to expand the number of countries in which we provide value-added services, including risk management, debit issuer processing, loyalty services, dispute management and value-added information services.

 

   

Continue penetrating new consumer and merchant segments. We will continue to target and penetrate new consumer and merchant segments across all of our geographic markets, including the United States. We have introduced a full suite of product platforms and value-added services, which enable our customers to drive Visa products to the fast growing mass-market debit, affluent and small business segments. We will also continue to expand Visa acceptance in merchant segments that have traditionally not accepted electronic payments, such as quick-service restaurants and bill payment merchants.

Develop and Offer Innovative Products and Services

We will continue to provide new products and services and increase the functionality, utility and cost effectiveness of our existing products and services. VisaNet provides flexibility to quickly customize current offerings and rapidly develop, deploy and drive adoption of new products and services.

 

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Modify existing products. We will continue to upgrade or modify existing products to take advantage of market opportunities and generate growth. For example, modifying our rules to eliminate the signature requirements on small-value transactions in certain merchant segments has enabled us to rapidly increase acceptance and usage of current products at merchants where speed at the point-of-sale is a high priority. We will continue to seek such opportunities to expand acceptance and usage of products carrying our brands.

 

   

Develop new products. We believe there is also a significant opportunity to develop and offer new products. During the past two years, we have introduced several new varieties of prepaid cards and have enhanced our product offerings for the affluent consumer segment. We also intend to continue making significant investments in new technologies to strengthen our position in emerging forms of payment, including contactless and mobile devices.

 

   

Introduce new processing services. We intend to continue to introduce value-added processing services. We believe that by integrating enhanced capabilities, such as Visa Advanced Authorization (real-time transaction risk scoring), data reporting tools for commercial cards, loyalty applications and Visa ReadyLink, into our core offerings we can increase utility to customers and cardholders, capture additional revenues and differentiate ourselves from our competitors.

Strengthen and Grow Visa’s Brand Leadership

We will continue to invest in order to maintain Visa’s position as the world’s most recognized global financial services brand.

 

   

Focus on integrated brand investment. We make a combination of integrated global and local investments, using award-winning advertising campaigns, unique sponsorships, selected co-brand relationships and other promotional activities to increase consumer and business brand awareness and build active cardholder preference for Visa by reinforcing our core attributes of security, convenience, acceptance and differentiated products.

 

   

Maximize return on our brand investments. We seek to optimize the level and mix of spending across our media channels, sponsorships, co-brand relationships and other marketing properties to realize the maximum value from these arrangements.

 

   

Invest in and enhance our co-brand relationships and unique sponsorships. We work closely with our co-brand partners in airlines, hospitality, retail and other segments to create specific products and programs that complement our brand promise and deliver unique value propositions to cardholders. In addition, we maintain a unique portfolio of local and international sponsorships that create opportunities to deliver our brand message to consumers across the world.

Our Primary Operations

There are three core aspects of our business operations: transaction processing services, product platforms and payments network management.

Transaction Processing Services

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, which are the financial institutions that issue Visa cards to cardholders, and acquirers, which are the financial institutions that offer Visa network connectivity and payments acceptance services to merchants. In addition, we offer a range of value-added processing services to support our customers’ Visa programs and to promote the growth and security of the Visa payments network.

 

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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.

Visa transactions can be authorized, cleared and settled either as dual-message transactions or as single-message transactions. The choice of processing method may vary depending upon the issuer, the type of card or the region in which the transaction takes place.

 

   

In a single-message transaction, the acquirer submits a single electronic message containing all data required for the authorization, clearing and settlement of the transaction. Actual financial settlement occurs at a later time.

 

   

In a dual-message transaction, the acquirer submits an electronic message at the time of purchase containing the information required for an authorization decision and a second message at a later point in time containing additional data required for clearing and settlement.

Authorization

A typical Visa transaction begins when the cardholder presents his or her Visa card to a merchant as payment for goods or services. The transaction information is then transmitted electronically to the issuer for authorization. In certain cases, we may authorize the transaction on behalf of the issuer through a service known as stand-in processing, based on parameters established by the issuer. The following diagram illustrates the processing steps involved in a typical transaction authorized through our network. In a typical Visa transaction, the authorization process by Visa occurs in approximately one second.

LOGO

 

  1. The cardholder presents the merchant with a Visa card for payment. The merchant point of sale terminal reads the account number and other data encoded on the card’s magnetic stripe or chip.

 

  2. The merchant terminal transmits the card information and transaction amount to the acquirer.

 

  3. The acquiring financial institution or its third party processor combines the transaction information into an authorization request message and transmits it to Visa.

 

  4. Visa routes the authorization request to the issuer for review. In certain circumstances, such as when the issuer’s systems are unavailable, Visa may perform stand-in processing and review and authorize or deny the transaction.

 

  5. The issuing financial institution or its third party processor returns an authorization response message, either approving or denying the transaction to Visa.

 

  6. Visa routes the authorization response to the acquirer.

 

  7. The acquirer transmits the result of the authorization request to the merchant terminal.

 

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Clearing and Settlement

Clearing occurs at the time of the authorization, for single-message transactions, or in a single daily batch message containing all transactions reported by the acquirer, for dual-message transactions. Settlement occurs on each business day and is conducted on a net basis for all transactions submitted during the previous settlement cycle. The following diagram illustrates the clearing and settlement process between the issuer and acquirer for a typical transaction processed through our system.

LOGO

Clearing

 

  1. The merchant transmits sales draft information for the transaction, including account numbers and transaction amounts, to the acquirer.

 

  2. The acquiring financial institution or its third party processor formats this information into a clearing message, which it transmits to Visa.

 

  3. Visa routes the clearing message to the card issuer and calculates the settlement obligation of the issuer and the amount due to the acquirer, net of certain applicable fees and charges.

Settlement

 

  4. The issuer sends funds to Visa’s designated settlement bank in the amount of its settlement obligation.

 

  5. The settlement bank, at the direction of Visa, transfers funds due to the acquirer.

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 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 virtually all transactions within the United States, as well as all cross-border transactions, involving products carrying our brands. Outside of the United States and certain other countries, we do not process the majority of the domestic transactions (i.e., transactions where the issuer and the merchant are located in the same country) on products carrying our brands. Such transactions are generally processed by government-controlled payments networks, our financial institution customers, independent companies or joint ventures owned in whole or in part by our financial institution customers.

We perform clearing and settlement through our VisaNet system 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 currently provide clearing and settlement services for Visa transactions occurring entirely within Visa Europe’s region and will continue to provide such services until completion of deployment of Visa Europe’s own processing system. Visa Europe authorizes transactions for its members through its own processing system.

 

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Other Value-Added Processing Services

The size of our network and our processing capabilities allow us to offer a range of other value-added services in certain countries. These services include risk management, debit issuer processing, loyalty services, dispute management and value-added information services.

Risk Management Services. Our centralized and integrated network architecture allows us to monitor, on a real-time basis, all transactions that we process for authorization. As a result, we provide customers in certain countries with a number of value-added risk-management services, which complement our core authorization services. Our risk management services provide preventive, monitoring, investigative and predictive tools, which are intended to mitigate and help eliminate fraud at the cardholder and merchant level. For example, Visa Advanced Authorization, which we introduced in 2005, enables us to monitor and evaluate VisaNet authorization requests in real-time and deliver enhanced transaction risk scores to issuers as part of the authorization message. It is the first system of its kind to deliver risk indicators in real-time by assessing transaction data on both an account level and a transaction level.

Debit Issuer Processing Services. Visa Debit Processing Services provides comprehensive processing services for participating United States issuers of Visa debit, prepaid and ATM payment products. In addition to core issuer authorization processing, Visa Debit Processing Services offers card management services, exception processing, PIN and ATM network gateways, call center services, fraud detection services and ATM terminal driving. Visa Debit Processing Services processes more Visa transactions than any other issuer processor in the world.

Loyalty Services. We offer loyalty services that allow our customers to enhance the attractiveness of their Visa payment programs and to strengthen their relationships with cardholders and merchants. These services are designed to allow our customers to differentiate their Visa program offerings, to support increased card usage and to increase the importance of Visa payments to merchants.

Visa Extras is a service that participating issuers may offer to their cardholders to increase card usage, enhance the value of their Visa programs and create stronger cardholder relationships. Visa Extras is a points-based program that rewards cardholders for using their enrolled Visa cards to make qualifying purchases. Cardholders can redeem points for rewards in the Visa Extras rewards catalog for everyday items such as movie tickets, retail gift certificates, merchandise, travel certificates, dining and other rewards.

The Visa Incentive Network enables merchants and financial institution customers to deliver tailored merchant offers to targeted groups of cardholders. Visa Incentive Network offers benefits traditionally associated with a closed-loop system. Visa Incentive Network was launched in April 2005 and allows us to deliver merchant promotions to affluent and high-spending Visa cardholders on behalf of participating issuers. Based on merchant-specific cardholder spending and location criteria for each promotion, we can analyze the spending patterns of Visa credit card holders in the United States about which information is provided to us by participating card issuers. We then deliver the promotion to the appropriate cardholders on behalf of these issuers. In order to protect cardholder privacy, the merchant does not gain access to cardholder information or underlying transaction data. The Visa Incentive Network database contains more than 80 million accounts. Visa Incentive Network is enabled through account level processing, which allows transactions to be processed and afforded customized treatment at the account level—i.e., by identifying each transaction by the entire 16-digit account number—rather than by the six-digit bank identification number, or BIN, as is the more typical industry practice. We are able to implement account level processing as a result of our reengineered Visa Integrated Payment platform, as described below.

Dispute Management Services. We manage Visa Resolve Online, an automated web-based service that allows our customers’ back-office analysts and customer service representatives to manage and resolve Visa transaction disputes more efficiently than with previous paper-based processes. Transaction disputes between issuers and acquirers sometimes arise from suspected fraud, merchant non-fulfillment of transaction requirements

 

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or other events. Visa Resolve Online, which is mandatory for all Visa customers, provides real-time access to Visa transaction data, electronic transfer of substantiating documents and automated management of communications between issuers and acquirers.

Value-Added Information Services. We provide our customers with a range of additional information-based business analytics and applications, as well as the transaction data and associated infrastructure required to support them. Through these services, we support and enhance our customers’ business intelligence capabilities, loyalty applications, operational and management performance metrics, transaction research and commercial card reporting.

Processing Infrastructure

We own and operate VisaNet, our secure, centralized, global processing platform, which consists of three synchronized processing centers. 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 the framework agreement. In addition, we are building a new data center on the east coast of the United States. These centers are linked by a global telecommunications network, which is 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.

In September 2006, we completed a five-year reengineering program, in which we, among other things, consolidated the authorization functions for our credit, debit, prepaid and ATM transactions into one technology platform called Visa Integrated Payment, or VIP. VIP is a modular processing platform, which is flexible and secure and combines global reach with the processing power to support our future growth and product innovation.

The following is a summary of critical attributes of our processing infrastructure:

Centralized Architecture. Unlike the processing platforms of some of our primary competitors, VisaNet is built on a centralized architecture rather than a distributed architecture. As a result, we are able to view and analyze each authorization transaction we process in real-time and can provide value-added information, such as risk scoring or loyalty applications, to the issuer while the transaction data is being routed through our system.

Redundancy. Our global telecommunications network and processing centers are designed for redundancy and fail-over. Our newest processing center houses multiple authorization engines, each supported by redundant power and telecommunications circuits. This new architecture complements our multiple processing center architecture, provides improved fail-over technology and helps to ensure that our VisaNet system is always available and has enough processing power to meet the growing demand for electronic payments.

Modular Architecture. In the VIP reengineering project that we completed in September 2006, we replaced a complex web of legacy code with a streamlined, layered, modular architecture. We believe that this new architecture significantly reduces the time, complexity and cost involved in adding functions or modifying the system to support emerging forms of payments, such as contactless and mobile payments. We also believe that this streamlined architecture was instrumental in our ability to implement account level processing on our systems in less than 12 months.

Processing Scale. During fiscal 2007, we processed more than 78 billion authorization, clearing and settlement requests. Based on tests that we conducted with IBM in July 2005, we estimate that VisaNet is capable of processing more than 12,000 transaction messages per second. We believe that the scale of our processing network provides us with a significant cost advantage over our competitors.

 

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Product Platforms

We offer a broad range of product platforms to enable our customers 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 Traditional in the United States and Visa Classic in the rest of the world. We require issuers offering credit products based on this platform to meet minimum requirements for product functionality and to offer certain services, such as a reporting service for lost or stolen cards.

In addition, we offer premium credit platforms, which 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 and Visa Infinite. Issuers offering these credit products are required to provide certain functionality and enhanced cardholder services that may vary by product and region. For example, we require that issuers provide a minimum level of cardholder rewards value and that they not impose a preset spending limit on Visa Signature cards.

We provide a number of additional services that many issuers choose to offer in conjunction with their Visa credit programs, even where we do not require the inclusion of such services. Certain of these services, such as emergency card replacement, travel assistance services and rental car insurance, are provided by third parties under contract with us.

Consumer Deposit Access

Our deposit access product platforms enable our issuers to offer consumer payment and cash access products that draw upon consumer deposit accounts, such as checking, demand deposit, asset or other pre-funded accounts. For the 12 months ended June 30, 2007, consumer debit and cash access products accounted for the majority of Visa transactions worldwide.

Consumer Debit

Visa Debit. Our primary consumer debit platform uses the Visa brand mark. Through our rules and product platform requirements, we further segment our Visa debit product platform into Visa Classic, Visa Gold, Visa Platinum and Visa Infinite, which allows our issuers to customize their Visa debit programs and offer a range of benefits to their debit cardholders.

Interlink Debit. We provide the Interlink debit product platform in the United States and certain countries in the AP region. Interlink is a single-message point-of-sale debit network. It generally requires a cardholder to enter a personal identification number, or PIN, for authentication. Interlink allows our issuers to provide a full range of debit card offerings to their deposit account customers. Interlink acceptance marks may be included on Visa debit cards or issued as standalone debit cards.

Visa Electron Debit. Visa Electron is a payment product platform that permits issuers to require all transactions initiated from the card to be authorized electronically. It is primarily used by issuers offering payment programs to higher risk customer segments or in countries where electronic authorization is less

 

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prevalent, such as certain markets in the AP, LAC and CEMEA regions. Visa Electron is primarily issued as a consumer debit product, but Visa Electron can also be issued as a credit or prepaid product for consumers or businesses.

POS Check Service. The Visa POS Check Service enables merchants to convert the account information on a consumer’s check into an electronic Visa transaction message at the point of sale if the check is drawn on a demand deposit account held at a participating Visa customer. This service, which is currently offered only in the United States, reduces the cost and time involved in merchant and financial institution processing of checks by taking advantage of Visa’s efficient electronic payments processing.

Cash Access

Our customers 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 customers cash access at ATMs, as well as at branches of our participating financial institution customers. 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. We believe that more than one million Visa and PLUS branded ATMs are available in more than 170 countries. Payment cards may contain multiple cash access brand marks, in addition to Visa and PLUS, and transactions involving Visa and PLUS branded cards will generally be processed through our systems only if there is no regional or domestic ATM brand that is capable of processing the transaction.

Prepaid

Our prepaid product platform enables issuers to offer products that access a designated pool of funds, 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, voucher replacement, corporate incentive, insurance reimbursement and government benefits cards. Our prepaid platforms are also used to pay highway tolls and to top up prepaid mobile phones in some regions. Prepaid products can be issued as either reloadable or disposable. Reloadable cards enable consumers or third parties such as employers to add additional funds to the pool. Consumers may reload cards through various channels, including merchants and participating financial institution customers. Disposable cards cannot be reloaded in this manner. Our prepaid cards can be distributed through a number of channels, including financial institution branches, Internet sites, merchants and employers.

Commercial

Our commercial product platforms enable multi-national, large, medium and small companies and government organizations to streamline payment processes, manage information and their supply chain, and reduce administrative costs. Our commercial platforms include Visa Business Credit, Visa Business Check Card, Visa Business Debit, Visa Signature Business, Visa Business Electron, Visa Corporate, Visa Purchasing, Visa Fleet, Visa Distribution, Visa Commercial One Card and Visa Commerce.

Large and Medium Companies and Government Organizations. The Visa Corporate product platform offers payment options for travel and entertainment charges, including cash advances, and provides detailed transaction data, which allows companies to track policy compliance and supplier management. Visa Purchasing provides corporate clients with a payment product to easily acquire the goods and services needed to conduct their business by streamlining time- and paper-intensive purchase order and invoice processing, and by providing flexible transaction authorization and verification statements for each cardholder. A sub-product of Visa Purchasing, Visa Fleet, provides specialized authorization controls that fleet operators need to monitor and manage spending for company-provided vehicles. Visa Distribution provides an accounts receivable service for suppliers with dispersed operations. The Visa Commercial One Card allows organizations to combine procurement, travel and entertainment, and fleet functionality into a single payment solution. Visa Commerce is a business-to-business electronic platform providing accounts payable and accounts receivable payment services to facilitate large transactions between contracted buyers and sellers.

 

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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 and has authorization controls that are similar to those of the consumer Visa Electron products described above.

Core to all Visa Commercial payment platforms are information management, reconciliation and reporting, which integrate payment data into company financial systems. Visa Information Management is a web-based tool that provides access to a suite of reporting and information tools in multiple languages to companies using any of the Visa Commercial platforms.

Product Platform Innovation

We invest in the development and enhancement of payment product platforms with the goal of increasing the migration of consumer and business spending to electronic payments. We believe that innovation results in more secure and versatile payment program options for customers, 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 contactless payment cards and devices, mobile payments, chip cards, magnetic stripe and unembossed card enhancements, and money transfer.

Contactless Payment Cards and Devices. We support customer issuance and merchant acceptance of EMV-compliant contactless payment cards and devices, including contactless-enabled cards, minicards and microtags. A contactless device contains a computer chip that securely stores account information and transmits it to merchant terminals via secure radio-frequency technology that operates over short distances. Contactless devices can increase speed and convenience at the point of sale by allowing a consumer to complete a transaction without the need to swipe a card manually or insert it into a point-of-sale device. We believe that contactless technology is particularly appealing to merchants in segments with high point-of-sale throughput and a large proportion of small-value transactions.

Mobile Payments. We support payment origination and acceptance by mobile devices, such as mobile telephones and wireless data devices. In 2007, we introduced the Visa Mobile Platform, a global initiative that provides a comprehensive suite of technology tools and applications designed to promote product development and commercialization of mobile payment services. The Visa Mobile Platform is designed to provide consumers with a consistent experience for all types of payments, regardless of phone type or geography, and is designed to work within the existing infrastructure established by mobile carriers and financial institutions. In addition to supporting the development of mobile payment solutions, such as contactless payments, mobile Internet payments and person-to-person payment, the platform also supports the development of payment-related services, such as account management services to enable consumers to monitor account activity through a mobile device, and mobile coupons that can be redeemed at the point of sale.

Chip Cards. In certain regions and countries, we support customer issuance of Visa and Visa Electron chip cards, which are compliant with the EMV Integrated Circuit Card Specifications for Payment Systems. In addition to a traditional magnetic stripe, chip cards carry encrypted account data on an embedded computer chip that is read by a point-of-sale terminal. Chip cards can offer increased data security over traditional magnetic-stripe-only cards and can reduce the incidence of certain types of fraud.

Magnetic Stripe and Unembossed Card Enhancements. Beginning in October 2003, we introduced a series of rules and standards that allow our customers in certain regions to issue magnetic-stripe Visa cards with enhanced authorization requirements and risk controls that increase their ability to offer Visa cards to high-risk consumer segments. These standards include codes on the magnetic stripe that instruct point-of-sale terminals to request real-time transaction authorizations from the card issuer, providing an increased level of control over transaction authorization as compared to magnetic-stripe cards that lack such codes. These standards also permit issuers in certain countries to issue magnetic stripe Visa cards with the cardholder name and account number

 

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printed on the card, rather than embossed with raised lettering. These unembossed cards reduce the risk of fraudulent card use at merchants that do not have electronic point of sale terminals that are capable of seeking transaction authorizations from the card issuer.

Money Transfer. Visa Money Transfer is a remittance platform that our customers use to allow their cardholders to send funds to other Visa cardholders with accounts at participating financial institutions. The funds are credited directly to the individual’s Visa credit, debit or prepaid account. Our customers can deploy our standard Visa Money Transfer service, which includes sophisticated anti-money laundering, fraud and risk controls, or they can develop their own customized services. Our customers also offer domestic and cross-border money transfer services using Visa prepaid cards in LAC, CEMEA and AP regions.

Payments Network Management

We devote significant resources to ensure that Visa is the payments network of choice for customers, merchants and cardholders. We seek to accomplish this by promoting our brand through marketing and sponsorship activities, increasing acceptance of Visa-branded cards around the world and ensuring that the system operates in a reliable and secure manner for all of our network participants.

Brand Management and Promotion

We engage in a variety of activities designed to maintain and enhance the value of our brand. Our integrated approach to brand management and promotion combines advertising, sponsorships, promotions and public relations to create programs that build active preference for products carrying our brand, promote product 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 their business profitably. For our customers, our marketing is designed to support their card issuance, activation and usage efforts while complementing and enhancing the value of their own brands. For cardholders, we work to ensure that Visa is a symbol of security, convenience and acceptance. By emphasizing these core attributes of our brand, we aim to reinforce the recognition that Visa is “The World’s Best Way to Pay.”

Advertising plays a critical role in building brand awareness and equity, as well as communicating the benefits of our brand and Visa-branded payment products. Through our advertising campaigns, we strive to provide a consistent, recognizable and compelling message that supports our brand positioning. During 2006, we launched our “Life Takes Visa” brand campaign in the United States, reinforcing our brand promise to deliver innovative products and services that empower our cardholders to experience life and business their way and on their terms. In other regions, we promote these same brand messages through tailored regional and country-specific advertising campaigns, such as our “All It Takes” campaign in AP and our “Porque La Vida es Ahora” campaign in LAC.

We establish global marketing relationships to promote the Visa brand and to allow customers to conduct marketing programs in conjunction with major sporting and entertainment events. Through these marketing relationships, our customers may develop marketing programs that include the Visa brand and mention our sponsorship status. In addition, we engage in marketing and sponsorship activities around other national and local events or with associations and companies to provide customized marketing platforms to customers in certain countries and regions.

Our customer and business partner marketing consulting services provide customized advice and support to improve our customers’ cardholder acquisition, cardholder retention and product usage efforts. We conduct strategic reviews of our customers’ marketing activities and portfolio management practices, help them develop acquisition and retention programs, develop marketing for new products, conduct market segmentation analysis and perform other consultative services. In addition to customized consulting projects, we offer training to provide our customers with an understanding of best practices for managing their payments business.

 

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We also provide marketing support to our customers through our support of Visa co-branded and affinity card programs. Co-branded cards are payment cards bearing the brand marks of an issuer and a marketing partner, usually a merchant, while affinity cards generally bear the marks or logos of charitable, professional, educational or civic organizations.

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.

Merchant Acceptance Initiatives

Merchants play a vital role in our payments network, and we work continuously to build our merchant acceptance and enhance our relationships with merchants that accept Visa-branded cards. At June 30, 2007, our customers reported that our cards were accepted at more than 28 million merchant outlets around the world.

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. In the United States, for example, the Visa Small Ticket Payment Service provides a special interchange rate category and No Signature Required programs eliminate the requirement for a cardholder signature for certain small-value transactions in a number of everyday spend categories, including quick-service restaurants, movie theatres and public transit. Under this program, the merchant will be protected against no signature chargebacks. We believe these initiatives have resulted in a faster check-out process, a reduction in merchants’ operating expenses, increased merchant acceptance and greater transaction volume in these categories.

We 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.

We continue to respond to the needs of merchants in order to enhance the efficiency of the Visa payments network for the benefit of all network participants. For example, in 2006, we enabled merchants in the United States to obtain copies of key provisions of our U.S. operating regulations, thereby increasing access to the rules and procedures that govern merchant participation in our system. We also published our U.S. interchange rate schedule and made our U.S. interchange rate qualification guide available to merchants in an effort to educate merchants about the structure of our customer interchange rates and the criteria that determine the specific rate for which a given transaction qualifies.

Customer Standards

Our financial institution customers participate in the Visa payments network through one of two ways. Financial institution customers that were members of either Visa U.S.A. or Visa International prior to the closing of our reorganization have remained members of those two entities, which continue to operate as non-stock subsidiaries of Visa Inc. Those financial institutions have non-equity membership interests in the applicable subsidiary, which represent the commercial and other rights and obligations with regard to participation in the Visa payments system. Our financial institution customers that were members of Visa Canada prior to the closing of our reorganization have entered into a series of agreements, which govern their commercial rights and obligations with respect to the Visa payments system.

 

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Our customers are generally required to be financial institutions or other deposit-taking institutions organized under local banking laws or wholly-owned by such institutions. Certain of our customers participate in the full range of functions, such as soliciting cardholders and issuing cards, soliciting and signing merchants and acquiring merchant transactions. These financial institutions may also sponsor other financial institutions for more limited participation in our network.

Rulemaking and Enforcement

In general, our customers are granted licenses to use our brands and to access our transaction processing systems. Our customers are obligated to honor our rules and standards through agreements with, and in certain cases non-equity membership interests in, our subsidiaries. These rules and standards govern their use of our branded programs and their participation in our transaction processing system. Variations on such rules and standards may exist throughout the world in order to meet the needs of specific geographies. We require our customers to comply with these rules, which relate to such matters as the use of our brands and trademarks, the standards, design and features of payment cards and programs, merchant acquiring activities, including acceptance standards applicable to merchants, use of agents, disputes between members, risk management, guaranteed settlement, customer financial failures and allocation of losses among customers.

We establish dispute management procedures between customers 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, or charge back, the transaction to the acquirer. We enforce rules relating to chargebacks and maintain a dispute resolution process with respect to chargeback disputes.

Credit Risk Management

We indemnify our customers for any settlement loss suffered due to the failure of a customer to fund its daily settlement obligations. In certain instances we indemnify customers 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 customers fail to fund their settlement obligations, we have a credit risk policy with a formalized set of credit standards and risk control measures. Customers with significant settlement exposure are evaluated regularly to assess risk. In certain instances, we may require a customer to post collateral or provide other guarantees. If a customer 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 customer’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 a proprietary model. Key inputs to the model include the probability of customers 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 lost, stolen or counterfeit cards or 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. Fraud is also more likely to occur in association with transactions where the card is not present at the point of sale, such as electronic commerce, mail order and telephone order transactions. Security and cardholder authentication for these remote channels are particularly critical issues facing our customers and merchants that engage in these forms of commerce, where a signed cardholder sales receipt is generally unavailable.

 

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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; and chip and PIN programs that have been demonstrated to reduce the incidence of certain types of fraud at physical point of sale locations. We have also implemented rules that require the use of more secure PIN encryption standards for ATMs and point-of-sale PIN entry devices installed after 2002 and 2003, and we have recently mandated that all PINs transmitted through VisaNet to the issuer be encrypted using the Triple DES, or Data Encryption Standard, by July 1, 2010.

In a 2006 cooperative industry effort, we co-founded the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standards Council, an independent council that established security standards to protect cardholder data and to prevent fraud. In late 2006, we introduced a PCI compliance program with both incentives and fines targeted at our largest acquirers in order to improve compliance with the PCI standards by our largest U.S.-based merchants, which we refer to as Level I and Level II merchants. The initiative’s goal is to eradicate the storage of prohibited account data, such as magnetic stripe (also known as track data), CVV2 (the three-digit security code on the back of the card) and PIN data, and to improve PCI compliance among this group of merchants. At September 30, 2007, 99% of Level I and Level II merchants had confirmed that they were not storing prohibited account data, and approximately two-thirds of the Level I merchants and almost 45% of the Level II merchants had certified their compliance with the PCI standards.

In 2006, we began upgrading all connections to VisaNet with encryption capabilities to protect data that is transferred to and from VisaNet, and began performing data content analysis to ensure proper data safe-keeping and purging of obsolete data. In 2006, we also began developing a web-based tool that will replace our legacy risk-identification system to better assist customers in their identification and monitoring of high-risk relationships.

Interchange

Interchange represents a transfer of value between the financial institutions participating in an open-loop payments network such as ours. On purchase transactions, interchange fees are typically 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 fees through the settlement process, we generally do not receive any portion of the interchange fees. Interchange fees are often the largest component of the costs that acquirers charge merchants in connection with the acceptance of payment cards. We believe that interchange fees are an important driver of system volume.

We believe the default interchange rates that we use promote the efficient operation of our payments network by enabling both the issuer and acquirer to understand the economics of a given transaction before entering into it, and by eliminating the need for each of our customers to negotiate 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 customers and us by promoting the overall growth of our payments network in competition with other payment card systems and other forms of payment, and creating incentives for innovation, enhanced data quality and security.

Interchange fees and related practices also have been or are being reviewed by regulatory authorities and/or central banks in a number of jurisdictions, including the United States, European Union, Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Germany, Honduras, Hungary, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. In certain countries, such as

 

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Australia and Mexico, interchange rates have been adjusted in advance of, or in response to, government regulation. We are currently devoting substantial management and financial resources to explain the importance of and defend interchange fees and other legal and regulatory challenges we face relating to interchange fees. See Item 3—“Legal Proceedings—Other Legal and Regulatory Proceedings—Global Interchange Proceedings” and Item 1A—“Risk Factors—Interchange fees are subject to significant legal and regulatory scrutiny worldwide, which may have a material adverse impact on our revenues, our prospects for future growth and our overall business.”

Merchant Discount Rates. Acquirers generally charge merchants a fee for each transaction, called a “merchant discount.” This fee would typically cover costs they incur for participation in four-party payments networks, including those relating to interchange, and compensate 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 customers 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.

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” design. We also own numerous other valuable trademarks and designs covering various brands, products, programs and services. Through agreements with our customers, 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, ACH payments and electronic data interchange).

Within the general purpose payment card industry, we face substantial and intense competition worldwide. 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 AP and Discover in the United States. In certain countries, our competitors have leading positions, such as JCB in Japan and China UnionPay in China, which is the sole domestic payment processor and operates the sole domestic 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, such as STAR, owned by First Data Corporation, PULSE, owned by Discover, NYCE, owned by Metavante Corporation, and others in the United States, Interac in Canada, and EFTPOS in Australia. In addition to our PLUS brand, the primary cash access card brands are Cirrus, owned by

 

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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.

Some of our major competitors, including American Express and Discover, operate closed-loop systems. Closed-loop systems can benefit from direct access to consumer and merchant information, and they tend to have greater control over cardholder service than do operators of open-loop payments networks, like Visa, which depend on their financial institution customers to provide products and services directly to the cardholder. In recent years, the major closed-loop systems, American Express and Discover, have begun working directly with issuing and acquiring financial institutions, thus emulating certain aspects of the open-loop system, including setting transfer pricing.

In addition, we compete against companies that are developing and implementing alternative payments networks. Among other things, these competitors provide Internet currencies, which can be used to buy and sell goods online, virtual checking programs, which permit the direct debit of consumer checking accounts for both online and point-of-sale transactions and services that support payments to and from proprietary accounts for Internet, mobile commerce and other applications. A number of these new entrants rely principally on the Internet to support their services and may enjoy lower costs than we do. In mobile commerce, we also face competition from established network operators that may be in a position to enable mobile devices to process electronic payments or transfer money, and to use their existing billing systems to process these payments and transfers between their customers and third parties without our involvement.

Our Visa Debit Processing Service is the largest provider of issuer processing services for United States issuers of Visa debit, prepaid and ATM products, and thus also competes with third party processors, such as First Data Corporation and TSYS.

We believe that the primary factors affecting our competitive position in the payments industry include:

 

   

our ability to maintain the quality and integrity of our transaction processing systems;

 

   

our relationships with our customers;

 

   

our relationships with merchants;

 

   

the impact of existing litigation, legislation and government regulation;

 

   

pricing to our customers;

 

   

the impact of globalization and consolidation of financial institutions and merchants; and

 

   

our ability to develop and implement new payment programs, systems and technologies.

Litigation has and may continue to affect our ability to compete in the global payments industry. For example, as a result of the June 2003 settlement of a U.S. merchant lawsuit against Visa U.S.A. and MasterCard, merchants may choose not to accept U.S.-issued Visa debit cards in the United States while still accepting Visa-branded credit cards, and vice versa. In addition, following the final judgment in our DOJ litigation, members of Visa U.S.A. may issue certain payment cards that compete with Visa-branded cards, such as American Express or Discover, while remaining Visa members. Since this final judgment, several members of Visa U.S.A., including, but not limited to, Bank of America, Citibank, HSBC/Metris, U.S.A.A., Barclaycard U.S., GE Consumer Finance, Inc., First Bank & Trust, Central National Bank & Trust and Brenham National Bank, have begun to issue, or have announced that they will issue, American Express or Discover-branded cards. Outside of the United States, our customers have historically been permitted to issue American Express cards, as well as the cards of other competing general purpose card networks.

 

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The banking industry has undergone consolidation, and we expect this trend to continue. A major financial institution customer may be acquired by an institution that has a strong relationship with a competitor, resulting in a substantial loss of business. Because continued consolidation in the banking industry results in fewer financial institutions of increased size, the bargaining power of the remaining financial institutions increases.

Government Regulation

Government regulation impacts key aspects of our business. We are subject to government regulation of the payments industry in many countries in which our cards are used. Our customers are also subject to numerous regulations applicable to banks and other financial institutions in the United States and elsewhere, and as a consequence our business is affected by such regulations. In recent years our business has come under increasing regulatory scrutiny. In particular, 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.

As the volume of card-based payments has increased in recent years, interchange fees, including our default interchange rates, have become subject to increased regulatory scrutiny worldwide. We believe that regulators are increasingly adopting a similar approach to interchange fees, and, as a result, developments in any one jurisdiction may influence regulatory approaches in other jurisdictions. Interchange fees have been the topic of recent committee hearings in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, as well as conferences held by a number of U.S. federal reserve banks. In addition, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill that would commission a study by the Federal Trade Commission of the role of interchange fees in alleged price gouging at gas stations. Individual state legislatures in the United States are also reviewing interchange fees, and legislators in a number of states have proposed bills that purport to limit interchange fees or merchant discount rates or to prohibit their application to portions of a transaction. In addition, the Merchants Payments Coalition, a coalition of trade associations representing businesses that accept credit and debit cards, is mounting a challenge to interchange fees in the United States by seeking legislative and regulatory intervention.

Interchange fees and related practices also have been or are being reviewed by regulatory authorities and/or central banks in a number of jurisdictions, including the United States, European Union, Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Germany, Honduras, Hungary, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. In certain countries, such as Australia and Mexico, interchange rates have been adjusted in anticipation of, or in response to, government regulation.

Most jurisdictions in which we and our customers operate have implemented, amended or have pending anti-money laundering regulations. In 2002, we and our customers became 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 our payments system from being used 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 subject to regulations imposed by OFAC. OFAC restricts 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.

 

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In recent years, a number of regulations relating to the price of credit and directed at our financial institution customers have been implemented in some jurisdictions in which our cards are used. In the United States, regulators and the U.S. Congress have increased their scrutiny of our customers’ 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, and other regulations are expected to be issued in 2007. 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. Another such regulation is a significant proposal to amend Regulation Z, which implements the Truth-in-Lending Act, and will change the substance and format of consumer disclosures made by financial institutions. In addition, the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations and other Committees and Subcommittees may continue to consider the methods used to calculate finance charges and allocate payments received from cardholders and the methods by which default interest rates, late fees and over-the-credit-limit fees are determined, imposed and disclosed. Any regulation in this regard could impact our customers’ ability to issue cards profitably in certain segments and impact our payments volume and revenues.

We and our customers are subject to regulations related to privacy, data use and security in the jurisdictions in which we do business. For example, in the United States, our customers and we are respectively subject to the banking regulators’ information safeguard rules and the Federal Trade Commission’s rules under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, respectively. These rules require that our customers and we develop, implement and maintain written, comprehensive information security programs containing safeguards that are appropriate to our size and complexity, the nature and scope of our activities and the sensitivity of any customer information at issue.

In recent years, there has been a heightened legislative and regulatory focus on data security. In the United States, a number of bills have been introduced in Congress and there have been several Congressional hearings to address these issues. Congress is considering data security/data breach legislation which, if implemented, could affect our customers and us. In addition, a number of U.S. states have enacted security breach legislation, requiring varying levels of consumer notification in the event of a security breach, and several other states are considering similar legislation.

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 or to displace us from, prevent us from entering into, or substantially restrict us from participating in, particular geographies. For example, our customers in China are not permitted to issue cards carrying our brands for domestic use in China. Governments in certain other countries have considered similar restrictions from time to time.

Many jurisdictions in which our customers 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 e-commerce transactions, the collection of applicable taxes and copyright and trademark infringement. If implemented, these initiatives could require our customers and us to monitor, filter, restrict or otherwise oversee various categories of payment card transactions or to take other actions. For example, draft regulations were proposed on October 1, 2007 pursuant to recently enacted U.S. legislation regarding Internet gambling, which will require our customers and us to code and block certain types of Internet gambling transactions. Comments on these draft regulations were due December 12, 2007 and final regulations will be forthcoming at an undetermined date. Various U.S. regulatory agencies are also considering additional regulation covering capital requirements, privacy, disclosure rules, security and marketing, which could impact our customers and us directly. Increases in fraud or other illegal activity involving our cards could also lead to regulatory intervention, such as mandatory card re-issuance.

Certain of our operations in the United States are periodically reviewed by the Federal Financial Institution Examination Council to ensure our compliance with applicable data integrity and security requirements, as well as other requirements applicable to us as a result of our role as a service provider to financial institutions. In

 

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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. 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 customer 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 been given statutory authority to regulate certain aspects of the payments systems in those countries.

See Item 1A—“Risk Factors—Legal and Regulatory Risks—The payments industry is the subject of increasing global regulatory focus, which may result in costly new compliance burdens being imposed on us and our customers and lead to increased costs and decreased payments volume and revenues,” “—Interchange fees are subject to significant legal and regulatory scrutiny worldwide, which may have a material adverse impact on our revenues, our prospects for future growth and our overall business” and “—Existing and proposed regulation in the areas of consumer privacy and data use and security could decrease the number of payment cards issued, our payments volume and revenues.

Employees

At September 30, 2007, we employed 5,479 persons worldwide. We consider our relationships with our employees to be good.

Customers

At September 30, 2007, we had approximately 16,600 financial institution customers. Operating revenues recognized as a result of fees paid, net of incentives, from our largest customer, JPMorgan Chase and its affiliates, were $408 million in fiscal 2006 and $454 million in fiscal 2007, representing 10% and 9% of our pro forma operating revenues in each such period. No other customer represented more than 10% of our pro forma operating revenues.

 

ITEM 1A. Risk Factors

Legal and Regulatory Risks

Interchange fees are subject to significant legal and regulatory scrutiny worldwide, which may have a material adverse impact on our revenues, our prospects for future growth and our overall business.

Interchange represents a transfer of value between the financial institutions participating in an open-loop payments network such as ours. On purchase transactions, interchange fees are typically paid to issuers, which are the financial institutions that issue Visa cards to cardholders, by acquirers, which are the financial institutions that offer Visa network connectivity and payments acceptance services to merchants, 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 fees through the settlement process, we generally do not receive any portion of the interchange fees. Interchange fees are often the largest component of the costs that acquirers charge merchants in connection with the acceptance of payment cards. We believe that interchange fees are an important driver of system volume.

As the volume of card-based payments has increased in recent years, interchange fees, including our default interchange rates, have become subject to increased regulatory scrutiny worldwide. We believe that regulators are increasingly adopting a similar approach to interchange fees, and, as a result, developments in any one jurisdiction may influence regulatory approaches in other jurisdictions.

 

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Interchange fees have been the topic of recent committee hearings in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, as well as conferences held by a number of U.S. federal reserve banks. In addition, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill that would commission a study by the Federal Trade Commission of the role of interchange fees in alleged price gouging at gas stations. Individual state legislatures in the United States are also reviewing interchange fees, and legislators in a number of states have proposed bills that purport to limit interchange fees or merchant discount rates or to prohibit their application to portions of a transaction. In addition, the Merchants Payments Coalition, a coalition of trade associations representing businesses that accept credit and debit cards, is mounting a challenge to interchange fees in the United States by seeking legislative and regulatory intervention.

Interchange fees and related practices also have been or are being reviewed by regulatory authorities and/or central banks in a number of other jurisdictions, including the European Union, Australia, Brazil, Colombia, Germany, Honduras, Hungary, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. For example:

 

   

The Reserve Bank of Australia has made regulations under legislation enacted to give it powers over payments systems. A regulation controls the costs that can be considered in setting interchange fees for Visa credit and debit cards, but does not regulate the merchant discount charged by any payment system, including competing closed-loop payments systems.

 

   

New Zealand’s competition regulator, the Commerce Commission, filed a civil claim alleging that, among other things, the fixing of default interchange rates by Cards NZ Limited, Visa International, MasterCard and certain Visa International member financial institutions contravenes the New Zealand Commerce Act. A group of New Zealand retailers filed a nearly identical claim against the same parties before the same tribunal. Both the Commerce Commission and the retailers seek declaratory, injunctive and monetary relief.

 

   

In March 2006, Banco de México, the central bank of Mexico, reached an agreement with the Mexican Banks Association to implement a new, value-based interchange methodology. As part of Banco de México’s transparency policies, details of the new interchange rates have been publicly disclosed and are available on Banco de México’s web site.

 

   

In December 2007, the European Commission adopted a decision that MasterCard’s multilateral interchange fees for cross-border payment transactions within the European Economic Area violated European Community Treaty rules on restrictive business practices and must be withdrawn within six months.

Regulatory actions such as these, even if not directed at us or if affecting a geographic region in which we do not operate, may nonetheless increase regulatory scrutiny of interchange fees. If we cannot successfully defend our ability to set default interchange rates to maximize system volume, our payments system may become unattractive to issuers and/or acquirers. This result could reduce the number of financial institutions willing to participate in our open-loop multi-party payments system, lower overall transaction volumes and/or make closed-loop payments systems or other forms of payment more attractive. Issuers could also begin to charge higher fees to consumers, thereby making our card programs less desirable and reducing our transaction volumes and profitability. Acquirers could elect to charge higher merchant 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 or 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 material adverse impact on our revenues, operating results, prospects for future growth and overall business.

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

Since 2005, approximately 50 class action and individual complaints have been filed on behalf of merchants against Visa U.S.A., Visa International, MasterCard and other defendants, including certain Visa U.S.A. member financial institutions, which we refer to as the interchange litigation. Among other antitrust allegations, the

 

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plaintiffs allege that Visa U.S.A.’s and Visa International’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 class action complaints have been consolidated into a single amended class action complaint and the individual complaints are also being consolidated in the same multidistrict litigation. A similar case, filed in 2004, is on appeal by plaintiffs after having been dismissed with prejudice, and has not been transferred to the multidistrict litigation.

The plaintiffs in the interchange litigation seek damages for alleged overcharges in merchant discount fees, as well as injunctive and other relief. The plaintiffs have not yet quantified the damages they seek, although several of the complaints allege that the plaintiffs expect 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 Visa U.S.A. and/or Visa International may be subject to joint and several liability among the defendants if liability is established, which could significantly magnify the effect of any adverse judgment. The interchange litigation is part of the covered litigation, which our retrospective responsibility plan is intended to address; however, the retrospective responsibility plan may not 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 results of operations, financial condition and cash flows, or, in certain circumstances, even cause us to become insolvent. In addition, even if our direct financial exposure were covered by our retrospective responsibility plan, 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 Item 3—“Legal Proceedings—Retrospective Responsibility Plan—Covered Litigation—The Interchange Litigation.”

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

In 1998, the U.S. Department of Justice filed suit against Visa U.S.A., Visa International and MasterCard International in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The suit alleged, among other things, that Visa U.S.A. restrained competition by prohibiting its member financial institutions from issuing certain payment cards that compete with Visa-branded cards (such as American Express or Discover), which we refer to as competing payment cards. The district court held that the prohibition constituted an unlawful restraint of trade under the U.S. federal antitrust laws, and this decision was affirmed by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. In 2004, the U.S. Supreme Court denied our petition for certiorari, thereby exhausting all avenues for further appeal in this case. As a result of this judgment, the Visa U.S.A. bylaw that provided for the prohibition became unenforceable in October 2004 and was subsequently repealed.

Discover filed suit against Visa U.S.A., Visa International and MasterCard International, alleging that prohibiting member financial institutions from issuing competing payment cards caused it injury under the U.S. federal antitrust laws. Discover has requested that the district court give collateral estoppel effect to the court’s findings in the judgment of the 1998 Department of Justice litigation. Although the district court denied that request when made at the outset of the litigation, the district court indicated it would entertain a motion by Discover for collateral estoppel at a later time. If the court were to give collateral estoppel effect to one or more issues, significant elements of Discover’s claims would be established, making it more likely that Visa U.S.A. and Visa International could be found liable and that Discover would be awarded damages. Even if the court declines to give collateral estoppel effect to any of these issues, Discover may nevertheless be successful in establishing these issues in subsequent proceedings. On July 24, 2007, Discover served an expert report purporting to demonstrate that it had incurred substantial damages. Because this lawsuit was brought under the U.S. federal antitrust laws, any actual damages will be trebled and Visa U.S.A. and Visa International may be subject to joint and several liability among the defendants if liability is established, which could significantly magnify the effect of any adverse judgment.

 

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American Express filed a suit similar to the Discover litigation against Visa U.S.A., Visa International and certain Visa U.S.A. member financial institutions. The American Express lawsuit is part of the covered litigation, which our retrospective responsibility plan is intended to address. We, Visa U.S.A. and Visa International entered into a settlement agreement with American Express that became effective on November 9, 2007. The settlement agreement in the American Express litigation will be funded through our retrospective responsibility plan.

The Discover lawsuit is also part of the covered litigation. The retrospective responsibility plan may not adequately insulate us from the impacts of settlements of, or judgments in, the Discover lawsuit. Failure to successfully defend against or settle these lawsuits would result in liability that to the extent not covered by our retrospective responsibility plan could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows, or, in certain circumstances, even cause us to become insolvent. See Item 3—“Legal Proceedings—Retrospective Responsibility Plan—Covered Litigation.”

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.

Our retrospective responsibility plan is intended to address monetary liabilities from settlements of, or final judgments in, the litigation described under Item 3—“Legal Proceedings—Retrospective Responsibility Plan—Covered Litigation.” The retrospective responsibility plan consists of several related mechanisms to fund settlements of, or judgments in, the covered litigation, including an escrow account funded with a portion of the net proceeds of our proposed initial public offering and potential follow-on offerings of our common stock, a loss sharing agreement, a judgment sharing agreement and the indemnification obligation of Visa U.S.A. members pursuant to Visa U.S.A.’s certificate of incorporation and bylaws and in accordance with their membership agreements. These mechanisms are unique and complex. If we are prevented from using one or more of these mechanisms under our retrospective responsibility plan, we could have difficulty funding the payment of a settlement or final judgment against us in a covered litigation, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows, or, in certain circumstances, even cause us to become insolvent.

The retrospective responsibility plan does not address litigation other than the covered litigation that we currently face, including state court litigation relating to interchange, and will not cover litigation that we may face in the future, except for cases that include claims for damages relating to the period prior to our proposed initial public offering that are transferred for pre-trial proceedings or otherwise included in the interchange litigation. In addition, our retrospective responsibility plan is designed to cover only the potential monetary liability from settlements of, or judgments in, the covered litigation. Settlements and judgments in covered litigation may require us to modify the way we do business in the future, which 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, or judgments in, the covered litigation, it may not be sufficient to insulate us from all potential adverse consequences of settlements of, and judgments in, the covered litigation.

The retrospective responsibility plan depends, in part, on the timely completion of our proposed initial public offering, and if we are unable to close our proposed initial public offering in a timely manner, we may have insufficient funds to pay settlements of, or judgments in, such litigation, which could materially adversely affect our results of operations, cash flow and financial condition.

Visa U.S.A. and Visa International are currently involved in the litigation described under Item 3 “—Legal and Regulatory Proceedings—Retrospective Responsibility Plan.” Plaintiffs in these litigation matters have alleged substantial damages. Upon the closing of our proposed initial public offering, we intend to deposit a portion of the net proceeds from such offering, as determined by the litigation committee, in an escrow account from which settlements of, or judgments in, the covered litigation will be payable. We intend to use the funds in

 

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the escrow account to satisfy the settlement obligations of Visa U.S.A. in the American Express litigation and, as described below, to make payments relating to obligations of Visa U.S.A., Visa International and, in certain instances, Visa Inc., in connection with future settlement of, or judgments in, covered litigation. The settlement agreement for the American Express litigation requires that we make an initial payment of $945 million on or before March 31, 2008 and that, beginning March 31, 2008, we pay American Express an additional amount of up to $70 million each quarter for 16 quarters, for a maximum total of $1.12 billion. It may be difficult for us to fund settlement of any of the covered litigation prior to the completion of our proposed initial public offering because we plan to use the escrow account as our primary source of funds for the payment of any potential losses arising from the covered litigation.

Further, Visa U.S.A., Visa International and Visa Inc. have entered into a loss sharing agreement and a judgment sharing agreement in the interchange litigation, which became effective on July 1, 2007, with certain of their members, which provide that these members will be responsible for their proportionate share of the liabilities associated with the covered litigation. However, the loss sharing agreement provides that if we do not timely pursue and consummate an initial public offering, including having completed an initial public offering before May 28, 2008, the date that is 240 days after completion of the reorganization, the members’ obligations under the loss sharing agreement may be suspended until we have completed an initial public offering, at which point such obligations will be reinstated in full as if they had never been suspended. The 240-day period may be extended under certain circumstances. In addition, this agreement provides that the signing banks are responsible only for a proportionate amount of the liability in respect of the covered litigation equal to their membership proportion, as calculated in accordance with Visa U.S.A.’s certificate of incorporation. Because not all of Visa U.S.A.’s members have signed the loss sharing agreement, until the funding of the escrow account pursuant to the retrospective responsibility plan, we would also need to rely upon those members’ indemnification obligations contained in Visa U.S.A.’s certificate of incorporation and bylaws and as agreed in their membership agreements to recover the remaining portion of any liability from Visa U.S.A.’s members.

In addition, if there were a final judgment against us in connection with the covered litigation or if we were to incur a judgment sharing obligation in a covered litigation before our proposed initial public offering, we would have to rely upon the loss sharing agreement, which only indemnifies us for a portion of the liability with respect to the covered litigation that is equal to the aggregate membership proportion of the Visa U.S.A. members that sign the loss sharing agreement, as calculated in accordance with Visa U.S.A.’s certificate of incorporation, and we would have to seek indemnification from Visa U.S.A.’s remaining members pursuant to Visa U.S.A.’s certificate of incorporation and bylaws and as agreed in their membership agreements. To the extent we are unable to secure indemnification from our members, any portion of such a judgment not covered by our judgment sharing agreements would have to be paid by us and could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition.

If the settlements of Visa U.S.A.’s and Visa International’s currency conversion cases are not ultimately approved 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. In particular, a trial judge in California found that the former currency conversion practices of Visa U.S.A. and Visa International were deceptive under California state law, and ordered Visa U.S.A. and Visa International to require their members to disclose the currency conversion process to cardholders in cardholder agreements, applications, solicitations and monthly billing statements. The judge also ordered unspecified restitution to credit card holders. The decision was reversed on appeal on the ground that the plaintiff lacked standing to pursue his claims. After the trial court’s decision, several putative class actions were filed in California state courts challenging Visa U.S.A.’s and Visa International’s currency conversion practices for credit and debit cards. A number of putative class actions relating to Visa U.S.A.’s and Visa International’s former currency conversion practices were also

 

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filed in federal court. The federal actions have been coordinated or consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The consolidated complaint alleges that the former currency conversion practices of Visa U.S.A. and Visa International violated federal antitrust laws.

On July 20, 2006 and September 14, 2006, Visa U.S.A. and Visa International entered into agreements settling or otherwise disposing of the federal and state actions and related matters. Pursuant to the settlement agreements, Visa U.S.A. paid approximately $100 million as part of the defendants’ settlement fund for the federal actions and will pay approximately $20 million to fund settlement of the California cases. The federal court has granted preliminary approval of the settlement agreements, but the settlement is subject to final approval by the court and resolution of all appeals. If final approval of the settlement agreements is not granted, 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, we may have to pay restitution and/or damages, and may be required to modify our currency conversion practices. The potential amount of damages and/or restitution could be substantial. In addition, although Visa U.S.A. and Visa International have substantially changed the practices that were at issue in these litigations, if the courts require further changes to our currency conversion and cross-border transaction practices, it could materially and adversely affect our business. See Item 3—“Legal Proceedings—Other Legal and Regulatory Proceedings—Currency Conversion Litigation.

If Visa U.S.A. or Visa International is found liable in certain other lawsuits that have been brought against them or if we are found liable in other litigation to which we may become subject in the future, we may be forced to pay substantial damages and/or change our business practices or pricing structure, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, revenues and profitability.

In recent years, numerous civil actions and investigations have been filed or initiated against Visa U.S.A. and Visa International alleging or seeking information as to violations of various competition, antitrust, consumer protection and other laws. These actions and investigations have been filed or initiated by a variety of different parties, including the U.S. Department of Justice, state attorneys general, merchants, consumers, competing card-issuing companies and other plaintiffs. Examples of such claims, which are described more fully under Item 3—“Legal ProceedingsOther Legal and Regulatory Proceedings,” include the following:

 

   

various state court actions based on a federal merchant class action lawsuit that Visa U.S.A. settled in 2003, alleging unlawful “tying” of credit and debit card services, attempted monopolization and other state law competition claims;

 

   

a patent infringement claim against Visa U.S.A. and Visa International involving the Verified by Visa product;

 

   

a claim of patent infringement, misrepresentation, breach of contract and antitrust violations against Visa International relating to a license agreement for smart card technology;

 

   

two state unfair competition law claims, one against Visa U.S.A. and Visa International based in part on Visa U.S.A.’s past practice of prohibiting member financial institutions from issuing certain competing payment cards, and another against Visa U.S.A. and Visa International alleging failure to inform cardholders of a security breach in a timely manner;

 

   

a promissory estoppel and misrepresentation claim against Visa U.S.A. and Visa International regarding deferment of a deadline for laboratory certification of ATM devices meeting heightened data encryption standards;

 

   

a trademark infringement claim against Visa International in Venezuela in connection with the Visa Vale product;

 

   

a civil investigative demand to Visa U.S.A. from the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, in coordination with the Attorneys General of New York and Ohio, seeking information regarding practices related to PIN debit cards;

 

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a patent infringement claim against Visa U.S.A. and Visa International regarding certain Visa contactless payment technology;

 

   

a patent infringement claim against Visa U.S.A. regarding prepaid card products; and

 

   

two civil investigative demands issued by the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice to Visa U.S.A., one concerning PIN debit and Visa U.S.A.’s No Signature Required Program, and the other regarding Visa U.S.A.’s agreements with financial institutions that issue Visa debit cards, respectively.

Private plaintiffs often seek class action certification in cases against us, particularly in cases involving merchants and consumers, due to the size and scope of our business and the large number of parties that are involved in our payment system. Although our retrospective responsibility plan is intended to address potential monetary liabilities arising from the specific litigation described under Item 3—“Legal Proceedings—Retrospective Responsibility Plan—Covered Litigation,” the plan does not cover other litigation that we currently face, and will not cover litigation, including state court litigation, that we may face in the future, except for cases that include claims for damages relating to the period prior to our proposed initial public offering that are transferred for pre-trial proceedings or otherwise included in the interchange litigation. We cannot predict whether or to what extent we will be subject to litigation liability that is not covered by our retrospective responsibility plan. If we are unsuccessful in our defense against any of the proceedings described above or in any future proceedings, we may be forced to pay substantial damages and/or change our business practices or our pricing structure, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our revenues, operating results, prospects for future growth and overall business.

We have received, and we may in the future receive, notices or inquiries from other companies suggesting that we may be infringing a pre-existing patent or that we need to license use of their patents to avoid infringement. Such notices may, among other things, threaten litigation against us. Holders of patents may pursue claims against us in the future if they believe their patents are being infringed by our product or service offerings. Based on our experience with such claims to date, we do not believe that any such claims would prevent us from continuing to operate our payments system or market any of our significant core products and services in substantially the same or equivalent manner as we have to date.

Limitations on our business and other penalties resulting from litigation or litigation settlements may materially and adversely affect our revenues and profitability.

Certain limitations have been placed on our business in recent years as a result of litigation and litigation settlements. For example, as a result of the June 2003 settlement of a U.S. merchant lawsuit against Visa U.S.A., merchants are able to reject Visa consumer debit cards in the United States while still accepting other Visa-branded cards, and vice versa. In addition, following the final judgment entered in the litigation the U.S. Department of Justice, or DOJ, brought against Visa U.S.A. and Visa International in 1998, as of October 2004, members of Visa U.S.A. may issue certain competing payment cards. Since this final judgment, several members of Visa U.S.A. have begun to issue, or have announced that they will issue, American Express or Discover-branded cards. See Item 3—“Legal Proceedings—Other Legal and Regulatory Proceedings—Department of Justice Antitrust Case and Related Litigation.”

In addition, pursuant to a court order, certain Visa U.S.A. debit issuers may be able to terminate some parts of their agreements with us. Visa U.S.A.’s bylaws provided that a settlement service fee was to be paid by certain Visa U.S.A. members that shifted a substantial portion of their offline debit card volume to another debit brand unless that shift was to the American Express or Discover brands. In June 2007, a federal court ruled that the settlement service fee violated the final judgment entered in the case the DOJ brought against Visa U.S.A., Visa International and MasterCard in 1998. See Item 3—“Legal Proceedings—Other Legal and Regulatory Proceedings—Department of Justice Antitrust Case and Related Litigation.” As a remedy, the court ordered Visa U.S.A. to repeal the settlement service fee bylaw. Further, any Visa U.S.A. debit issuer subject to the settlement

 

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service fee prior to its repeal that entered into an agreement with Visa U.S.A. that includes offline debit issuance on or after June 20, 2003 is now permitted to terminate that agreement, provided that the issuer has entered into an agreement to issue MasterCard-branded debit cards and has repaid to Visa U.S.A. any unearned benefits or financial incentives under its Visa U.S.A. agreement. The settlement service fee bylaw was rescinded as of the effective date of the order, but Visa U.S.A. has appealed other aspects of the court’s decision, including the contract termination portion of the court’s remedy. See Item 3—“Legal Proceedings—Other Legal and Regulatory Proceedings—Department of Justice Antitrust Case and Related Litigation.”

The developments discussed above and any future limitations on our business resulting from settlements of, or judgments in, pending or potential 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.

If we are partially or wholly unable to realize the benefit of our deferred tax assets related to our litigation expenses incurred in connection with the covered litigation, our financial results and cash flows may be materially and adversely affected.

The fiscal 2007 statement of operations of Visa U.S.A. reflects a litigation provision of $2.7 billion associated with the settlement of the American Express litigation and management’s liability estimate under the guidelines of SFAS No. 5 related to the Discover litigation and other matters. For tax purposes, the deduction related to these matters is deferred until the payments are made and thus Visa U.S.A. established a deferred tax asset of $778 million related to these payments, which is net of a reserve to reflect our best estimate of the amount of the benefit to be realized. Although we believe that the estimates and judgments we made in establishing our deferred tax asset and related reserves are reasonable, some or all of these judgments are subject to review by the taxing authorities. 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.

The payments industry is the subject of increasing global regulatory focus, which may result in costly new compliance burdens being imposed on us and our customers and lead to increased costs and decreased payments volume and revenues.

We and our customers are subject to regulations that affect the payments industry in many countries in which our cards are used. Regulation of the payments industry has increased significantly in recent years. Examples of such regulation include:

 

   

Anti-money laundering regulation. Most jurisdictions in which we and our customers operate have implemented, amended or have pending anti-money laundering regulations, such as the U.S.A. PATRIOT Act, which requires the creation and implementation of comprehensive anti-money laundering programs.

 

   

U.S. Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control regulation. Visa U.S.A. and Visa International are subject to regulations imposed by the U.S. Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control, or OFAC. OFAC restricts financial dealings with Cuba, Iran, Myanmar and Sudan, as well as financial dealings with certain restricted 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 system may be used for transactions in or involving countries or parties subject to OFAC-administered sanctions.

 

   

Regulation of the Price of Credit. In recent years, legislation, regulations or other legal requirements affecting credit cards have been adopted in a number of the jurisdictions in which our cards are used. For example, in the United States, congress and the federal banking agencies have increased their

 

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scrutiny of the disclosure and billing practices of credit card issuers. The Federal Reserve Board has proposed significant changes to Regulation Z, under the Federal Truth in Lending Act, which, if implemented, could have a significant affect on the advertising, disclosure and billing practices of card issuers. Proposed or other changes to the laws and or regulations affecting credit card operations and pricing could increase the costs of card issuance and/or decrease the flexibility of card issuers to charge interest rates and fees on credit card accounts. Any such unfavorable regulation of the practices of card issuers could result in a decrease in our payments volume and revenues.

 

   

Regulation of Internet transactions. Many jurisdictions in which our customers and we operate are considering, or are expected to consider, legislation concerning Internet transactions, and in particular with regard to choice of law, the legality of certain e-commerce transactions, the collection of applicable taxes and copyright and trademark infringement. Such legislation may make it less desirable or more costly to complete Internet transactions using our cards.

 

   

Safety and soundness regulation. In recent years, 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, which may make becoming an issuer of our cards less attractive.

Increased regulatory focus in connection with the matters discussed above may increase our costs, which could materially and adversely affect our financial performance. Similarly, increased regulatory focus on our customers may cause a reduction in payments volume, which could materially adversely affect our revenues, operating results, prospects for future growth and overall business.

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

We and our customers are subject to regulations related to privacy and data use and security in the jurisdictions in which we do business, and we could be adversely affected by these regulations. For example, in the United States, we and our customers are subject to the banking regulators’ information safeguard rules and the Federal Trade Commission’s rules under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. The rules require that we and our customers develop, implement and maintain written, comprehensive information security programs containing safeguards that are appropriate to our size and complexity, the nature and scope of our activities, and the sensitivity of any customer information at issue.

In recent years, there has been heightened legislative and regulatory focus on data security, including requiring consumer notification in the event of a data breach. In the United States, a number of bills have been introduced in Congress and there have been several Congressional hearings to address these issues. Congress will likely consider data security/data breach legislation in 2008 that, if implemented, could affect our customers and us. In addition, a number of U.S. states have enacted security breach legislation requiring varying levels of consumer notification in the event of a security breach, and several other states are considering similar legislation.

Regulation of privacy, data use and security may materially increase our costs and our customers’ costs and may decrease the number of our cards that our customers issue, which could materially and adversely affect our profitability. Our failure, or the failure of our customers, to comply with the privacy and data use and security laws and regulations to which we are subject could result in fines, sanctions and damage to our global reputation and our brand.

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

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 or to displace us from, prevent us from entering into, or substantially restrict us from participating in, particular

 

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geographies. For example, our members in China are not permitted to issue our cards for domestic use in China. Governments in certain other countries have considered similar restrictions from time to time. Our efforts to effect change in countries where our access to the domestic payments segment is limited may not be successful, which could adversely affect our ability to maintain or increase our revenues and extend our global brand.

If government regulators determine that we are a systemically important payments system, we may have to change our settlement procedures or other operations, which could make it more costly to operate our business and reduce 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 “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 member participation and merchant access to our payments system. Any of these developments could make it more costly to operate our business.

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

Under our framework agreement with Visa Europe, we are required to indemnify Visa Europe for losses resulting from any claims in the United States or anywhere else outside of Visa Europe’s region arising from our or their activities that relate to our payments business or the payments business of Visa Europe. This obligation applies whether or not we or any of our related parties or agents participated in the actions that gave rise to such claims. Such an obligation could expose us to significant liabilities for activities over which we have little or no control. These liabilities would not be covered by our retrospective responsibility plan.

Business Risks

We face intense competitive pressure on customer pricing, which may materially and adversely affect our revenues and profitability.

We generate revenues from fees we charge our customers that are based on payments volume, transaction messages processed and various other services we provide. In order to increase payments volume, enter new market segments and expand our card base, we offer incentives to customers, such as up-front cash payments, fee discounts, credits, performance-based growth incentives, marketing support payments and other support, such as marketing consulting and market research studies. Over the past several years, we have increased our 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. Such pricing pressure may make the provision of certain products and services less profitable or unprofitable and materially and adversely affect our operating revenues and profitability. To the extent that we continue to increase incentives to our customers, we will need to further increase payments volume or the amount of services we provide in order to benefit incrementally from such arrangements and to increase revenues and profit, and we may not be successful in doing so. In addition, we enter into long-term contracts with certain customers, and continued pressure on fees could prevent us from entering into such agreements in the future on terms that we consider favorable or may require us to modify existing agreements in order to maintain relationships. Increased pricing pressure also enhances the importance of cost containment and productivity initiatives in areas other than those relating to customer incentives, and we may not succeed in these efforts.

Our operating results may suffer because of intense competition in the global payments industry.

The global payments industry is intensely competitive. Our payment programs compete against all forms of payment, including cash, checks and electronic transactions such as wire transfers and automated clearing house

 

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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, may offer a wider range of programs and services than we offer, may use more effective advertising and marketing strategies to achieve broader brand recognition or merchant acceptance than we have or may develop better security solutions or more favorable pricing arrangements. Our competitors may also introduce more innovative programs and services than ours.

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, without involving intermediaries. These competitors seek to derive competitive advantages from their business models. For example, operators of closed-loop payments systems tend to have greater control over consumer and merchant customer service than operators of open-loop multi-party payments systems such as ours, in which we must rely on our issuing and acquiring financial institution customers. In addition, these competitors have not attracted the same level of legal or regulatory scrutiny of their pricing and business practices as have operators of open-loop multi-party payments systems such as ours.

We also expect that there may be changes in the competitive landscape in the future, including:

 

   

Competitors, customers and other industry participants may develop products that compete with or replace value-added services we currently provide to support our transaction processing. For example, in recent years some of our competitors and members have begun to compete with our currency conversion services by providing dynamic currency conversion services. Dynamic currency conversion is a service offered or facilitated by a merchant or processor that allows a cardholder to choose to have a transaction converted from the merchant’s currency into the cardholder’s billing currency at the point of sale in real-time, thereby bypassing our currency conversion processes. Dynamic currency conversion services could, if significant numbers of cardholders choose to use them, replace our own currency conversion processing services or could force us to change our pricing or practices for these services. If we process fewer transactions or are forced to change our pricing or practices for our currency conversion processing because of competing dynamic currency conversion services or otherwise, our revenues may be materially and adversely affected.

 

   

Parties that process our transactions in certain countries may try to eliminate our position in the payments value chain. For example, merchants could process transactions directly with issuers, or processors could process transactions directly between issuers and acquirers.

 

   

Participants in the payments industry may merge, create joint ventures or form other business combinations that may strengthen their existing business propositions or create new payment services that compete with our services.

 

   

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

Our failure to compete effectively against any of the foregoing competitive threats, could materially and adversely affect our revenues, operating results, prospects for future growth and overall business.

Our operating revenues would decline significantly if we lost one or more of our largest customers, which could have a material adverse impact on our business.

A significant portion of our operating revenues are concentrated among our largest customers. Our pro forma operating revenues from our five largest customers represented approximately $1.2 billion, or 23%, and $938 million, or 24%, of our total pro forma operating revenues for fiscal 2007 and fiscal 2006, respectively. In

 

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addition, our pro forma operating revenues from our largest customer, JPMorgan Chase, accounted for $454 million, or 9%, and $408 million, or 10%, of our pro forma operating revenues for fiscal 2007 and 2006, respectively. Most of our larger customer relationships are not exclusive and in certain circumstances (including, in some cases, on relatively short notice) may be terminated by our customers. Our customers can reassess their commitments to us at any time in the future and/or develop their own competitive services. Loss of business from any of our largest customers could have a material adverse effect on our business.

Consolidation of the banking industry could result in our losing business and may create pressure on the fees we charge our customers, which may materially and adversely affect our revenues and profitability.

Over the last several years, the banking industry has undergone substantial consolidation, and we expect this trend to continue in the future. Significant ongoing consolidation in the banking industry may result in one of our largest customers being acquired by an institution that has a strong relationship with a competitor, resulting in a substantial loss of business. In addition, one or more of our customers could seek to merge with or acquire one of our competitors, and 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 customers and potential customers and could increase the bargaining power of our remaining customers and potential customers. This consolidation could lead financial institutions to seek greater pricing discounts or other incentives with us. In addition, consolidation could prompt our existing customers to seek to renegotiate their pricing agreements with us to obtain more favorable terms. Pressure on the fees we charge our customers caused by such consolidation could materially and adversely affect our revenues, operating results, prospects for future growth and overall business.

Merchants are pursuing litigation and supporting regulatory proceedings relating to the costs associated with payment card acceptance and are negotiating incentive arrangements, including pricing discounts, all of which may increase our costs and materially and adversely affect our profitability.

We rely in part on merchants and their relationships with our customers to maintain and expand the acceptance of our payment cards. We believe that consolidation in the retail industry is producing a set of larger merchants that are having a significant impact on all participants in the global payments industry. For instance, some large merchants are bringing lawsuits against us with regard to, or advocating regulation of, interchange fees, which may represent a significant cost that merchants pay to accept payment cards. The emphasis merchants are placing on the costs associated with payment card acceptance may lead to additional regulation and litigation, which would not be covered by our retrospective responsibility plan and which could impair our revenues, operating results, prospects for future growth and overall business.

We, along with our customers, negotiate pricing discounts and other incentive arrangements with certain large merchants to increase acceptance of our payment cards. If merchants continue to consolidate, we and our customers may have to increase the incentives provided to certain larger merchants, which could materially and adversely affect our revenues, operating results, prospects for future growth and overall business.

Certain financial institutions have exclusive, or near 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 long-standing exclusive, or near exclusive, relationships with our competitors to issue payment cards, and these relationships may make it difficult or cost-prohibitive for us to do material amounts of business with them in order to increase our revenues. In addition, these financial institutions may be more successful and may grow faster than the financial institutions that primarily issue our cards, which could put us at a competitive disadvantage.

 

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We depend significantly on our relationships with our customers and other third parties to deliver services and manage our payments system. As a result, our success and reputation are significantly dependent on the success of our customers and the quality of the services they provide. If we are unable to maintain those relationships, or if third parties on which we depend fail to deliver services on our behalf, our business may be materially and adversely affected.

We are, and will continue to be, significantly dependent on relationships with our customers and 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 applicable) 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 that merchants are charged for card acceptance, which are responsibilities of acquirers. As a result, the success of our business significantly depends on the continued success and competitiveness of our customers and the strength of our relationships with them.

Outside of the United States and certain other countries, most domestic (as opposed to cross-border) transactions conducted using our payment cards are authorized, cleared and settled by our customers or other processors without involving our processing systems. Because we do not provide domestic transaction processing services in these countries, do not generally have direct relationships with merchants and never have direct relationships with cardholders, we depend on our close working relationships with our customers to effectively manage the processing of transactions involving our cards. Our inability to control the end-to-end processing on cards carrying our brands in many countries may put us at a competitive disadvantage by limiting our ability to ensure the quality of the services supporting our brand.

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

Our brands and reputation are key assets of our business and may be affected by how we are perceived in the marketplace.

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 is highly dependent upon the external perceptions of our company and our industry. Our business may be affected by actions taken by our customers that impact the perception of our brands. From time to time, our customers may take actions that we do not believe to be in the best interests of our brands, such as creditor practices that may be viewed as “predatory,” which may materially and adversely impact our business. Adverse developments with respect to our industry may also, by association, impair our reputation, or result in greater regulatory or legislative scrutiny.

Global economic, political and other conditions may adversely affect trends in consumer spending and cross-border travel, which may materially and adversely impact our revenues, operating results, prospects for future growth and overall business.

The global payments industry depends heavily upon the overall level of consumer, business and government spending. For example, a sustained deterioration in general economic conditions, particularly in the United States and the Asia-Pacific region, where approximately 66% and 14%, respectively, of our pro forma revenues were generated for fiscal 2007 and, 71% and 12%, respectively, of our pro forma revenues were generated for fiscal 2006, or increases in interest rates in key countries in which we operate, may adversely affect our financial performance by reducing the number or average purchase amount of transactions involving payment cards carrying our brands. A significant portion of the revenues we earn outside the United States results from cross-border business and leisure travel, which may be adversely affected by world geopolitical, economic and other conditions, including the threat of terrorism and outbreak of diseases, such as SARS and avian flu. In particular, revenues from processing foreign currency transactions for our customers fluctuate with cross-border travel and our customers’ need for transactions to be converted into their base currency. In addition, as we are principally

 

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domiciled in the United States, a negative perception of the United States could impact the perception of our company, which could materially and adversely affect our revenues, operating results, prospects for future growth and overall business.

As a guarantor of certain obligations of Visa members, we are exposed to risk of loss or insolvency if any member fails to fund its settlement obligations.

We indemnify Visa members for any settlement loss suffered due to the failure of a member to fund its daily settlement obligations. In certain instances, we indemnify members even in situations in which a transaction is not processed by our system. The indemnification creates settlement risk for us due to the difference in timing between the date of payment transaction and the date of subsequent settlement. The term and amount of the indemnification are unlimited.

While we believe that we have sufficient liquidity to cover a settlement failure by any of the largest Visa members, concurrent settlement failures of more than one of our largest members or several of the smaller Visa members, or systemic operational failures that last for more than a single day, may exceed our available resources and could materially and adversely affect our business and financial condition. In addition, even if we have sufficient liquidity to cover a settlement failure, we may not be able to recover the amount of such payment and may therefore be exposed to significant losses, which could materially and adversely affect our results of operations, cash flow and financial condition. Settlement at risk (or exposure) is estimated using the average daily volumes during the quarter multiplied by the estimated number of days to settle, and the total balance for outstanding travelers cheques. Our estimated settlement exposure, after consideration of collateral that we require certain financial institutions to post, amounted to approximately $28.8 billion at October 1, 2007.

Some Visa members are composed of groups of financial institutions. Some of these members 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 are unable to process transactions efficiently, our revenues or operating results and the perception of our brands could be materially and adversely affected.

Our transaction processing systems may experience service interruptions or degradation as a result of processing or other technology malfunction, fire, natural disasters, power loss, disruptions in long distance or local telecommunications access, fraud, terrorism 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, as a result of 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 are not able to keep pace with the rapid technological developments in the payments industry to provide customers, merchants and cardholders with new and innovative payment programs and services, the use of our cards could decline, which could reduce our revenues and income.

The payments industry is subject to rapid and significant technological changes, including continuing developments of technologies in the areas of smart cards, radio frequency and proximity payment devices (such as contactless cards), e-commerce and mobile commerce, among others. We cannot predict the effect of

 

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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, and 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 a need for industry-wide standards, by resistance from customers or merchants to such changes or by intellectual property rights of third parties. Our future 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 us or third parties could adversely affect our reputation and revenues.

We and our customers, merchants and other third parties store cardholder account information in connection with our payment cards. In addition, our customers may use third-party processors to process transactions generated by cards carrying our brands. Breach of the systems on which sensitive cardholder data and account information are stored could lead to fraudulent activity involving our cards, reputational damage and lead to claims against us. For example, in January 2007, TJX Companies, Inc., a large retailer with stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, disclosed a significant security breach in connection with card and account information, which exposed tens of millions of payment cards issued under our brands and our competitors’ brands to fraudulent use. 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 be forced to pay damages and/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 of our customers, 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 could reduce the use and acceptance of our cards.

Criminals are using increasingly sophisticated methods to capture cardholder account information to engage in illegal activities such as fraud and identity theft. As outsourcing and specialization become a more acceptable way of doing business in the payments industry, there are more third parties involved in processing transactions using our cards. If fraud levels involving our cards were to rise, it could lead to reputational damage to our brands, which could reduce the use and acceptance of our cards, or to greater regulation, which could increase our compliance costs.

Visa Europe’s payments system operations are becoming increasingly independent from ours, and if we are unable to maintain seamless interaction of our respective systems, our business and the global perception of the Visa brand could be impaired.

Visa Europe currently has a regionally controlled processing platform. In June 2006, Visa Europe began operating an authorization system that is separate from ours and Visa Europe plans to begin operating a transaction clearing and settlement system that is separate from ours. Because we and Visa Europe have independent processing platforms, interoperability must be maintained. Visa Europe’s authorization system has experienced interruptions in service, and it could experience further interruptions in the future. To the extent that system disruptions occur, it may affect our cardholders who are traveling in Visa Europe’s region and impair our reputation. The increasingly independent payments system operations of Visa Europe could present certain challenges to our business because differences between the two processing systems may make it more difficult to maintain the interoperability of our respective systems. In addition, under the framework agreement, we are restricted from requiring Visa Europe to implement certain changes that we may deem important unless we agree to pay for the implementation costs. Any of the foregoing could result in a loss of payments volume or of customers or could materially increase our costs.

 

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Adverse currency fluctuations could decrease revenues and increase expenses.

We conduct business globally in many foreign currencies, but report our financial results in U.S. dollars. We are therefore exposed to adverse movements in foreign currency exchange rates because depreciation of non-U.S. currencies against the U.S. dollar reduces the U.S. dollar value of the non-U.S. dollar denominated revenues that we recognize and appreciation of non-U.S. currencies against the U.S. dollar increases the U.S. dollar value of expenses that we incur that are denominated in those foreign currencies. We enter into foreign currency hedging contracts to reduce the effect of adverse changes in the value of a limited number of foreign currencies and for a limited period of time (typically up to one year).

Some of our financial incentives to customers are recorded using estimates of our customers’ performance. Material changes in our customers’ performance compared to our estimates could have a material adverse impact on our results of operations.

In certain instances, we offer our customers financial incentives, which are typically tied to their payments volume or transaction messages processed, often under particular programs. These financial incentives are typically recorded as a reduction of revenues. We typically make estimates of our customers’ performance under these programs (sometimes over several years) in order to derive our estimates of the financial incentives that we will pay them. The reduction of revenues that we record each quarter under volume and support agreements is based on these estimates. Material changes in our customers’ performance compared to estimates could have a material adverse impact on our results of operations. For example, if a customer performs better than expected, we may be required to reduce future period revenues to account for the fact that we did not reduce revenues enough in prior periods. On the other hand, if a customer performs worse than expected, we may conclude that we reduced revenues by too much in previous periods.

We have significant contingent liabilities for settlement payment of all issued and outstanding travelers cheques.

At September 30, 2007, we had over $1 billion in contingent liabilities for settlement payment of all issued and outstanding travelers cheques. Approximately 35% of these travelers cheques were issued outside of the United States by a single issuer. While these obligations are supported in part by a bank guarantee, if the issuer were to fail to pay, we would be obligated to fund partial settlement of presented travelers cheques.

Risks Related to our Structure and Organization

The recent change to our governance structure could have a material adverse effect on our business relationships with our customers.

Prior to our recent reorganization, a number of Visa’s key members had officers who also served on the boards of directors of Visa U.S.A., Visa International, Visa Canada or the regional boards of directors of the unincorporated regions of Visa AP, Visa LAC and Visa CEMEA. As a result of our reorganization, the regional boards of directors of the unincorporated regions have been eliminated, and the boards of directors of Visa U.S.A. and Visa Canada are now comprised of management and are largely administrative in nature. In addition, although our regions are represented on our board by six of our 17 directors, the holders of our class B and class C common stock are not otherwise entitled to vote in the election of directors. As a result, the role of member-nominated and member-elected directors in our corporate governance has been reduced as a result of the reorganization. These changes could have a detrimental effect on our business relationships with members associated with a particular region. In addition, if a member that had an officer who also served on one of the regional boards of directors does not have an officer who currently serves on our board of directors, our business relationship with that member could suffer. A significant loss of revenues or payments volume attributable to such members could have a material adverse effect on our business.

 

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Our relationship with Visa Europe is governed by our framework agreement, which gives Visa Europe very broad rights to operate the Visa business in Visa Europe’s region. We have limited ability to control their operations and limited recourse in the event of a breach by Visa Europe.

Historically, Visa Europe had been subject to the same global operating rules as Visa U.S.A., Visa International and Visa Canada. These global operating rules regulate, among other things, interoperability of payment processing, brand maintenance and investment, standards for products and services, risk management, disputes between members and acceptance standards for merchants. After the reorganization, Visa Europe, unlike Visa U.S.A., Visa International and Visa Canada, did not become our subsidiary. As a result, Visa Europe is no longer subject to the same global operating rules as our subsidiaries and customers.

Our relationship with Visa Europe is now governed by a framework agreement and a subset of operating rules that we have agreed to with Visa Europe and that we have limited ability to change in the future. Although the agreement seeks to ensure that Visa Europe operates in a manner that is acceptable to us, the contractual arrangement is untested and may not be effective in achieving this result. Visa Europe is responsible for designing its own plans to ensure that it is in compliance with the global rules, interoperability, integrity of the system and trademark usage. While we have the right to request changes to these plans, we have no right to audit their compliance with these requirements or examine their books and records in connection with the framework agreement or the put option. The agreement provides Visa Europe with very broad latitude to operate the Visa business and use our brands and technology within Visa Europe’s region and provides us limited controls over the operation of the Visa business in their region. Visa Europe is not required to spend any minimum amount promoting and building the Visa brand in its region, and the strength of the Visa global brand is contingent, in part, on the efforts of Visa Europe to maintain product and service recognition and quality in Europe. Visa Europe may develop, among other things, new brands, payment processing characteristics, products, services, risk management standards, processes for resolving disputes among its members or merchant acceptance profiles that are inconsistent with the operating rules that we apply in the rest of the world.

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 such 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 to the extent necessary to return Visa Europe and its members to a neutral financial condition. We cannot terminate the framework agreement even in the event of Visa Europe’s material uncured breach, and we can only exercise our call right to purchase Visa Europe under extremely limited circumstances. Our remedies under this agreement, if Visa Europe fails to meet its obligations, are limited. Our inability to terminate and other features of the licenses granted under the agreement may also raise issues concerning the characterization of the licenses for purposes of determining our tax treatment with respect to entering into the licenses and receiving payments thereunder. Any inconsistency in the payment processing services and products that we are able to provide could negatively affect cardholders from Visa Europe using cards in our regions or our cardholders using cards in Visa Europe’s region.

We have granted to Visa Europe the right to require us to purchase all of the outstanding shares of Visa Europe’s capital stock. If Visa Europe exercises this option, we will incur a substantial financial obligation. In addition, we are required to record any change in the fair value of the put option on a quarterly basis, which will impact our net income.

We have granted Visa Europe a 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 following the date that is the earlier of (i) 365 days after the completion of an initial public offering of our common stock; and (ii) May 30, 2009. The purchase price of the Visa Europe shares under the put option is based upon a formula that, subject to certain adjustments, applies the 12-month forward price-to-earnings multiple applicable to our common stock at the time the option is exercised to Visa Europe’s projected sustainable adjusted net operating income for the same 12-month period. Upon exercise of the put option, we will be obligated, subject only to regulatory approvals and other limited conditions, to pay the purchase price within

 

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285 days in cash or, at our option, with a combination of cash and shares of our publicly tradable common stock. The portion of the purchase price we will be able to pay in stock will initially be limited to the percentage of our class C (series I) common stock that at the settlement date remains subject to the transfer restrictions. We must pay the purchase price in cash, however, if the settlement of the put option occurs more than three years after the completion of our proposed initial public offering.

We will incur a substantial financial obligation if Visa Europe exercises the put option. The amount of that potential obligation could vary dramatically based on, among other things, the 12 month projected sustainable net operating income of Visa Europe, the allocation of cost synergies, the trading price of our class A common stock, and our 12-month forward price-to-earnings multiple, in each case, as determined at the time the put option is exercised. We are not currently able to estimate the amount of this obligation due to the nature and number of factors involved and the range of important assumptions that would be required. However, depending upon Visa Europe’s level of sustainable profitability and/or our 12-month forward price-to-earnings multiple at the time of any exercise of the option, the amount of this obligation 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 meet our obligation. This financing may not be available to us in a sufficient amount within the required 285-day period or on terms that we deem to be reasonable. The payment of part of the exercise price in stock would dilute the ownership interests of our stockholders. Moreover, the acquisition of Visa Europe following an exercise of the put option would require us to integrate the operations of Visa Europe into our business, which could divert the time and attention of senior management.

We recorded the put option at its fair value in our consolidated balance sheet on October 1, 2007 as part of the reorganization. In the future, we will be required to record any change in the fair value of the put option on a quarterly basis. These adjustments will be recorded through our consolidated statements of operations, which will therefore impact our reported net income and earnings per share. Such quarterly adjustments and their resulting impact on our reported statements of operations could be significant. The existence of these charges could adversely affect our ability to raise capital and/or the price at which we can raise capital.

See Item 13—“Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence—Relationship with Visa Europe—The Put-Call Option Agreement.”

The terms of our reorganization created financial incentives that reward net revenue growth in the four quarters ended December 31, 2007.

One of the terms of our reorganization plan was a “true up” mechanism designed to reallocate the shares initially distributed to the members of Visa U.S.A. and Visa International, and the former members of Visa Canada, among themselves, based on each participating region’s relative under- or over-achievement of its net revenue targets during a measurement period consisting of the four-quarter period ending with (and including) the latest quarter for which financial statements are included in the registration statement in connection with our proposed initial public offering on the date it is declared effective by the SEC. We expect that the measurement period will consist of the four quarters ended December 31, 2007. This mechanism creates financial incentives that reward net revenue growth in the measurement period. Because comparable incentives did not exist in prior periods and will not exist in future periods, it is possible that the rate of revenue growth in the measurement period will not be representative of rates that may be expected in future periods.

Our management team is new and does not have a history of working together.

We designated Joseph W. Saunders as our Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of our board in May 2007 and have since assembled a new management team, including John (Hans) C. Morris, our President, and Byron H. Pollitt, our Chief Financial Officer. Our success will largely depend on the ability of the new management team to work together to integrate the operations and business of Visa U.S.A., Visa International and Visa Canada, and to continue to execute our business strategy. Because our management team does not have

 

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a significant history of working together and includes individuals recruited from outside our company, they may not be able to work together effectively, which could disrupt our operations and harm our business.

Our recent reorganization will require us to make significant changes to our culture and business operations. If we fail to make this transition successfully, our business could be materially and adversely affected.

Our recent reorganization will require broad and significant changes to our culture and operations. Historically, the primary goal of Visa U.S.A., Visa International and Visa Canada has not been to maximize profit for these entities, but rather to deliver benefits to their members and enhance member opportunity and revenue. As a result of the reorganization, we now must operate our business in a way that maximizes long-term stockholder value. Many of our employees have limited experience operating in a profit-maximizing business environment.

In addition, the Visa enterprise historically has been operated under a decentralized regional structure, and each region has had substantial autonomy in its own business strategies and decisions. Our recent reorganization has resulted in a more centralized corporate governance structure in which our board of directors exerts centralized management control. We face significant challenges integrating the operations of the different regions. We may also be unable to retain and attract key employees, and we may not realize the cost savings and operational efficiencies that we currently expect. This transition will be subject to risks, expenses and difficulties that we cannot predict and may not be capable of handling in an efficient and timely manner.

Any acquisitions that we make could disrupt our business and harm our financial condition.

We may make strategic acquisitions of complementary businesses, products or technologies. If so, we may not be able to successfully finance or integrate any such businesses, products or technologies. Furthermore, the integration of any acquisition 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. To the extent we pay the purchase price of any acquisition in cash, it would reduce our cash reserves, and to the extent the purchase price is paid with our stock, it could be dilutive to our stockholders. While we from time to time evaluate potential acquisitions of businesses, products and technologies, and anticipate continuing to make these evaluations, we have no present understandings, commitments or agreements with respect to any material acquisitions.

Our regional classes of common stock, our class B common stock and our class C common stock into which our regional classes of common stock may be converted, are subject to significant restrictions on transfer and ownership.

The regional classes of our common stock that were issued upon the closing of the reorganization, and our class B common stock and class C common stock into which our regional classes of common stock will be converted prior to our proposed initial public offering, are and will be subject to significant ownership and transfer restrictions. For example, subject to limited exceptions, shares of our class B common stock may not be transferred until the later of three years from the date of an initial public offering or the period of time necessary to resolve the covered litigation. All other regional classes of our common stock and our class C common stock may not be transferred, subject to limited exceptions, until the third anniversary of the date of an initial public offering. During such periods, except for limited exceptions, holders of our regional classes of common stock, and our class B common stock and class C common stock will not be able to transfer such stock to any person or entity other than affiliates of the holder or, in the case of class B and class C common stock, to holders of common stock of the same class of common stock.

Ownership of a significant percentage of our common stock is concentrated in a few of our largest members.

Our four largest stockholders own approximately 25% of our outstanding common stock. This concentration of voting power could result in these stockholders having the ability to block stockholder action that other holders of our common stock may deem favorable.

 

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The U.S. Internal Revenue Service may treat a portion of our common stock received by a member of Visa International or Visa U.S.A. as taxable income.

Based on the opinion of our special tax counsel, we believe that, subject to the assumptions, qualifications and limitations contained in such opinion, we, the members of Visa International and the members of Visa U.S.A. will not recognize any gain or loss for U.S. federal income tax purposes in connection with the reorganization and the true-up, except that, as to a portion of any Visa Inc. stock received in connection with the true-up, a stockholder of Visa Inc. may recognize imputed interest income. If a stockholder is not a United States person for U.S. federal income tax purposes, we may be required to withhold U.S. federal income tax at a rate of 30% of the imputed interest or, if applicable, at a lower treaty rate.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the opinion of our special tax counsel does not apply to the extent that the fair market value of our common stock received by a member of Visa International or by a member of Visa U.S.A. pursuant to the reorganization and the true-up (whether received on the date of closing of the reorganization or thereafter) is different from the fair market value of such member’s equity interest in Visa International or Visa U.S.A., as the case may be, immediately before the commencement of the reorganization. Our special tax counsel is unable to opine as to such difference because, in transactions similar to the reorganization and the true-up, treatment as an exchange described in Section 351 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, generally applies only to the extent that a taxpayer transfers property to a corporation in exchange for stock having the same fair market value. The IRS might therefore take the position that the difference (whether received on the date of closing of the reorganization or thereafter), in the case of an excess of value received over value surrendered, should not be treated for U.S. federal income tax purposes as having been received in exchange for property. As a result, a member of Visa International or a member of Visa U.S.A. could be required to recognize income, but only to the extent of the excess or shortfall of value received over value surrendered.

The shares of class B common stock that are retained by members of Visa U.S.A. will be subject to dilution as a result of the establishment of the escrow account and any follow-on offerings of our class A common stock, the proceeds of which will be used to fund additional amounts into the escrow account necessary to resolve the covered litigation.

The shares of class B common stock that are retained by Visa U.S.A. members and that are not redeemed out of the proceeds of the proposed initial public offering will be subject to dilution to the extent of the initial amount of the escrow account. This dilution of the shares of class B common stock will be accomplished through an adjustment to the conversion rate of the shares of class B common stock. These shares will not be able to be converted into shares of class A common stock or, subject to limited exceptions, transferred until the later of the third anniversary of an initial public offering or the final resolution of the covered litigation. The shares of class C common stock, which will be held by members other than the Visa U.S.A. members, will not be subject to this dilutive adjustment. After the completion of our proposed initial public offering and at the request of the litigation committee, we expect to conduct follow-on offerings of our shares of class A common stock, which we refer to as loss shares, if the litigation committee deems it desirable to increase the escrow account. The proceeds from the sale of loss shares would then be deposited in the escrow account, and the shares of class B common stock would be subject to additional dilution to the extent of the loss shares through a concurrent adjustment to the conversion rate of the class B common stock. Because the voting power of the class B and class C common stock, and the entitlement of the holders of class B common stock and class C common stock to participate in dividends or distributions upon a liquidation or winding up of Visa Inc. is determined on an as converted basis, based upon the number of shares of class A common stock into which the class B or class C common stock would be converted at the time of the vote, dividend or distribution, as applicable, the adjustment to the conversion rate applicable to the class B common stock upon the issuance of loss shares will result in a dilution of the voting power of the class B common stock and the entitlement of holders of class B common stock to participate in dividends and distributions upon a liquidation of Visa Inc.

 

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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, bylaws and Delaware law could delay or prevent a merger or acquisition that our stockholders consider favorable. Except for limited exceptions, no person may own more than 15% of our total outstanding shares on an as-converted basis or more than 15% of any class or series of our common stock, unless our board of directors approves the acquisition of such shares. In addition, except for common stock issued to a member in connection with the reorganization, or shares issuable on conversion of such common stock, shares held by a member, a competitor, an affiliate or member of a competitor may not exceed 5% of any class of common stock. In addition:

 

   

our board of directors will be divided into three classes, with approximately one-third of our directors elected each year;

 

   

following the closing of an initial public offering until the third anniversary of such offering, six directors will be individuals elected or nominated by our regions;

 

   

our independent directors may be removed only upon the affirmative vote of at least 80% of the outstanding shares of class A common stock;

 

   

our stockholders are not entitled to the right to cumulate votes in the election of directors;

 

   

holders of our class A common stock are not entitled to act by written consent;

 

   

our stockholders must provide timely notice for any stockholder proposals and director nominations;

 

   

we have adopted provisions that eliminate the personal liability of directors for monetary damages for actions taken as a director, with certain exceptions;

 

 

 

in addition to certain class votes, a vote of 66 2/3% or more of all of the outstanding shares of our common stock then entitled to vote is required to amend certain sections of our amended and restated certificate of incorporation; and

 

   

we will be governed by Section 203 of the General Corporation Law of the State of Delaware, or DGCL, as amended from time to time, which provides that a corporation shall not engage in any business combination with any interested stockholder for a period of three years following the time that such stockholder became an interested stockholder, except under certain circumstances including upon receipt of prior board approval.

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.

We have not paid any cash dividends on our common stock. After the completion of our proposed initial public offering, we intend to pay cash dividends on a quarterly basis on our class A, class B and class C common stock. Any future payment of dividends will be dependent 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. 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 and series of common stock. If, as a consequence of these various factors, we are unable to generate sufficient earnings and cash flows from our business, we may not be able to make payments of dividends on our common stock.

 

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ITEM 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments

Not applicable.

 

ITEM 2. Properties

At September 30, 2007, we owned and leased approximately 2.1 million square feet of office and processing center space in 30 countries around the world, of which approximately 1.4 million square feet are owned and the remaining 700,000 square feet are leased. Our corporate headquarters is located in the San Francisco Bay Area and consists of four buildings that we own, totaling 940,000 square feet. We also own a 167,000 square foot office building in Miami, which serves as our LAC regional headquarters.

In addition, we operate three processing centers: a processing center and an office facility in Colorado totaling 268,000 square feet, which we own, a processing center and office facility in Virginia, totaling 137,500 square feet, which we lease, and an 11,000 square foot leased facility in Japan. In July 2006, we approved a plan to replace our leased processing center in the eastern United States by building a new 140,000 square foot processing center and a new 113,000 square foot office building.

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

 

ITEM 3. Legal Proceedings

Retrospective Responsibility Plan

Visa U.S.A. and Visa International are parties to certain legal proceedings that we refer to as the covered litigation. The retrospective responsibility plan is designed to address potential liability under the covered litigation. Covered litigation means:

 

   

The Discover Litigation. Discover Financial Services Inc. v. Visa U.S.A. Inc., Case No. 04-CV-07844 (S.D.N.Y.), which we refer to as the Discover litigation;

 

   

The American Express Litigation. American Express Travel Related Services Co., Inc. v. Visa U.S.A. Inc. et al., No. 04-CV-0897 (S.D.N.Y.), which we refer to as the American Express litigation;

 

   

The Attridge Litigation. Attridge v. Visa U.S.A. Inc. et al., Case No. CGC-04-436920 (Cal. Super.), which we refer to as the Attridge litigation;

 

   

The Interchange Litigation. In re Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation, 1:05-md-01720-JG-JO (E.D.N.Y.) or MDL 1720, including all cases currently included in MDL 1720, any other case that includes claims for damages relating to the period prior to proposed our initial public offering that is transferred for coordinated or consolidated pre-trial proceedings at any time to MDL 1720 by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation or otherwise included at any time in MDL 1720 by order of any court of competent jurisdiction and Kendall v. Visa U.S.A., Inc. et al., Case No. CO4-4276 JSW (N.D. Cal.), which we refer to collectively as the interchange litigation; and

 

   

any claim that challenges the reorganization or the consummation thereof; provided that such claim is transferred for coordinated or consolidated pre-trial proceedings at any time to MDL 1720 by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation or otherwise included at any time in MDL 1720 by order of any court of competent jurisdiction.

Upon the closing of our proposed initial public offering, we intend to deposit a portion of the net proceeds from such offering, as determined by the litigation committee, in an escrow account from which settlements of, or judgments in, the covered litigation will be payable. We intend to use the funds in the escrow account to satisfy the settlement obligations of Visa U.S.A. in the American Express litigation and, as described below, to make payments relating to obligations of Visa U.S.A., Visa International and, in certain instances, Visa Inc., in connection with future settlement of, or judgments in, covered litigation.

 

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Our class B and class C common stock will be issued pursuant to the conversion of our outstanding regional classes of common stock prior to our proposed initial public offering. These different classes of common stock (and the series into which they are divided) reflect the different rights and obligations of Visa financial institution members and Visa Europe based on the geographic region in which they are located. The class B common stock that is retained by Visa U.S.A. members and that is not redeemed out of the proceeds of our proposed initial public offering will be subject to dilution to the extent of the initial amount of the escrow account. This dilution of the class B common stock will be accomplished through an initial adjustment to the conversion rate applicable to each share of class B common stock. The class B common stock will not, subject to limited exceptions, be convertible into class A common stock or be transferable until the later of the third anniversary of our proposed initial public offering or the final resolution of the covered litigation, although our board of directors may make exceptions to this transfer restriction after resolution of all covered litigation. The class C common stock will not be subject to this dilutive adjustment.

After the completion of our proposed initial public offering and if the litigation committee so requests in order to increase the escrow account, we will conduct follow-on offerings of our class A common stock, which we refer to as loss shares. The proceeds from the sale of loss shares would then be deposited in the escrow account, and the class B common stock would be subject to additional dilution to the extent of the loss shares through a concurrent adjustment to the conversion rate of the class B common stock. Unless we or our affiliates have actually incurred a liability in respect of the covered litigation and there are insufficient funds on deposit in the escrow account at such time to fund such liability, the litigation committee may not request that we sell loss shares in an underwritten offering more than twice in any 12-month period, and the proceeds from the requested offering must reasonably be expected to be at least $100,000,000. We will not offer loss shares in an amount that exceeds the number of shares of our class A common stock into which our issued and outstanding class B common stock is then convertible immediately prior to our proposed initial public offering.

Any amounts remaining in the escrow account on the date on which all of the covered litigation has been resolved will be released back to us, and the conversion rate of the class B common stock then outstanding will be adjusted in the holders’ favor through a formula based on the released escrow amount and the market price of our class A common stock to be issued in our proposed initial public offering.

The litigation committee has been established pursuant to a litigation management agreement among Visa Inc., Visa International, Visa U.S.A. and Robert R. Hackney, Bruce L. Hammonds, Peter E. Raskind, Charles W. Scharf and John G. Stumpf, all of whom are affiliated with, or acting for, certain Visa U.S.A. members. The litigation committee: (i) will determine the amount of the proceeds of our proposed initial public offering to be deposited in the escrow account; (ii) may request the sale of loss shares as described above, subject to our right to delay the filing or effectiveness of a registration statement under certain circumstances; and (iii) may recommend or refer the cash payment portion of a proposed settlement of any covered litigation to the Visa U.S.A. board of directors.

The board of directors of Visa U.S.A. will not be permitted to authorize any portion of a settlement of any of the covered litigation that would or might require payments out of the escrow account, the sale of loss shares, or the payment of cash by principal, acquirer, administrative, cheque issuer, administrative, group, or associate members of Visa U.S.A., which we refer to collectively as specified settlement members, unless such settlement has been approved by or is subject to the approval of specified settlement members. We refer to such settlements as specified settlements. Approval of a specified settlement requires the approval of two-thirds of the votes of the specified settlement members.

Interchange Judgment Sharing Agreement

On July 1, 2007, we entered into an interchange judgment sharing agreement with Visa U.S.A., Visa International and certain member financial institutions of Visa U.S.A. in connection with the interchange litigation.

 

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Under the interchange judgment sharing agreement, in the event that a final judgment in the interchange litigation is enforced against a signatory or there is a global settlement involving all signatories, each signatory other than Visa U.S.A. and Visa International will pay its membership proportion (as defined in the Visa U.S.A. certificate of incorporation) of the amount of any such final judgment that is not allocated to the conduct of MasterCard under the terms of the agreement. Visa U.S.A. will pay the amount of such final judgment that is not allocated to the conduct of MasterCard and that is not accounted for by the other signatories, although it will obtain reimbursement for such payments out of the escrow account. Visa International has no obligation under the interchange judgment sharing agreement to share in a judgment enforced against another signatory or in a global settlement. The agreement provides that Visa U.S.A. and Visa International will be reimbursed by the bank signatories for the full amount of any final judgment allocated to the conduct of MasterCard, but the bank signatories have no obligation to the other signatories with respect to the MasterCard portion of a final judgment.

If we are named as a defendant in a case in the interchange litigation, we have the right to join the judgment sharing agreement on the terms applicable to Visa International unless a claim relates to our conduct after the reorganization (other than the reorganization or our proposed initial public offering) or our conduct that is not the mere continuation of conduct being challenged in the interchange litigation at the closing of the reorganization.

Loss Sharing Agreement

We have entered into a loss sharing agreement with Visa U.S.A., Visa International and Visa U.S.A. members representing 61% of the Visa U.S.A. aggregate membership proportion. The loss sharing agreement provides for the indemnification of Visa U.S.A., Visa International and, in certain circumstances, Visa Inc. with respect to: (i) the amount of a final judgment paid by Visa U.S.A. or Visa International in the covered litigation after the operation of the interchange judgment sharing agreement, plus any amounts reimbursable to the interchange judgment sharing agreement signatories; or (ii) the damages portion of a settlement of a covered litigation that is approved as required under Visa U.S.A.’s certificate of incorporation by the vote of Visa U.S.A.’s members. The several obligation of each bank that is a party to the loss sharing agreement will equal the amount of any final judgment enforceable against Visa U.S.A., Visa International or any other signatory to the interchange judgment sharing agreement, or the amount of any approved settlement of a covered litigation, multiplied by such bank’s then-current membership proportion as calculated in accordance with Visa U.S.A.’s certificate of incorporation.

Visa U.S.A. will be responsible for the remainder of any amounts under (i) and (ii) above after taking into account the total amounts owed by the Visa U.S.A. members that are parties to the loss sharing agreement and any funds it recovers pursuant to a judgment sharing agreement. Such remainder amounts are subject to indemnification by Visa U.S.A. members that are not parties to the loss sharing agreement, as described below.

We contemplate that payments due under any covered litigation that are subject to the loss sharing agreement will be paid out of the escrow account, including any additional proceeds from the sale of loss shares. If funds in the escrow account are insufficient to satisfy such obligations, then each Visa U.S.A. member that is a party to the loss sharing agreement is required to contribute an amount equal to the unsatisfied obligation multiplied by such party’s then current membership proportion.

In order to avoid a double payment as a result of the dilutive adjustment in the conversion rate of the class B common stock upon the establishment of the escrow account, we will reimburse Visa U.S.A. members from the escrow account for payments made: (i) pursuant to the interchange judgment sharing agreement in respect of covered litigation to a claimant or another party to the loss sharing agreement (other than payments allocated in a final judgment or approved settlement to MasterCard’s conduct); or (ii) pursuant to the interchange judgment sharing agreement or the loss sharing agreement for certain payments made prior to our proposed initial public offering relating to the items described in the immediately preceding paragraph. In the event that the escrow account contains insufficient funds to make such reimbursements, all reimbursements will be made pro rata.

 

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Indemnification by Visa U.S.A. Members

The members of Visa U.S.A. have indemnification obligations with respect to the covered litigation pursuant to Visa U.S.A.’s certificate of incorporation and bylaws and in accordance with their membership agreements, although we currently intend to use the escrow amount, including any additional proceeds from the sale of loss shares, to satisfy obligations under the covered litigation before seeking to enforce these indemnification obligations.

To the extent that the initial escrow amount and any additional sale of loss shares is insufficient to fully satisfy obligations under the covered litigation and reimburse judgment sharing and loss sharing payments by Visa U.S.A.’s members, we will use commercially reasonable efforts to enforce the indemnification obligations of Visa U.S.A.’s members for such excess amount, including but not limited to enforcing indemnification obligations pursuant to the loss sharing agreement, Visa U.S.A.’s certificate of incorporation and bylaws and in accordance with their membership agreements.

Covered Litigation

The Discover Litigation

On October 4, 2004, Discover Financial Services, Inc. filed a complaint against Visa U.S.A., Visa International and MasterCard. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and was designated as a related case to the DOJ litigation, and was assigned to the same judge who issued the DOJ decision described under “—Other Legal and Regulatory ProceedingsDepartment of Justice Antitrust Litigation and Related Litigation.” The complaint alleged that the implementation and enforcement of Visa’s bylaw 2.10(e) and MasterCard’s Competitive Programs Policy, or CPP (which prohibited their respective members from issuing American Express or Discover cards), as well as Visa’s “Honor All Cards” rule (which required merchants that accept Visa cards to accept for payment every validly presented Visa card) and a similar MasterCard rule violated Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act as well as California’s Unfair Competition Act in an alleged market for general purpose card network services and an alleged market for debit card network services. The complaint also challenged Visa’s no surcharge rule and a similar MasterCard rule, under the same statutes. On December 10, 2004, Visa U.S.A. and Visa International moved to dismiss the complaint in its entirety for failure to state a claim. In lieu of filing its opposition papers to this motion, Discover filed an amended complaint on January 7, 2005. In the amended complaint, Discover dropped some of its claims, including its challenge against the no surcharge rule and its claims under California’s Unfair Competition Law, but continued to allege that the implementation and enforcement of Visa U.S.A.’s bylaw 2.10(e), MasterCard’s CPP, and the “Honor All Cards” rule violated Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act. On June 7, 2007, Discover filed a Second Amended Complaint, which eliminated allegations related to the “Honor All Cards” rule, dropped attempted monopolization and monopolization claims against MasterCard and Visa International to conform to the court’s rulings on motions to dismiss, and made technical changes to the names of the plaintiffs.

Specifically, Discover claims that Visa U.S.A.’s bylaw 2.10(e) unreasonably restrained trade by prohibiting financial institutions that were members of Visa U.S.A. from issuing payment cards on the Discover network in the United States. Discover requests that the District Court apply collateral estoppel with respect to the court’s final judgment in the DOJ litigation and enter an order that bylaw 2.10(e) and the CPP have injured competition and caused injury to Discover. Discover seeks treble damages in an amount to be proved at trial, along with attorneys’ fees and costs. On February 7, 2005, Visa U.S.A. and Visa International moved to dismiss Discover’s amended complaint in its entirety for failure to state a claim. On April 14, 2005, the District Court denied, at this stage in the litigation, Discover’s request to give collateral estoppel effect to the findings in the DOJ litigation. However, the District Court indicated that Discover may refile a motion for collateral estoppel after discovery. Under the doctrine of collateral estoppel, a court has the discretion to preclude one or more issues from being relitigated in a subsequent action if: (1) the same issues were actually litigated and determined in the prior action; (2) proof of those issues was necessary to reach the prior judgment; and (3) the party to be estopped had a full and fair opportunity to litigate those issues in the prior action. Accordingly, if the District Court were to give

 

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effect to collateral estoppel on one or more issues in the future, then significant elements of plaintiffs’ claims would be established, thereby making it more likely that Visa U.S.A. and Visa International would be found liable and making the possibility of an award of damages more likely. In the event all issues are subsequently decided against Visa U.S.A. and Visa International in dispositive motions during the course of the litigation, then there is the possibility that the sole issue remaining will be whether a damage award is appropriate and, if so, what the amount of damages should be.

Also on April 14, 2005, and in subsequent rulings, with respect to the alleged market for general purpose card network services, the District Court denied Visa U.S.A.’s motion to dismiss Discover’s Section 1 conspiracy to restrain trade claims and Section 2 monopolization, attempted monopolization and conspiracy to monopolize claims that were based upon the conduct described above. On October 24, 2005, the court granted Visa International’s motion to dismiss Discover’s attempted monopolization and monopolization claims against it, because plaintiffs did not allege that Visa International individually had sufficient market share to maintain these claims. On November 9, 2005, the court denied Visa U.S.A. and Visa International’s motion to dismiss Discover’s claims based upon effects in an alleged debit market. Visa U.S.A. and Visa International answered the amended complaint on November 30, 2005. Fact discovery is complete.

At a hearing on April 25, 2007, the District Court set a trial date of September 9, 2008. The court also established deadlines and procedures for motions practice and expert discovery. On July 24, 2007, Discover served its expert’s report purporting to demonstrate that it had incurred substantial damages. Expert reports were served jointly by Visa U.S.A. and Visa International on October 9, 2007.

In accordance with SFAS No. 5, “Accounting for Contingencies,” Visa U.S.A. recorded a litigation provision of $650 million related to the Discover matter at September 30, 2007.

The American Express Litigation

On November 15, 2004, American Express filed a complaint against Visa U.S.A., Visa International, MasterCard and eight Visa U.S.A. and Visa International member financial institutions (JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corporation, Capital One Financial Corp., U.S. Bancorp, Household International Inc., Wells Fargo & Company, Providian Financial Corp., and U.S.A.A. Federal Savings Bank). Subsequently, U.S.A.A. Federal Savings Bank, Bank of America Corp. and Household International Inc. announced settlements with American Express and were dismissed from the case. The complaint, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, was designated as a related case to the DOJ litigation and was assigned to the same judge. See “—Department of Justice Antitrust Case and Related Litigation.” The complaint alleged that the implementation and enforcement of Visa U.S.A.’s bylaw 2.10(e) and MasterCard’s CPP violated Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act in an alleged market for general purpose card network services and an alleged market for debit card network services.

On November 1, 2007, Visa Inc., Visa U.S.A. and Visa International entered into an agreement with American Express to resolve all current litigation between American Express and Visa U.S.A. and Visa International, and the related litigation between American Express and five other co-defendant banks. Under the settlement agreement, an initial payment of $1.13 billion will be made on or before March 31, 2008, including $945 million from Visa Inc. and $185 million from the five co-defendant banks. Beginning March 31, 2008, Visa Inc. will pay American Express an additional amount of up to $70 million per quarter for 16 quarters, for a maximum total of $1.12 billion. Total future payments discounted at 4.72% over the payment term, or $1.9 billion, are reflected in the litigation provision on Visa U.S.A.’s consolidated statement of operations for fiscal 2007 and in current and long-term accrued litigation on its consolidated balance sheet at September 30, 2007 and on the consolidated balance sheet of Visa Inc. at October 1, 2007. We intend to fund our payment obligations under the American Express settlement with amounts in the escrow account, in accordance with our retrospective responsibility plan. See Item 7—“Overview of Financial Condition and Results of OperationsLiquidity and Capital ResourcesUses of LiquidityLitigation.”

 

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The Attridge Litigation

On December 8, 2004, a complaint was filed in California state court on behalf of a putative class of consumers asserting claims against Visa U.S.A., Visa International and MasterCard under California’s Cartwright Act and Unfair Competition Law. The claims in this action, Attridge v. Visa U.S.A. Inc., et al., seek to piggyback on the portion of the DOJ antitrust litigation in which the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York found that Visa’s bylaw 2.10(e) and MasterCard’s Competitive Programs Policy constitute unlawful restraints of trade under the federal antitrust laws. See “—Department of Justice Antitrust Case and Related Litigation.” After the plaintiff twice amended his complaint, Visa U.S.A., Visa International and MasterCard demurred to (moved to dismiss) the complaint and, at a hearing on November 2, 2005, the court dismissed plaintiff’s claims with leave to amend. On December 2, 2005, the plaintiff filed a third amended complaint. The defendants again demurred to (moved to dismiss) that complaint. On May 19, 2006, the court entered an order dismissing plaintiff’s Cartwright Act claims with prejudice but allowing the plaintiff to proceed with his Unfair Competition Law claims. On June 19, 2006, Visa U.S.A. and Visa International answered the third amended complaint. The parties are now moving forward with discovery. No trial date has been set. On December 14, 2007, the plaintiff amended his complaint to add Visa Inc. as a defendant. No new claims were added to the complaint.

The Interchange Litigation

On October 8, 2004, a purported class action lawsuit was filed by a group of merchants in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against Visa U.S.A. Inc., MasterCard and several Visa U.S.A. member financial institutions alleging, among other things, that Visa U.S.A.’s and MasterCard’s interchange fees contravene the Sherman Act and the Clayton Act, Kendall v. Visa U.S.A. Inc., et al. The plaintiffs seek treble damages in an unspecified amount, attorneys’ fees and an injunction against Visa U.S.A. and MasterCard from setting interchange and engaging in joint marketing activities, which plaintiffs allege include the purported negotiation of merchant discount rates with certain merchants. On November 19, 2004, Visa U.S.A. filed an answer to the complaint. The plaintiffs filed an amended complaint on April 25, 2005. Visa U.S.A. moved to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim and, in the alternative, also moved for summary judgment with respect to certain of the claims. On July 25, 2005, the court issued an order granting Visa U.S.A.’s motion to dismiss and dismissed the complaint with prejudice. On August 10, 2005, the plaintiffs filed a notice of appeal. Plaintiffs’ opening appeal brief was filed on November 28, 2005. Visa filed its opposition brief to plaintiffs’ appeal on January 26, 2006 and plaintiffs filed their reply on February 23, 2006. The Ninth Circuit heard oral argument on the plaintiffs’ appeal on June 11, 2007. No ruling has been issued.

On May 6, 2005, a purported class action lawsuit was filed by a merchant, Animal Land, Inc., against Visa U.S.A. in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, alleging that Visa U.S.A.’s no-surcharge rule violates Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act. Plaintiff alleges that under the no-surcharge rule, merchants are not permitted to pass along to cardholders a discrete surcharge to account for the fees that the merchant pays in connection with Visa-branded payment card transactions. Plaintiff alleges that this rule causes the fees paid by merchants to be supracompetitive. The suit seeks treble damages in an unspecified amount, attorneys’ fees and injunctive relief. The Animal Land case has been transferred to the multidistrict litigation proceedings and is included in the First Amended Class Action Complaint discussed below.

On June 22, 2005, a purported class action lawsuit was filed by a group of merchants in the U.S. District Court of Connecticut against MasterCard, Visa U.S.A., Visa International and a number of Visa U.S.A. and Visa International member financial institutions alleging, among other things, that Visa’s and MasterCard’s purported setting of interchange fees violates Section 1 of the Sherman Act. In addition, the complaint alleges Visa’s and MasterCard’s purported tying and bundling of transaction fees also constitutes a violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act. Since the filing of this complaint, there have been approximately 48 similar complaints, the majority styled as class actions, although 10 complaints are on behalf of individual plaintiffs, filed on behalf of merchants against Visa U.S.A. and MasterCard, and in some cases, certain Visa U.S.A. and Visa International member financial institutions, in federal courts in California, Connecticut, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York,

 

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Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Wisconsin. Visa International was named as a defendant in more than 30 of these complaints. On October 19, 2005, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation issued an order transferring these cases to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York for coordination of pre-trial proceedings. On April 24, 2006, the group of purported class plaintiffs filed a First Amended Class Action Complaint. Taken together, the claims in the First Amended Class Action Complaint and in the 10 complaints brought on behalf of individual merchants are generally brought under Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act. Specifically, the complaints contain some or all of the following claims: (i) that Visa’s and MasterCard’s setting of interchange fees (for both credit and offline debit transactions) violates Section 1 of the Sherman Act; (ii) that Visa and MasterCard have enacted and enforced various rules, including the no surcharge rule and purported anti-steering rules, in violation of Section 1 or 2 of the Sherman Act; (iii) that Visa’s and MasterCard’s purported bundling of the acceptance of premium credit cards to standard credit cards constitutes an unlawful tying arrangement; and (iv) that Visa and MasterCard have unlawfully tied and bundled transaction fees. In addition to the claims brought under federal antitrust law, some of these complaints contain certain state unfair competition law claims based upon the same conduct described above. These interchange-related litigations also seek treble damages in an unspecified amount (although several of the complaints allege that the plaintiffs expect that damages will range in the tens of billions of dollars), as well as attorneys’ fees and injunctive relief.

Visa U.S.A. and Visa International answered the First Consolidated Amended Class Action Complaint and the individual merchant complaints on June 9, 2006. On July 10, 2007, pursuant to a joint request by the parties, the court entered a scheduling order, setting deadlines of June 30, 2008 for completion of fact discovery, February 20, 2009 for completion of expert discovery and March 27, 2009 for filing all summary judgment and other pretrial motions.

On September 7, 2007, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation to the District Court recommending that the District Court grant the defendants’ motion to dismiss the class plaintiffs’ claims for damages incurred prior to January 1, 2004. On October 12, 2007, the Magistrate Judge granted putative class plaintiffs’ request to brief the issue of whether the Report and Recommendation would affect the claims of non-party members of the putative class that opted out of the In re Visa Check/MasterMoney Antitrust Litigation class action. Following the submissions, the Magistrate Judge declined plaintiffs’ request to advise on that issue. Putative class plaintiffs filed objections to the Report and Recommendation on November 14, 2007, and defendants filed their responses to those objections on December 13, 2007.

Other Legal and Regulatory Proceedings

In addition to the matters described above, we are a party to legal and regulatory proceedings with respect to a variety of matters in the ordinary course of business. Some of these proceedings involve complex claims that are subject to substantial uncertainties and unspecified damages. Therefore, the probability of loss and an estimation of damages are not possible to ascertain at present. Accordingly, we have not established reserves for any of these proceedings, including the matters described above, other than for the Currency Conversion Litigation and the GMRI, Inc. case. See “—Retailers’ Litigation” and “—Currency Conversion Litigation.” Except for those matters described above under “—Retrospective Responsibility Plan” and below, we do not believe that any legal or regulatory proceedings to which we are a party would have a material impact on our results of operations, financial position, or cash flows. Although we believe that we have strong defenses for the litigations and regulatory proceedings described above under “—Retrospective Responsibility Plan” and below, we could in the future incur judgments or fines or enter into settlements of claims that could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial position or cash flows.

Notwithstanding our belief, if we are found liable in a large class action lawsuit or on the basis of a claim entitling the plaintiff to treble damages or under which we were jointly and severally liable, charges we may be required to record could be significant and could materially and adversely affect our results of operations, cash flow and financial condition, or, in certain circumstances, even cause us to become insolvent, and result in a

 

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significant reduction in the value, or the complete loss, of your investment. Moreover, an adverse outcome in a regulatory proceeding could lead to the filing of civil damage claims and possibly result in damage awards in amounts that could be significant and could materially and adversely affect our results of operation, cash flow and financial condition or lead to the other results set forth above. For a discussion of certain risks related to legal and regulatory matters, see “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Business—Legal and Regulatory Risks.”

Retailers’ Litigation

Commencing in October 1996, several class action suits were brought by a number of U.S. merchants against Visa U.S.A. and MasterCard challenging certain aspects of the payment card industry under U.S. federal antitrust laws. Those suits were later consolidated in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, In re Visa Check/MasterMoney Antitrust Litigation. The plaintiffs claimed that Visa U.S.A.’s “Honor All Cards” rule, which required merchants that accepted Visa cards to accept for payment every validly presented Visa card, and a similar MasterCard rule, constituted an illegal tying arrangement in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act. The plaintiffs claimed that Visa U.S.A. and MasterCard unlawfully tied acceptance of debit cards to acceptance of credit cards. The plaintiffs also claimed that Visa U.S.A. and MasterCard conspired to monopolize what the plaintiffs characterized as the alleged point-of-sale debit card market, thereby suppressing the growth of regional networks such as ATM payments systems. On June 4, 2003, Visa U.S.A. signed a settlement agreement to settle the claims brought by the plaintiffs in this matter, which the court approved on December 19, 2003. Pursuant to the settlement agreement, Visa agreed to modify its “Honor All Cards” rule such that, effective January 1, 2004, a merchant may accept only Visa check cards, only Visa credit cards, or both. Visa also agreed to pay approximately $2.0 billion to the merchant class over 10 years, among other things. A number of class members appealed the District Court’s approval of the settlement. These appeals largely focused on the court’s attorneys’ fees award as well on the court’s ruling on the scope of the release set forth in the settlement agreement. On January 4, 2005, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order affirming the District Court’s approval of the settlement agreement. A petition for certiorari by two objectors was denied by the United States Supreme Court on May 16, 2005. Accordingly, the settlement is now final.

Several lawsuits were commenced by merchants that opted not to participate in the plaintiff class in In re Visa Check/MasterMoney Antitrust Litigation, including Best Buy Stores, CVS, Giant Eagle, Inc., The Home Depot U.S.A. Inc., Toys “R” Us and GMRI, Inc. The majority of these cases were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Visa U.S.A. has entered into separate settlement agreements with all but one of these plaintiffs resolving their claims, and the District Court has entered orders dismissing with prejudice each of those plaintiffs’ complaints against Visa U.S.A. Only the action brought by GMRI, Inc. against Visa U.S.A. remains pending. On May 14, 2007, the plaintiff in the GMRI, Inc. case sought to amend its complaint and consolidate the case with Multidistrict Litigation 1720. See “—Retrospective Responsibility Plan—Covered Litigation—Interchange Litigation.” Visa U.S.A., Visa International and several of their member financial institutions named as defendants in Multidistrict Litigation 1720 opposed the plaintiff’s motion. On June 1, 2007, the plaintiff withdrew its request. On June 22, 2007, GMRI, Inc. filed suit against Visa International and various member financial institutions of Visa U.S.A. and/or Visa International in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, alleging both the merchant opt-out claims at issue in GMRI’s suit against Visa U.S.A. and a number of the claims set forth in the class complaint filed in Multidistrict Litigation 1720 relating to interchange and Visa rules. In December 2007, GMRI, Inc. and Visa U.S.A. agreed in principle to resolve the claims brought against Visa U.S.A. and Visa International through binding mediation.

In addition, complaints have been filed in 19 different states and the District of Columbia alleging state antitrust, consumer protection and common law claims against Visa U.S.A. and MasterCard (and, in one state, against Visa International) on behalf of putative classes of consumers. The claims in these actions largely mirror the allegations made in the U.S. merchant lawsuit and assert that merchants, faced with excessive merchant discount fees, have passed on some portion those fees to consumers in the form of higher prices on goods and services sold. Visa U.S.A. has been successful in the majority of these cases, as courts have granted Visa U.S.A.’s motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim or plaintiffs have voluntarily dismissed their complaints.

 

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Specifically, courts in Arizona, the District of Columbia, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont and Wisconsin have granted Visa U.S.A.’s motions and dismissed the complaints. The parties are awaiting a decision on Visa U.S.A.’s motion to dismiss in New Mexico. In California, the court granted Visa U.S.A. and Visa International’s demurrer, or motion to dismiss, with respect to claims brought under the Cartwright Act, but denied a similar motion with respect to Unfair Competition Law claims for unlawful, unfair, and/or fraudulent business practices. Visa U.S.A. and Visa International subsequently filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings seeking dismissal of those latter claims in light of the Proposition 64 amendments to the Unfair Competition Law. After oral argument, the court denied this motion on March 6, 2007. The California Court of Appeal rejected a petition seeking immediate review of that decision on June 7, 2007. On July 24, 2007, a case management conference was held at which the court permitted certain further discovery and agreed to address plaintiffs’ proposed motion for collateral estoppel with respect to certain elements of a “tying” claim based on statements in the decision on cross-motions for summary judgment in In re Visa Check/MasterMoney Antitrust Litigation, No. 96-5238 (E.D.N.Y.). At a case management conference on October 31, 2007, the court denied the plaintiffs’ collateral estoppel motion and set a new case management conference for January 18, 2008. In West Virginia, the action was brought against Visa U.S.A. by West Virginia’s attorney general as parens patriae for West Virginia consumers. The court denied Visa U.S.A.’s motion for summary judgment on October 14, 2005. On February 14, 2006, Visa U.S.A. answered the West Virginia complaint and the parties began discovery. On April 10, 2007, the court issued a stay of discovery pending its ruling on an antitrust standing issue. On April 27, 2007, Visa U.S.A. and the State of West Virginia reached an agreement in principle to settle all claims against Visa U.S.A. A provision was recorded in Visa U.S.A.’s consolidated statements of operations in connection with this settlement.

On February 17, 2005, plaintiffs filed a complaint in Ohio state court on behalf of a putative class of consumers asserting claims under Ohio state antitrust and common laws. The claims in that action mirror those in the consumer actions described above but also name as co-defendants a purported class of merchants that were class members in In re Visa Check/MasterMoney Antitrust Litigation. Plaintiffs allege that Visa U.S.A., MasterCard and the class members in the U.S. merchant lawsuit conspired to attempt to monopolize an alleged debit card market by tying debit card acceptance to credit card acceptance. On October 7, 2005, plaintiffs filed a voluntary notice of dismissal of the Ohio complaint. Two similar actions also were filed in Tennessee state and federal court on February 17, 2005, but Visa U.S.A. and MasterCard were not named as defendants in those actions. The Tennessee state court action was refiled in federal court and both actions were transferred to the federal court for the Eastern District of New York on September 29, 2006. On September 25, 2007, the court granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss the claims in those actions except for those asserted under Tennessee state law, and asked the parties to show cause why the cases should not be transferred back to the Tennessee federal court. Both plaintiffs and defendants oppose the transfer.

In 2003, Visa U.S.A. established a litigation provision for the GMRI, Inc. case based on a calculation of what GMRI, Inc. would have received under the settlement of In re Visa Check/MasterMoney Antitrust Litigation if GMRI, Inc. had not opted out of that settlement.

Department of Justice Antitrust Case and Related Litigation

In October 1998, the U.S. Department of Justice, or DOJ, filed suit against Visa U.S.A., Visa International and MasterCard in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York alleging that both Visa U.S.A.’s and MasterCard’s governance structures and policies violated U.S. federal antitrust laws. First, the DOJ claimed that “dual governance”—the situation where an employee of a member financial institution also serves on the board of directors of Visa U.S.A. or MasterCard while a portion of its card portfolio is issued under the brand of the other association—was anti-competitive and acted to limit innovation within the payment card industry. Second, the DOJ challenged Visa U.S.A.’s bylaw 2.10(e), which prohibited Visa members from issuing American Express or Discover cards, and challenged a similar MasterCard rule known as the Competitive Programs Policy, or CPP. The DOJ alleged that Visa U.S.A.’s bylaw 2.10(e) and MasterCard’s CPP acted to restrain competition.

 

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On October 9, 2001, the District Court issued an opinion upholding the legality and pro-competitive nature of dual governance. However, the court also held that Visa U.S.A.’s bylaw 2.10(e) and MasterCard’s CPP constituted unlawful restraints of trade under the federal antitrust laws.

On November 26, 2001, the court issued a final judgment that ordered Visa U.S.A. to repeal bylaw 2.10(e) and enjoined Visa U.S.A. and Visa International from enacting or enforcing any bylaw, rule, policy or practice that prohibits its issuers from issuing general purpose credit or debit cards in the United States on any other general purpose card network. The final judgment also provided that from the effective date of the final judgment (October 15, 2004) until October 15, 2006, Visa U.S.A. and Visa International were required to permit any issuer with which they had entered into an agreement prior to the effective date of the final judgment, pursuant to which agreement the issuer committed to maintain a certain percentage of its general purpose card volume, new card issuance, or total number of cards in force in the United States on the Visa network, to terminate that agreement without penalty, provided that the reason for the termination was to permit the issuer to enter into an agreement with American Express or Discover. The final judgment imposed parallel requirements on MasterCard.

Visa U.S.A. and Visa International appealed the judge’s ruling with respect to bylaw 2.10(e). On September 17, 2003, a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit issued its decision upholding the District Court’s decision. On October 4, 2004, the Supreme Court denied Visa U.S.A. and Visa International’s petition for certiorari, thereby exhausting all avenues for further appeal in this case. The final judgment became effective by court order on October 15, 2004.

Discover filed suit against Visa U.S.A. and Visa International in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York alleging, among other things, that Visa bylaw 2.10(e) and MasterCard’s CPP caused it injury under the U.S. federal antitrust laws. In connection with its claim, Discover requested that the District Court give collateral estoppel effect to the District Court’s findings in the judgment of the 1998 DOJ litigation. See “—Retrospective Responsibility Plan—Covered Litigation—The Discover Litigation.”

American Express filed a suit similar to the Discover litigation against Visa U.S.A., Visa International and certain Visa U.S.A. member financial institutions. We, Visa U.S.A. and Visa International entered into a settlement agreement with American Express that became effective on November 9, 2007. The settlement agreement in the American Express litigation will be funded through our retrospective responsibility plan. See “—Retrospective Responsibility Plan—Covered Litigation—The American Express Litigation.”

On January 10, 2005, MasterCard filed a motion in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in connection with the DOJ litigation, renewing an earlier challenge to a Visa U.S.A. bylaw that provides for a settlement service fee. To ensure payment of Visa U.S.A.’s settlement obligation in the In re Visa Check/MasterMoney Antitrust Litigation case, see “—Retailers’ Litigation,” Visa U.S.A. adopted the settlement service fee bylaw in June 2003. The bylaw provided that the settlement service fee is to be paid by certain Visa U.S.A. members that shift a substantial portion of their offline debit volume to another debit brand unless that shift is to the American Express or Discover brands. MasterCard contended that the settlement service fee violated the final judgment in the DOJ litigation by effectively prohibiting Visa U.S.A. members from issuing MasterCard debit cards.

On August 18, 2005, the court issued an order appointing a special master to hear evidence regarding MasterCard’s challenge. An evidentiary hearing before the special master occurred in December 2005. In July 2006, the special master submitted his Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law to the court, in which he concluded that Visa U.S.A. did not violate the final judgment in the DOJ action before October 15, 2004—the effective date of the Final Judgment—but that Visa U.S.A. did violate the final judgment by continuing to enforce the settlement service fee after October 15, 2004. Visa U.S.A. filed objections to the special master’s report and MasterCard asked the court to adopt the special master’s findings and conclusions. The court heard oral argument with respect to the proper scope of any remedy on April 23, 2007.

 

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On June 7, 2007, the court issued an Opinion and Order holding that the settlement service fee violated the final judgment in the DOJ case at October 15, 2004. On June 15, 2007, the court issued an Amended Opinion and Order, clarifying the remedy in the ruling. First, the court ordered Visa U.S.A. to repeal the settlement service fee bylaw. Second, the court gave any Visa U.S.A. debit issuer subject to the settlement service fee prior to its repeal that entered into an agreement that includes offline debit issuance with Visa U.S.A. on or after June 20, 2003 the right to terminate its agreement, provided that the issuer has entered into an agreement to issue MasterCard branded debit cards and the issuer repays to Visa U.S.A. any unearned benefits or financial incentives under its Visa U.S.A. agreement. On June 13, 2007, the parties entered into an agreement to toll the statute of limitations on certain potential claims MasterCard may have against Visa U.S.A. in connection with the settlement service fee.

Pursuant to the court’s order, the settlement service fee bylaw was rescinded as of the effective date of the order. On June 29, 2007, Visa U.S.A. filed a notice of appeal to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Visa U.S.A. also sought a stay pending appeal as to the contract termination portion of the court’s remedy, which the District Court denied.

On August 17, 2007, Discover moved the District Court to intervene in the settlement service fee matter. Discover also sought to have the District Court modify its June 15, 2007 order to (1) extend the contract termination remedy to issuers entering into agreements with Discover; and (2) void certain provisions of Visa U.S.A.’s debit agreements. The court denied Discover’s motion on October 12, 2007.

On September 11, 2007, Discover filed a motion to intervene in the settlement service fee case in the Second Circuit and asked the Second Circuit to remand the case to the District Court. Visa U.S.A. opposed Discover’s motion. Briefing is complete but no decision has been issued by the Second Circuit.

Global Interchange Proceedings

Interchange represents a transfer of value between the financial institutions participating in an open-loop payments network such as ours. On purchase transactions, interchange passes from acquirers to issuers, reflecting the costs issuers bear and the value they provide to the Visa system by bringing cardholders into the Visa system, guaranteeing payments, servicing accounts and performing other activities that support cardholder spending. In ATM transactions, the situation is typically reversed and interchange fees pass from issuers to acquirers to offset the acquirers’ costs of ATM deployment and the value they provide in establishing ATM networks of attractive geographic scale and functionality. We establish default interchange rates, and our customers may choose to establish different rates for transactions among themselves. Although we administer the collection and remittance of interchange fees through the settlement process, we generally do not receive any portion of the interchange fees. As described more fully below, our interchange rates and those of our customers are subject to regulatory or legal review and/or challenges in a number of jurisdictions. The increasing legal and regulatory scrutiny of interchange fees worldwide may have a material adverse impact on our revenues, our prospects for future growth and our overall business. See Item 1A – “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Business—Legal and Regulatory Risks.”

United States. Approximately 50 class action and individual complaints have been filed on behalf of merchants against Visa U.S.A., Visa International and certain Visa U.S.A. member financial institutions alleging that their setting of interchange rates violates federal and state antitrust laws, among other antitrust allegations. The lawsuits have been transferred to a multidistrict litigation in the Eastern District of New York. See “—Retrospective Responsibility PlanCovered Litigation—Interchange Litigation.”

New Zealand. The Commerce Commission, New Zealand’s competition regulator, filed a civil Statement of Claim in the High Court in Wellington on November 9, 2006, alleging that, among other things, the fixing of default interchange rates by Cards NZ Limited, Visa International, MasterCard and certain Visa International member financial institutions contravenes the New Zealand Commerce Act. On November 27, 2006, a group of

 

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New Zealand retailers filed a nearly identical claim against the same parties before the same tribunal. Both the Commerce Commission and the retailers seek declaratory, injunctive and monetary relief. On March 2, 2007, Visa International filed statements of defense in both cases, denying liability for any cause of action. Both cases were transferred to the commercial list at the High Court in Auckland in April 2007. The court approved a timetable for initial discovery and other procedural matters in June 2007. Such discovery is now proceeding.

European Union. On September 29, 2000, the European Commission issued a “statement of objections” challenging Visa International’s cross-border EU default interchange rates under European Community competition rules. On July 24, 2002, the European Commission announced its decision to exempt Visa International’s default EU intra-regional/cross-border interchange rates from these rules based on certain changes to those rates proposed by Visa Europe. Among other things, in connection with the exemption decision, Visa Europe agreed to set a cap on these default interchange rates using a benchmark cost-based methodology that considers certain issuer costs. Visa Europe also agreed to reduce its default interchange rates for debit and credit transactions to amounts at or below certain specified levels. This exemption expires on December 31, 2007.

On June 13, 2005, the European Commission announced a sector inquiry into the financial services industry, which includes an examination of a number of aspects of payment systems, including interchange fees. On January 31, 2007, the European Commission released its final report on its sector inquiry into the payment card industry. In the report, the European Commission expresses concern about a large number of practices, including interchange fees and payment system rules, of a multiplicity of industry participants, and warns of possible regulatory proceedings or legislative action to address the concerns identified. However, the report does not indicate against which industry participants any such regulatory action might be taken or what legislative changes might be sought.

United Kingdom Office of Fair Trading. On October 19, 2005, the Office of Fair Trading of the United Kingdom, or the OFT, issued a statement of objections against Visa International, Visa Europe, Visa UK and certain member financial institutions challenging the default interchange rates applicable to consumer credit card, charge card and deferred debit card transactions in the United Kingdom. The statement of objections set out the OFT’s view that the default interchange fee may infringe the U.K.’s Competition Act and Article 81 of the E.C. Treaty. In June 2006, the statement of objections was withdrawn. The OFT has begun a new investigation into the Visa entities’ U.K. domestic default interchange rates, among other things, although no formal proceedings have been initiated.

Other Jurisdictions. We are aware that regulatory authorities and/or central banks in certain other jurisdictions, including Brazil, Colombia and Honduras are reviewing Visa International’s and/or its members’ interchange fees and/or related practices and may seek to regulate the establishment of such fees and/or such practices.

Currency Conversion Litigation

Visa U.S.A. and Visa International are defendants in a series of actions, described in more detail below, that challenge how the price of using Visa-branded credit and/or debit/ATM cards to make transactions in a foreign currency or foreign country was set and disclosed. These actions include claims relating to the 1% fee that Visa U.S.A. and Visa International formerly assessed on members on transactions in foreign currencies, and claims relating to how Visa U.S.A. and Visa International set their base exchange rate. These cases are described in more detail below. These matters have been settled, although the settlement approval process is still proceeding.

The MDL Action

Visa U.S.A., Visa International, MasterCard, Citicorp Diners Club, Inc., or Diners Club, and several Visa U.S.A. and Visa International member financial institutions, and in some cases their affiliates and parents, are defendants in a number of federal class actions that allege, among other things, violations of federal antitrust

 

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laws based on an asserted 1% currency conversion “fee” assessed on members by the payment card networks on transactions involving the purchase of goods or services in a foreign currency. Pursuant to orders of the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, the federal complaints have been consolidated or coordinated in MDL 1409 (In re Currency Conversion Fee Antitrust Litigation), which we refer to as the MDL Action, before Judge William H. Pauley III in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

The operative pre-settlement complaint in the MDL Action alleges two theories of antitrust conspiracy under Section 1 of the Sherman Act: (i) an alleged inter-association conspiracy among MasterCard, together with its members, Visa U.S.A. and Visa International, together with their members, and Diners Club to fix currency conversion fees allegedly charged to cardholders of no less than 1% of the transaction amount and frequently more; and (ii) two alleged intra-association conspiracies, whereby each of Visa U.S.A./Visa International and MasterCard is claimed separately to have conspired with its members to fix currency conversion fees allegedly charged to cardholders of no less than 1% of the transaction amount and to facilitate and encourage institution—and collection—of second tier currency conversion surcharges. Visa U.S.A. and Visa International deny the allegations in the complaint. The complaint also asserts claims against some of the non-Visa defendants for violation of the federal Truth in Lending Act and/or violation of the South Dakota Consumer Protection Statutes.

Fact and expert discovery in this matter have closed. On November 12, 2003 plaintiffs filed a motion for class certification, which was granted on October 15, 2004. On March 9, 2005, Judge Pauley issued a decision on defendants’ motion to reconsider the class certification decision. The Judge ruled that the arbitration provisions in the cardholder agreements of several member bank defendants are valid as to all of the defendants and stayed those cardholders’ claims pending arbitration. Plaintiffs moved for further reconsideration, which was denied by Judge Pauley on June 16, 2005. In addition, Judge Pauley ruled that some cardholders of Citibank, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and, in a ruling dated December 7, 2005, Diners Club, would not be required to arbitrate their claims. The 2005 rulings on class certification and arbitration were appealed, but the appeals are not currently under consideration.

On July 20, 2006, the parties entered into the settlement agreement discussed below under “—The Currency Conversion Settlement Agreements.”

The Schwartz Action

Visa U.S.A., Visa International and MasterCard are defendants in Schwartz v. Visa International Corp. (sic), et al., Superior Court of the State of California, Alameda County, Case No. 822404-4, which we refer to as the Schwartz Action, in which the plaintiff purports to be acting on behalf of the general public. The lawsuit alleges that Visa U.S.A., Visa International and MasterCard wrongfully imposed an asserted 1% currency conversion “fee” on every credit card transaction by U.S. MasterCard and Visa cardholders involving the purchase of goods or services in a foreign currency, and that such alleged “fee” is supposedly unfair, unlawful, unconscionable and deceptive. Plaintiff contends that defendants’ alleged acts violate California’s Unfair Competition Law, California Business and Professions Code §§ 17200 et seq. The Schwartz Action claims that the alleged “fee” grossly exceeds any costs the defendants might incur in connection with currency conversions relating to credit card purchase transactions made in foreign countries and is not properly disclosed to cardholders. Visa U.S.A. and Visa International deny these allegations.

Trial of the Schwartz Action commenced on May 20, 2002 and concluded on November 27, 2002. On April 8, 2003, the trial court judge issued a final decision, finding that Visa U.S.A.’s and Visa International’s currency conversion process does not violate the Truth in Lending Act or regulations, nor is it unconscionably priced under California law. However, the judge found that the practice is deceptive under California law, and ordered that Visa U.S.A. and Visa International mandate that members disclose the currency conversion process to cardholders in cardholder agreements, applications, solicitations and monthly billing statements. The judge also ordered restitution to U.S. cardholders. The judge issued a decision on restitution on September 19, 2003, which requires a traditional notice and claims process in which consumers have approximately six months to

 

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submit their claims. The court issued its final judgment on October 31, 2003. Visa U.S.A. and Visa International appealed the judgment. The final judgment and restitution process were stayed pending this appeal. On August 6, 2004, the court awarded plaintiffs attorneys’ fees in the amount of $28.2 million, half to be paid by MasterCard and half by Visa U.S.A. and Visa International. Visa U.S.A. and Visa International subsequently filed a notice of appeal on the attorneys’ fee award. In February 2005, Visa U.S.A. and Visa International filed additional appellate briefing regarding the applicability of Proposition 64, which amended sections of California’s Unfair Competition Law dealing with standing to bring claims on behalf of others, to this action. On September 28, 2005, the appellate court reversed the trial court, finding that the plaintiff lacked standing to pursue the action in light of Proposition 64. Plaintiff filed a petition for review with the California Supreme Court on November 7, 2005, which was granted on December 14, 2005.

On July 20, 2006, the parties entered into the settlement agreement discussed below under “The Currency Conversion Settlement Agreements.” On March 21, 2007, the California Supreme Court dismissed plaintiffs’ petition for review of the Court of Appeal decision reversing the trial court’s judgment in favor of plaintiff. On March 22, 2007, the California Court of Appeal remanded the action to the trial court. On April 30, 2007, the California Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal and cross-appeals of the trial court’s award of attorneys’ fees in this matter, and remanded these matters to the trial court. On May 8, 2007, the trial court dismissed the Schwartz action in its entirety without prejudice.

The Shrieve Action

Visa U.S.A., Visa International and MasterCard are defendants in a putative nationwide class action (statewide as to MasterCard) in California state court, Shrieve v. Visa U.S.A. Inc., et al., Superior Court for the State of California, Alameda County, Case No. RG04155097, which we refer to as the Shrieve Action. Plaintiffs allege that defendants impose a “hidden transaction fee” of 1% on debit card transactions and ATM withdrawals in foreign countries, and that defendants therefore violated California’s Unfair Competition Law. Visa U.S.A. and Visa International deny the allegations in plaintiffs’ complaint.

Following the passage of Proposition 64, which limited standing to bring Unfair Competition Law claims, Visa U.S.A. and Visa International moved for judgment on the pleadings. The court denied this motion. In January 2006, Visa U.S.A. and Visa International filed a writ petition with the court of Appeal seeking review of this denial. In February 2006, plaintiffs moved in the trial court for certification of their action as a class. Defendants have opposed this motion. While this writ petition and motion were pending, plaintiffs entered into the settlement agreement discussed below under “—The Currency Conversion Settlement Agreements,” and further consideration of this action has been deferred until after the March 31, 2008 Final Fairness Hearing.

The Mattingly Action

Visa U.S.A., Visa International and MasterCard are defendants in a putative nationwide class action (statewide as to MasterCard), Mattingly v. Visa U.S.A. Inc., et al., Superior Court for the State of California, Alameda County, Case No. RG05198142, the Mattingly Action. Plaintiffs allege that defendants impose a “hidden transaction fee” of 1% on credit card transactions in foreign countries, and that defendants therefore violated California’s Unfair Competition Law. Visa U.S.A. and Visa International deny the allegations in plaintiffs’ complaint.

In January 2006, plaintiffs moved to amend their complaint to change the start of their putative class period to February 14, 2001 instead of October 23, 2002. While this motion was pending, the parties entered into the MDL Settlement Agreement, and further consideration of this action has been deferred until after the March 31, 2008 Final Fairness Hearing discussed below under “—The Currency Conversion Settlement Agreements.”

 

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The Baker Action

Visa U.S.A. and Visa International are defendants in Baker v. Visa International Corp. (sic), et al., 06-CV-15447 (S.D.N.Y.), coordinated or consolidated with MDL 1409; formerly 06-CV-376 (S.D. Cal.), originally filed in the Superior Court for the State of California, San Diego County, Case No. GIC 839908, the Baker Action. Plaintiffs in the Baker Action allege that Visa U.S.A. and Visa International impose a hidden mark-up included in the base exchange rate used to convert credit card transactions in foreign currencies. Plaintiffs further allege that Visa U.S.A. and Visa International’s actions violate California’s Unfair Competition Law and the Consumer Legal Remedies Act and breached a fiduciary duty owed by Visa U.S.A. and Visa International to the members of plaintiffs’ putative world-wide class. Visa U.S.A. and Visa International deny the allegations in plaintiffs’ complaint.

Following the settlement of the Baker Action, discussed below under “—The Currency Conversion Settlement Agreements,” the matter was transferred from the Southern District of California to the Southern District of New York, where it has been coordinated or consolidated with the MDL Action.

The Currency Conversion Settlement Agreements

On July 20, 2006, Visa U.S.A. and Visa International entered into a settlement in the MDL Action. Under the terms of that settlement, the defendants, which include Visa U.S.A., Visa International, MasterCard, Citicorp Diners Club Inc. and several banks, will pay $336.0 million to settle monetary claims by eligible cardholders, the costs of administering the settlement and notice to cardholders, and any court-approved fees and expenses to attorneys for the class and awards to the class representatives. Visa U.S.A. and Visa International’s portion of the settlement payment, which has already been paid into a settlement fund, is approximately $100.1 million. In addition, Visa U.S.A. and Visa International agreed that for five years they would separately identify or itemize any fees added to transactions because they occurred in a foreign country or involved a foreign currency. Visa U.S.A. and Visa International further agreed that if, within five years, they materially modify their current practices with regard to calculating the base exchange rate they use for foreign currency transactions and the new practices include the systematic use of rates outside of a wholesale or government-mandated/managed rate, Visa U.S.A. and Visa International will require their issuing members in the United States to change their disclosures regarding base exchange rates to conform with the changed practices. As part of this settlement, plaintiffs in the Shrieve Action and the Mattingly Action agreed that they would ask the court to dismiss their actions with prejudice as to Visa U.S.A. and Visa International once the MDL settlement receives court approval.

As part of this settlement, Visa U.S.A., Visa International and MasterCard also agreed to pay $32.0 million in attorneys’ fees to resolve the Schwartz Action. Visa U.S.A. and Visa International’s portion of this payment is approximately $18.6 million, which was paid into a settlement fund in September 2007.

Finally, Visa U.S.A. and Visa International entered into a settlement in the Baker Action. Under the terms of this settlement agreement, the parties agreed to undertake their best efforts to secure certain changes to the notice of settlement to be provided to class members in the MDL Action, and plaintiffs agreed not to object or otherwise oppose approval of the MDL Settlement Agreement. Upon final approval of the MDL Settlement Agreement, plaintiffs shall seek to dismiss the Baker Action. If the Baker Action is dismissed, Visa U.S.A. and Visa International shall pay $1 million plus interest from September 14, 2006 as attorneys’ fees and costs. If, however, within 60 days of final approval of the MDL Settlement Agreement, the Baker Action has still not been dismissed, Visa U.S.A. and Visa International shall pay $500,000 plus interest from September 14, 2006 as attorneys’ fees and costs.

On November 8, 2006, the court in the MDL Action issued an order preliminarily approving the MDL Settlement Agreement. Among other things, this order created, for settlement purposes only, a Settlement Damages Class consisting of holders of U.S. issued Visa- or MasterCard-branded credit and debit cards or Diners Club-branded credit cards who used their cards to make a foreign payment transaction between February 10, 1996 and November 8, 2006, the Settlement Damages Class. The court also approved, for settlement purposes

 

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only, the “Settlement Injunctive Class,” which contains all persons who held a U.S. issued Visa- or MasterCard-branded credit or debit card or Diners Club-branded credit card at November 8, 2006. Charge cards are included in the definition of “credit cards.” On November 14, 2006, Bernd Bildstein, plaintiff in Bildstein v. MasterCard International Incorporated, No. 03 Civ. 9826 (S.D.N.Y.), a case coordinated with the MDL Action, filed a Notice of Appeal from the grant of preliminary approval.

Notice of the settlement began in 2007. In view of concerns raised by putative class members, the court appointed a special master to work with the parties to review and amend, as appropriate, the plan for class notice and distribution of the settlement fund and to determine whether the proposed settlement agreement is fair, adequate and reasonable with respect to all class members. The special master submitted his report on or about July 10, 2007, and recommended that the plan for notice and distribution of the fund be modified. On August 13, 2007, the court issued an order approving the claims procedure recommended by the special master. On September 24, 2007, the court issued an order approving the revised notices, claim forms and settlement schedule submitted by the parties. Revised notices and claim forms will be mailed to identified class members in late November, and a revised publication notice will run in late November and early December. Class members will have until February 14, 2008 to object to or opt-out of the settlement. The Court moved the hearing on entry of Final Judgment and Order of Dismissal to March 31, 2008.

Based upon the court’s preliminary approval of the settlement of the MDL Action and other developments, approximately $100.1 million has been paid into a settlement fund to resolve these claims against Visa U.S.A. and Visa International, and legal provision of approximately $20.0 million has been made for the remainder of the settlement in connection with these currency conversion cases.

Should the MDL Settlement Agreement not receive final court approval, or otherwise terminate, we anticipate that the parties in all of the Currency Conversion Litigation actions would return to the status quo ante in their respective actions.

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter/Discover

In August 2004, the European Commission in Brussels issued a Statement of Objections against Visa International and Visa Europe alleging a breach of European competition law. The allegation arises from the Visa International and Visa Europe Rule (bylaw 2.12(b)) that makes certain designated competitors, including Morgan Stanley Dean Witter/Discover, ineligible for membership. On October 3, 2007, the European Commission fined Visa International and Visa Europe €10.2 million ($14.5 million) for infringing European Union rules on restrictive business practices (Article 81 of the EC Treaty and Article 53 of the EEA Agreement). Pursuant to existing agreements, Visa Europe has acknowledged full responsibility for the defense of this action, including any fines that may be payable.

Parke

On June 27, 2005, a purported consumer and merchant class action was filed in California state court against Visa U.S.A., Visa International, MasterCard, Merrick Bank and CardSystems Solutions, Inc. The complaint stems from a data-security breach at CardSystems, a payment card processor that handled Visa and other payment brand transactions. The complaint alleges that Visa U.S.A. and Visa International’s failure to inform cardholders of the CardSystems breach in a timely manner constitutes an unlawful and/or unfair business practice under California’s Unfair Competition Law and violates California’s statutory privacy-notice law. In August 2005, the court denied the plaintiffs’ application for a temporary restraining order, except with respect to the defendants’ retention of affected account-identifying information, and in September 2005 denied plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction. Also in September 2005, the court dismissed the claims brought by the merchant class. On November 18, 2005, the defendants answered the remaining claims. Limited discovery occurred.

 

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CardSystems filed for bankruptcy in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona in May 2006, staying the litigation as to it. The plaintiffs removed the case to U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on August 10, 2006, and then sought to transfer the case to federal court in Arizona. Visa U.S.A., Visa International and MasterCard moved for remand to state court. On October 11, 2006, the court granted the defendants’ motion for remand and denied the plaintiffs’ motion to transfer the case. Proceedings involving CardSystems continue in the bankruptcy court in Arizona, and the California state court plaintiffs appear to be pursuing claims against CardSystems in that forum. The state court in California has not set discovery deadlines or a trial date. The parties are currently engaged in settlement negotiations. The potential settlement amount is not considered material to the Company’s financial statements.

The ATM Exchange

On November 14, 2005, The ATM Exchange filed a complaint for money damages against Visa U.S.A. and Visa International in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. The plaintiff asserts claims of promissory estoppel, negligent misrepresentation and fraudulent misrepresentation, alleging that Visa’s deferment of a July 1, 2004 member deadline that required newly deployed ATMs to be certified by a Visa- recognized laboratory as meeting certain PIN-entry device testing requirements harmed the plaintiff by reducing demand for its ATM upgrade solution. The parties engaged in written discovery, party and third-party depositions and expert discovery. On June 29, 2007, Visa U.S.A. and Visa International filed motions for summary judgment on liability and damages. On July 30, 2007, the court vacated the tentative September 2007 trial date. The court indicated that it would set another trial date, if necessary, in its forthcoming ruling on the motions for summary judgment.

District of Columbia Civil Investigative Demand

On January 5, 2007, the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia issued a Civil Investigative Demand, or “CID,” to Visa U.S.A. seeking information regarding a potential violation of Section 28-4502 of the District of Columbia Antitrust Act. The D.C. Attorney General’s office is coordinating parallel investigations by the Attorneys General of New York and Ohio. The CID seeks documents and narrative responses to several interrogatories and document requests, which focus on PIN debit. Visa U.S.A. continues to cooperate with the Attorneys General in connection with the CID.

U.S. Department of Justice Civil Investigative Demands

On September 26, 2007, the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice (the “Division”) issued a Civil Investigative Demand, or “CID,” to Visa U.S.A. seeking information regarding a potential violation of Section 1 or 2 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1, 2. The CID seeks documents, data and narrative responses to several interrogatories and document requests, which focus on PIN debit and Visa’s No Signature Required program.

On September 27, 2007, the Division issued a second CID to Visa U.S.A., also seeking information regarding a potential violation of Section 1 or 2 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 1, 2. The CID seeks documents in response to several requests, which focus on Visa U.S.A.’s agreements with banks that issue Visa debit cards. Visa U.S.A. is cooperating with the Division in connection with both CIDs.

AAA Antiques Mall

On November 13, 2007, a putative class action lawsuit was filed in Maryland state court against Visa U.S.A., MasterCard Worldwide, and Discover Financial Services. Plaintiff AAA Antiques Mall, Inc. alleges that “credit card fees” assessed by defendants as to the state tax portion of a sales transaction constitute unjust enrichment and/or intentional misrepresentation. At this time, it is too early to make any reasonable evaluation of the claims alleged.

 

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Intellectual Property Litigation

Starpay

On May 8, 2003, Starpay.com, LLC and VIMachine, Inc., which we refer to collectively as Starpay, sued Visa U.S.A. and Visa International in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. Starpay alleged that Visa U.S.A. and Visa International used information provided to it by Starpay in 2000 to create Verified by Visa and to file a Visa patent application on the technology underlying the “Verified by Visa” product, and that Verified by Visa infringed U.S. Patent 5,903,878, entitled Method and Apparatus for Electronic Commerce, or the ‘878 patent.

The original Complaint alleged four causes of action: (1) infringement of the ‘878 patent; (2) breach of implied and written nondisclosure agreements covering Starpay’s discussions with Visa U.S.A. and Visa International; (3) “fraud on the Patent Office” through the filing of a patent application for an invention that Visa U.S.A. and Visa International allegedly took from Starpay; and (4) a claim under 35 U.S.C. § 291 that the Visa patent application interfered with the ‘878 patent. On July 25, 2003, Starpay filed an Amended Complaint, dropping the third and fourth causes of action, but raising two new ones in their place: unfair competition under California’s Business and Professions Code §§ 17200 et seq. and misappropriation of trade secrets under California’s Uniform Trade Secrets Act. On August 25, 2003, Visa U.S.A. and Visa International moved to dismiss three of Starpay’s causes of action. On February 10, 2004, the District Court Judge dismissed the second claim under the statute of limitations and the third claim as preempted by federal patent law.

On February 23, 2004, Visa U.S.A. and Visa International answered Starpay’s remaining causes of action—infringement of the ‘878 patent and misappropriation of trade secrets—and filed a counterclaim for a declaratory judgment that Visa U.S.A. and Visa International are not infringing the ‘878 patent and/or that the ‘878 patent is invalid. On March 16, 2004, Starpay filed its answer to Visa U.S.A. and Visa International’s counterclaim.

The Magistrate Judge held hearings on the issue of the construction of various claims of the ‘878 patent in October and November 2004 and in November 2005. On January 19, 2006, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation making findings and recommendations. In February 2006, the parties filed their respective objections to the Report with the District Court Judge. On September 10, 2007, the District Court issued an order resolving the parties’ various objections and finalized the claim construction. The court has set a schedule that calls for the completion of discovery by April 18, 2008 and the filing of any dispositive motions by May 16, 2008. No trial date has been set.

Cryptography Research

Visa International is a defendant in litigation filed in the North District of California by Cryptography Research, Inc., or CRI. CRI has asserted causes of action against Visa International for breach of contract, misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duties, infringement of eight U.S. patents and violation of U.S. and California competition laws. These causes of action are based upon CRI’s allegations that Visa International has improperly used, or induced others to use, technology allegedly developed by CRI for securing “Smart Cards” against attacks designed to discover secret information, such as the secret key for performing cryptographic operations. In particular, CRI alleges that Visa International is and, at least since 1998, has been improperly using countermeasures to Differential Power Analysis, or DPA, attacks that were developed by CRI and which CRI claims to own exclusively.

CRI’s original complaint was filed on September 29, 2004, asserting claims for breach of contract, misrepresentation and for infringement of U.S. patent nos. 6,298,442, 6,304,658, 6,654,884, 6,327,661, 6,510,518, 6,381,699, 6,278,783 and 6,539,092, the Patents in Suit. In response to Visa International’s motion to dismiss, the court ordered CRI to file an amended complaint more specifically identifying its claims and the bases therefor.

On March 7, 2005, CRI filed an amended complaint identifying claims for breach of contract, misrepresentation, fraud in the inducement and infringement of the eight Patents in Suit. The breach of contract,

 

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misrepresentation and fraud in the inducement claims stem from a September 2, 1998 Intellectual Property License Agreement between CRI and Visa International. The license agreement granted Visa International worldwide rights to CRI’s patent applications that ultimately matured into the Patents in Suit. The primary issue in both the breach of contract and misrepresentation claims is whether Visa International was able to track, and in fact properly tracked, all issued Visa-branded cards subject to the license and paid the resulting royalties.

On March 22, 2007, CRI filed its second amended complaint, adding claims for breach of fiduciary duty and violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act and California’s Unfair Competition Law. In particular, CRI alleges that Visa International and MasterCard entered into three conspiracies in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act: (1) to refrain from competing with respect to the security from DPA attacks of their Smart Cards, which conspiracy allegedly began in 1998; (2) to boycott (jointly refuse to license) CRI’s Countermeasure patents; and (3) to boycott by removing CRI’s DPA-Resistant Session Key Derivation System technology from the Visa, MasterCard and EMVCo. specifications, the latter two of which conspiracies allegedly began in 2005 following this lawsuit. In addition, CRI alleges that Visa International has conspired with its Smart Card chip and card vendors to boycott CRI’s Countermeasure Patents. CRI further alleges that Visa International is liable under California’s Cartwright Act, Bus. & Prof. Code Sections 16720-70, and the California Business & Professions Code §§ 17200 et seq. Visa International filed its answer to the Second Amended Complaint and related counterclaims on April 23, 2007.

Discovery in this matter is currently ongoing and is scheduled to be completed on May 12, 2008. A patent claims construction hearing was held on November 8 and 9, 2005. On October 19, 2006, the parties received the first of the eight pending claim construction orders, which construed the disputed terms in U.S. Patent No. 6,327,661. The court issued its Second Claims Construction order on May 4, 2007, which construed disputed terms of U.S. Patent No. 6,278,783 and modified one term construed by the First Claims Construction order. CRI filed a motion for reconsideration of the Second order, and a hearing on that motion was held September 10, 2007. No ruling on CRI’s motion has been issued. A pretrial conference is scheduled for September 15, 2008, but no trial date has been set. In the meantime, the court filed its Third Claim Construction order on May 22, 2007, which construed disputed terms in U.S. Patent No. 6,298,442, and its Fourth Claim Construction order on September 28, 2007, construing the terms of U.S. Patent No. 6,539,092. Although we expect the court to rule on the remaining claims shortly, there is no deadline for the court to issue its ruling. The court’s orders will be critical to determining which of Visa products will continue to be relevant in this litigation.

Vale Canjeable

On November 21, 2006, Vale Canjeable Ticketven, C.A., filed an action in the Fifth Municipal Court of Caracas, Venezuela against Todoticket 2004, C.A., and Visa International seeking a preliminary injunction preventing use of the Visa Vale mark in Venezuela. In December 2006, Vale Canjeable Ticketven, C.A. also filed a claim with the Fourth Commercial Court of First Instance of Caracas, alleging that the defendants infringed the plaintiff’s rights as the holder of the trademark registries and requesting that the court: (i) declare that the plaintiff is the only person authorized to use the expression “Vale” in the Venezuelan market of food vouchers; (ii) prohibit the defendants from using the expression “Vale” in the Venezuelan market of food vouchers; (iii) order the defendants to pay VEB 50 billion ($23.3 million) in non-pecuniary (moral) damages; and (iv) order the defendants to indemnify the pecuniary damages caused to the plaintiff. The plaintiff also requested that the court order the defendants to pay the legal costs and expenses related to the judicial process.

On November 29, 2006, the Fifth Municipal Court of Caracas granted a preliminary injunction prohibiting use of the “Vale” in the Venezuelan market of food vouchers. On December 6, 2006, Visa International filed a constitutional objection to the court’s ruling. The objection was dismissed on December 19, 2006 by the Fourth Commercial Court of First Instance of Caracas. Visa International appealed this decision, which was denied in March 2007. On March 21, 2007, defendants filed a motion with the Fourth Commercial Court of First Instance of Caracas, seeking revocation of the preliminary injunction granted by the Fifth Municipal Court of Caracas. This motion was denied on July 11, 2007. Visa International immediately filed an appeal of this decision with the Superior Court.

 

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On July 26, 2007, Visa International requested the removal of the First Instance Judge from the case and such request was granted on September 25, 2007. A new judge was assigned to finalize the discovery phase of the case. On November 1, 2007, Visa International filed its written conclusions explaining how the evidence collected during discovery supports its arguments. On November 21, 2007, Visa International filed an appeal of the decision denying suspension of the preliminary injunction with the newly assigned judge. The plaintiff filed a response to this appeal on November 26, 2007, and Visa replied to that response on December 3, 2007.

PrivaSys

On June 20, 2007, PrivaSys, Inc. filed a complaint in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California against Visa International and Visa U.S.A for patent infringement. PrivaSys alleges that Visa’s contactless payment technology infringes U.S. Patent No. 7,195,154, which we refer to as the ‘154 patent, entitled “Method for Generating Customer Secure Card Numbers.” Visa U.S.A. and Visa International filed their respective answers and counterclaims on August 21, 2007 alleging that Visa did not infringe the ‘154 patent, that the ‘154 patent is invalid and that the patent is unenforceable due to inequitable conduct and prosecution laches. On September 28, 2007, PrivaSys filed a motion requesting leave to file an amended complaint adding J.P. Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo as defendants. Visa U.S.A. and Visa International opposed this motion on October 26, 2007 and asked the court, in the alternative, to stay all proceedings against Visa issuing financial institutions pending resolution of the issue of whether the Visa technology infringes the PrivaSys patent. On November 14, 2007, the court granted PrivaSys’s motion for leave to file the amended complaint. On December 5, 2007, Visa U.S.A. filed an answer to the amended complaint. The parties have reached an agreement in principle to settle the dispute.

Every Penny Counts

On July 17, 2007, Every Penny Counts, Inc. filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida against Visa U.S.A., MasterCard and American Express for infringement of four of its patents. Plaintiff amended its complaint on September 27, 2007 to add Green Dot Corp. as a party and to add a fifth patent to its suit. The Complaint now alleges that the defendants’ “open” prepaid card products infringe U.S. Patent No. 5,621,640 (“Automatic Philanthropic Contribution System”), U.S. Patent No. 6,112,191 (“Method and System to Create and Distribute Excess Funds from Consumer Spending Transactions”), U.S. Patent No. 6,088,682 (“Funds Distribution System Connected with Point of Sale Transactions”), U.S. Patent No. 6,876,971 (“Funds Distribution System Connected with Point of Sale Transaction”) and U.S. Patent No. 7,171,370 (“Funds Distribution System Connected with Point of Sale Transactions”). Visa U.S.A. filed a Motion to Dismiss, or in the Alternative for a More Definite Statement, based on the plaintiff’s failure to identify which products or services offered by Visa U.S.A. purportedly infringe which of the plaintiff’s patents on October 12, 2007. The court denied the motion on October 29, 2007. On November 13, 2007, Visa U.S.A. filed its answer and counterclaims alleging that Visa does not infringe the plaintiff’s patents, that the plaintiff’s patents are invalid, and that the plaintiff’s patents are unenforceable due to prosecution laches and inequitable conduct. The court issued an order on December 13, 2007 setting procedural deadlines for the claim construction and scheduling a Markman hearing in May 2008.

 

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ITEM 4. Submission of Matters to a Vote of Security Holders

On September 14, 2007, we mailed a proxy statement-prospectus to eligible members of Visa U.S.A., Visa International and Visa Canada soliciting approval and adoption of our Global Restructuring Agreement and the Visa Inc. 2007 Equity Incentive Compensation Plan. In lieu of a special meeting of Visa U.S.A. or Visa International, action on the reorganization and equity incentive plan proposal was taken by written consent of the respective members of each entity. Members of Visa U.S.A. and Visa International on the record dates set for Visa U.S.A. and Visa International, August 23, 2007 and June 30, 2007, respectively, were entitled to consent to the reorganization proposal and execute proxies to approve the equity incentive plan proposal. Visa Canada held a meeting of its members on September 24, 2007. The requisite approval of the members of Visa U.S.A., Visa International and Visa Canada was received to effectuate our reorganization and adopt the Visa Inc. 2007 Equity Incentive Compensation Plan. The voting results for the proposals related to the approval and adoption of the Global Restructuring Agreement and approval of the Visa Inc. 2007 Equity Incentive Compensation Plan are set forth below. Voting for the Global Restructuring Agreement is presented on an entity-by-entity basis. Voting for the Visa Inc. 2007 Equity Incentive Compensation Plan is presented on a combined basis for the members of Visa U.S.A., Visa International and Visa Canada because approval of this proposal required the affirmative vote of members that, assuming the completion of the reorganization, would represent a majority of the outstanding shares of common stock of Visa Inc. immediately after the closing of the reorganization:

Proposal No. 1: Approval of the Global Restructuring Agreement

 

Visa U.S.A.

        
Consent    Dissent    Abstain    No Response

96,571,127

   70,856    79,775    3,278,241

Visa International

        
Consent    Dissent    Abstain    No Response

4,377,716,658

   0    1,607,216    167,577,020

Visa Canada

        
For    Against    Abstain     

146,736,765

   0    0   

Proposal No. 2: Approval of the Visa Inc. 2007 Equity Incentive Compensation Plan

 

Consent    Dissent    Abstain    No Response

663,200,214

   4,223,258    20,457,282    59,295,294

 

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PART II

 

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

Market Information

There is no established public trading market for our common stock.

Holders of Our Common Stock

A list of the holdings of each class of our common stock is set forth under Item 12—“Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management.”

Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities

Upon our incorporation, on May 24, 2007, we issued 100 shares of our common stock to Visa International Service Association for an aggregate subscription price of $1.00, representing a price per share of $0.01. In connection with this issuance, we relied upon the exemption from registration provided by Section 4(2) of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended. Other than the foregoing issuance, we have not sold any unregistered securities during the previous three years.

 

ITEM 6. Selected Financial Data

The following tables present selected consolidated statements of operations data for the years ended September 30, 2007, 2006 and 2005 and consolidated balance sheet data at September 30, 2007 and 2006 for Visa U.S.A. that were derived from the audited consolidated financial statements of Visa U.S.A. included elsewhere in this report. The selected Visa U.S.A. consolidated statements of operations data for the years ended September 30, 2004 and 2003 and the consolidated balance sheet data at September 30, 2005, 2004 and 2003 for Visa U.S.A. were derived from audited consolidated financial statements of Visa U.S.A. not included in this report.

In October 2007, we consummated a reorganization in which Visa U.S.A., Visa International, Visa Canada and Visa U.S.A.’s majority-owned subsidiary, Inovant, which operated the VisaNet transaction processing system and other related processing systems, became direct or indirect subsidiaries of Visa Inc. The reorganization was accounted for as a purchase under the guidelines of SFAS No. 141, “Business Combinations,” occurring on October 1, 2007, with Visa U.S.A. deemed to be the accounting acquirer of the ownership interest in Visa Canada, Visa International and Inovant not previously held (including Visa Europe’s interest in Visa International and Inovant). The operating results of the acquired interests in Visa International and Visa Canada will be included in the consolidated statements of operations of Visa Inc. from October 1, 2007.

 

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The data set forth below should be read in conjunction with Item 7—“Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations of Visa U.S.A.” and the Visa U.S.A. fiscal 2007 consolidated financial statements and the notes thereto included elsewhere in this report.

 

    Visa U.S.A.  
    Fiscal Year Ended September 30,  
    2007     2006     2005     2004     2003(1)  
    (in millions)  

Statement of Operations Data:

         

Total operating revenues

  $ 3,590     $ 2,948     $ 2,665     $ 2,429     $ 1,980  

Operating expenses

    5,039       2,218       2,212       1,999       3,398  

Litigation provision

    2,653       23       132       37       1,500  

Operating income (loss)

    (1,449 )     730       453       430       (1,418 )

Operating income (loss) as a percent of operating revenues

    (40.4 )%     24.8 %     17.0 %     17.7 %     (71.6 )%

Other income (expense)

  $ 62     $ (8 )   $ 3     $ (75 )   $ (38 )

Income (loss) before cumulative effect of change in accounting principle(2)

    (1,076 )     455       265       216       (885 )

Net income (loss)(2)

    (1,076 )     455       360       210       (885 )

Balance Sheet Data (at end of period):

         

Cash and cash equivalents

  $ 275     $ 270     $ 135     $ 174     $ 86  

Short-term investment securities, available-for-sale

    747       660       681       156       253  

Total current assets

    2,507       1,594       1,478       920       867  

Long-term investment securities, available-for-sale

    737       515       319       378       85  

Total assets

    4,390       2,964       2,745       2,294       1,905  

Current portion of long-term debt(3)

    41       32       32       32       174  

Current portion of accrued litigation(4)

    2,236       216       197       244       201  

Total current liabilities

    3,282       1,393       1,325       1,070       988  

Long-term debt(3)

    —         41       74       106       —    

Long-term accrued litigation(4)

    1,446       784       1,010       1,019       1,127  

Total equity (deficit)

    (501 )     583       126       (230 )     (440 )
    Visa U.S.A.  
    Twelve Months Ended June 30,  
    2007     2006     2005     2004     2003  
    (in millions, except percentages)  

Statistical Data (unaudited):(5)

         

Payments volume(6)

  $ 1,449,226     $ 1,322,837     $ 1,130,896     $ 956,439     $ 818,558  

Year-over-year change

    9.6 %     17.0 %     18.2 %     16.8 %     10.6 %

Total transactions(7)

    25,942       23,410       20,009       16,653       14,099  

Year-over-year change

    10.8 %     17.0 %     20.2 %     18.1 %     12.4 %

(1) On January 1, 2003, Visa U.S.A. purchased Inovant, Inc. and subsequently formed Inovant, which affect the comparability of the financial data of Visa U.S.A. The operating results of Inovant were included in the consolidated statements of operations of Visa U.S.A. from January 1, 2003.
(2) Visa U.S.A. recorded a cumulative effect of accounting change in fiscal 2005 related to its membership interest in Visa International and in fiscal 2004 related to Visa U.S.A. changing its method of amortizing volume and support agreements. These accounting changes resulted in additional net income of $96 million in fiscal 2005 and an additional net expense of $6 million in fiscal 2004. See Note 3 — “Cumulative Effect of Change in Adoption of Accounting Principle,” to the Visa U.S.A. fiscal 2007 consolidated financial statements.
(3) The long term portion of Visa U.S.A. debt was classified as being due within one year at September 30, 2007 and 2003, because Visa U.S.A. was in default of certain financial performance covenants as a result of the settlement of the American Express and Retailers’ litigation in fiscal 2007 and 2003, respectively, as described in Note 20 – Legal Matters to the Visa U.S.A. fiscal 2007 consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this report.
(4) In fiscal 2007, Visa U.S.A. settled the American Express litigation matter for approximately $2.1 billion and in fiscal 2003 Visa U.S.A. settled the Retailers’ litigation for approximately $2.0 billion, as described in Note 20 – Legal Matters to the Visa U.S.A. fiscal 2007 consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this report. The present value of these obligations of $1.9 billion and $1.4 billion, respectively, was recorded in fiscal 2007 and 2003, respectively.
(5) The statistical data in this table are based on quarterly operating certificates from Visa’s customers and are unaudited. Year-over-year change for fiscal 2003 represents change compared to fiscal 2002.
(6) Payments volume is the total monetary value of transactions for goods and services that are purchased with cards bearing our brands.
(7) Total transactions represents transactions involving our cards as reported by our customers and includes transactions that are not processed on our VisaNet processing system.

 

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ITEM 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

Overview

This management’s discussion and analysis covers fiscal 2007, 2006 and 2005, and provides a review of the results of operations, financial condition and the liquidity and capital resources of Visa U.S.A. Inc. and its subsidiaries 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 Visa U.S.A. fiscal 2007 consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this report.

Prior to the closing of the global reorganization in October 2007, Visa U.S.A. along with Visa International (comprising the operating regions of AP, LAC and CEMEA), Visa Canada and Visa Europe operated as one of five entities related by ownership and membership to Visa. After the reorganization, Visa U.S.A., Visa International and Visa Canada became subsidiaries of Visa Inc., a Delaware stock corporation.

Visa U.S.A. is a leader in the electronic payments industry in the United States and is responsible for administering Visa payment programs in the United States. Visa U.S.A. provides products and services over a secure payments network to support payment programs offered by its member financial institutions to their consumer, commercial and merchant customers. Visa U.S.A.’s principal product platforms include consumer credit, consumer debit and cash access, prepaid and commercial programs. Visa U.S.A.’s primary customers are its member financial institutions participating in the payments network. Prior to the reorganization, Visa U.S.A. was a regional group member of Visa International and operated as a non-stock corporation with approximately 13,300 member financial institutions.

Visa U.S.A. achieved 22% growth in operating revenues in fiscal 2007 compared to fiscal 2006. This growth reflects a 10% increase in payments volume (as defined below) on Visa U.S.A.’s products for the fiscal year, with double-digit payments volume growth in commercial and consumer debit products, and an 11% increase in the number of transactions. Payments volume, which is the basis for service fees, and transactions, which drive data processing fees, are key drivers for Visa U.S.A.’s business. Payments volume is defined as the total monetary value of transactions for goods and services that are purchased with Visa products, including PIN-based debit volume, and excluding cash disbursements obtained with Visa-branded cards, balance transfers and convenience checks, which Visa U.S.A. refers to as cash volume.

Operating revenues increased at a higher rate than underlying payments volume growth primarily due to two new acceptance fees, which are included in service fees, introduced in April 2007. The two new fees include a debit acceptance fee on debit payments volume and a credit/commercial acceptance fee on all consumer credit and commercial payments volume. These fees supersede previously existing issuer programs used to support merchant acceptance and volume growth initiatives. These changes are designed to simplify the fee structure and improve overall program efficiencies for Visa U.S.A. and its issuers while continuing to support Visa U.S.A.’s acceptance growth initiatives. While Visa U.S.A. believes that these fee changes will generate ongoing benefits, Visa U.S.A. does not believe that the rate of growth in operating revenues during fiscal 2007 is representative of sustainable future revenue growth because it includes the impact in 2007 of the new service fees introduced in the second half of fiscal 2007. Growth in operating revenues was also attributable to adjustments from Visa U.S.A.’s estimates of performance for volume and support incentive agreements as part of its regular quarterly review of these agreements.

Visa U.S.A. incurred an operating loss in fiscal 2007 as a result of recording a litigation provision of $2.7 billion, of which $1.9 billion was recorded in connection with the settlement of outstanding litigation with American Express. Visa Inc., Visa U.S.A. and Visa International entered into an agreement with American Express that became effective on November 9, 2007, to resolve all current litigation between American Express and Visa U.S.A. and Visa International, and the related litigation between American Express and five co-defendant banks. Under the settlement agreement, an initial payment of $1.13 billion will be made on or before March 31, 2008, including $945 million from Visa Inc. and $185 million from the five co-defendant banks. Beginning March 31, 2008, Visa Inc. will

 

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pay American Express an additional amount of up to $70 million per quarter for 16 quarters, for a maximum total of $1.12 billion. Total future payments discounted at 4.72% over the payment term, or $1.9 billion, are reflected in the litigation provision on Visa U.S.A.’s consolidated statements of operations for fiscal 2007 and in current and long-term accrued litigation on its consolidated balance sheet at September 30, 2007. Visa U.S.A. intends to fund its payment obligations under the American Express settlement with amounts in the escrow account, in accordance with the retrospective responsibility plan. The remainder of the $2.7 billion litigation provision includes management’s liability estimate under the guidelines of SFAS No. 5, “Accounting for Contingencies,” related to the Discover litigation, and various other litigation provisions for both settled and unsettled matters. See “Liquidity and Capital Resources” and Note 20—Legal Matters to the Visa U.S.A. fiscal 2007 consolidated financial statements.

The effect of these litigation provisions on Visa U.S.A.’s earnings was partially offset by the impacts of the introduction of new service fees during the third quarter of fiscal 2007 and the absence of substantial charges incurred in the prior year related to customer reimbursement for costs associated with Visa U.S.A.’s holographic magnetic card, impairment charges related to Visa U.S.A.’s Mini Card license and business expenses related to a 2006 litigation settlement. See “Operating Revenues—Service Fees” and “Operating Expenses—Administrative and Other.”

In November 2006, Visa U.S.A. announced plans to outsource certain data processing and development support functions over the course of fiscal 2007. This action was intended to help Visa U.S.A. better align personnel and contract staffing levels with fluctuating project demand. As a result of this strategy, Visa U.S.A. reduced its total number of employees by approximately 5% of Visa U.S.A.’s total workforce at December 31, 2006. Visa U.S.A. incurred severance and related personnel costs of approximately $13 million during fiscal 2007 associated with this program. Approximately $1 million in additional charges are expected in fiscal 2008, based upon current assumptions for the timing of employee terminations. Although Visa U.S.A. believes that these estimates accurately reflect the costs of its plan, actual results may differ, thereby requiring Visa U.S.A. to record additional provisions or reverse a portion of such provisions. At September 30, 2007, the related liability in accrued compensation and benefits was $2 million.

In August 2007, Visa U.S.A. completed the purchase of a parcel of land on the east coast of the United States and commenced construction of a new data center. The new data center is intended to support Visa U.S.A.’s technology objectives related to reliability, scalability, security and innovation. Visa U.S.A. anticipates that the data center will be completed in 2010 at an estimated total cost of $397 million. See “Liquidity and Capital Resources.

Results of Operations

Operating Revenues

Visa U.S.A.’s operating revenues consist of gross operating revenues reduced by payments made to customers and merchants under volume and support incentive arrangements. Gross operating revenues consist of service fees, data processing fees, international transaction fees and other revenues. Visa U.S.A.’s operating revenues are based upon aggregate payments volume reported by its members and transactional information accumulated by its transaction processing systems. Visa U.S.A.’s operating revenues are primarily generated from fees calculated on the payments volume of activity on Visa-branded cards, which Visa U.S.A. refers to as service fees, and from the fees charged for providing transaction processing, which Visa U.S.A. refers to as data processing fees. Pricing varies and may be modified on a customer-by-customer basis through volume and support incentive arrangements. Service fees and data processing fees combined represent 82%, 81% and 81% of Visa U.S.A.’s gross operating revenues in fiscal 2007, 2006 and 2005, respectively.

Visa U.S.A. does not earn revenues from, or bear credit risk with respect to, interest and fees paid by cardholders on Visa-branded cards. Issuing customers have the responsibility for issuing cards and determining

 

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interest rates and fees paid by consumers and commercial establishments, and most other competitive card features. Nor does Visa U.S.A. earn revenues from the fees that merchants are charged for card acceptance, including the merchant discount rate. Acquiring customers, which are generally responsible for soliciting merchants, establish and earn these fees.

Service Fees

Service fees primarily reflect payments by customers for their participation in card programs carrying marks of the Visa brand. Current quarter service fees are assessed using a calculation of pricing applied to prior quarter payments volume as reported on customer quarterly operating certificates, exclusive of PIN-based debit volume. These payments volumes also do not include cash disbursements obtained with Visa-branded cards, balance transfers or convenience checks.

Also included in service fees are acceptance fees which are used to support merchant acceptance and ongoing volume growth initiatives. Two new acceptance fees were introduced in April 2007, which apply to all consumer debit payments volume and all consumer credit and commercial payments volume. These fees supersede previously existing issuer programs. Prior period revenues associated with previously existing issuer fees have been reclassified from other revenues to this category for comparative purposes in Visa U.S.A.’s consolidated financial statements for fiscal 2006 and fiscal 2005.

Data Processing Fees

Visa U.S.A. operates a proprietary network, VisaNet, a proprietary, secure, centralized processing platform which provides transaction processing and other payment services linking issuers and acquirers. Processing services are provided through Visa U.S.A.’s majority-owned subsidiary, Inovant, which operates VisaNet. Visa U.S.A. also provides processing services to Visa International, Visa Canada and Visa Europe, in accordance with service agreements with these entities. Data processing fees are based on information Visa U.S.A. accumulates from VisaNet. Data processing fees are recognized as revenue in the same period the related transaction occurs or services are rendered.

Data processing fees are primarily driven by the number and type of transactions and represent fees for processing transactions that facilitate the following services:

Authorization. Fees to route authorization requests to the issuer when a merchant, through its acquirer, requests approval of a cardholder’s transaction;

Clearing and settlement. Fees for determining and transferring transaction amounts due between acquirers and issuers;

Single Message System, or SMS, switching. Fees for use of the SMS for determining and transferring debit transaction amounts due between acquirers and issuers;

Member processing. Fees for use of the Debit Processing Service, which provides processing and support for Visa debit products and services;

Processing guarantee. Fees charged for network operations and maintenance necessary for ongoing system availability; and

Other products and services. Fees for miscellaneous services that facilitate transaction and information management among Visa U.S.A.’s customers.

Volume and Support Incentives

Volume and support incentives are contracts with financial institutions, merchants and other business partners for various programs designed to build payments volume, increase card issuance and product acceptance

 

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and increase Visa-branded transactions. These contracts, which range in term from one to 13 years, provide incentives based on payments volume growth or card issuance, or provide marketing and program support based on specific performance requirements. Visa U.S.A. provides cash and other incentives to certain customers in exchange for their commitment to generate certain payments volume using Visa-branded products for an agreed period of time.

Pricing varies and may be modified on a customer-by-customer basis through volume and support incentive arrangements. In this regard, volume and support incentives represent a form of price reduction to these customers. Accordingly, we record these arrangements as a reduction to operating revenues. Certain incentives are estimated based on projected performance criteria and may change when actual performance varies from projections, resulting in adjustments to volume and support incentives. Management regularly reviews volume and support incentives and estimates of performance. Estimated costs associated with these contracts are adjusted as appropriate to reflect payments volume performance and projections that are higher or lower than management’s original expectation or to reflect contract amendments.

International Transaction Fees

International transaction fees are assessed to customers on non-U.S. transactions of U.S.-based issuing financial institutions and U.S. transactions of non-U.S.-based issuing financial institutions. International transaction fees are generally driven by cross-border payments volume, which include the settlement of currency exchange activities in connection with the settlement of multi-currency transactions. International transaction fees are influenced by levels of travel and the extent to which Visa-branded products are utilized for travel purposes. These fees are recognized as revenues in the same period the related transactions occur or services are performed.

Other Revenues

Other revenues represent optional card enhancements, such as extended cardholder protection and concierge services, cardholder services, software development services and other services provided to Visa U.S.A.’s customers, Visa International, Visa Canada and Visa Europe. Software development services are provided on a time and materials basis primarily to Visa International, Visa Europe and Visa Canada. Prior period revenues associated with previous issuer fees, which were superseded by new issuer acceptance fees discussed above, have been reclassified to service fees for comparative purposes in Visa U.S.A.’s consolidated financial statements for fiscal 2006 and fiscal 2005.

Operating Expenses

Our operating expenses consist of personnel; network, electronic data processing (EDP) and communications; advertising, marketing and promotion; professional and consulting fees; administrative and other, and litigation provision.

Personnel

Personnel expense consists of salaries, incentives and various fringe benefits.

Network, EDP and Communications

Network, EDP and communications represent expenses for the operation of our electronic payments network, including maintenance, depreciation and fees for other data processing services.

 

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Advertising, Marketing and Promotion

Advertising, marketing and promotion include expenses associated with advertising and marketing programs, sponsorships, promotions and other related incentives to promote the Visa brand. In connection with certain sponsorship agreements, Visa U.S.A. has an obligation to spend certain minimum amounts for advertising and marketing promotion over the terms of the agreements.

Visa International Fees

Visa U.S.A. pays fees to Visa International based on payments volumes, exclusive of PIN-based debit volume, for services primarily related to global brand management, global product enhancements, management of global system development and interoperability, and corporate support to the entire Visa enterprise. The fees are calculated based on Visa U.S.A.’s relative percentage of these payments volumes compared to other Visa regions.

Professional and consulting fees

 

Professional and consulting fees consist of fees for consulting, contractors, legal, and other professional services. Legal costs for third party services provided in connection with ongoing legal matters are expensed as incurred. Legal costs are included in professional and consulting fees on the consolidated statements of operations.

Administrative and Other

Administrative and other primarily consist of facilities’ costs, and other corporate and overhead expenses in support of our business, such as travel expenses.

Litigation Provision

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. In accordance with SFAS No. 5, “Accounting for Contingencies,” management records a charge to income for an estimated loss if such loss is probable and reasonably estimable. Visa U.S.A. will continue to review the litigation accrual and, if necessary, future adjustments to the accrual will be made.

Other Income (Expense)

Other income (expense) primarily consists of equity in earnings of unconsolidated affiliates, interest expense, investment income, net and other non-operating income.

Equity in Earnings of Unconsolidated Affiliates

Equity in earnings of unconsolidated affiliates relates to investments in Visa International and joint ventures that own, lease, develop and operate all facilities and properties used jointly by Visa U.S.A. and Visa International.

Interest 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.

 

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Investment Income

Investment income, net represents returns on our fixed-income securities and other investments.

Fiscal 2007 compared to Fiscal 2006

Operating Revenues

Operating revenues were $3.6 billion and $3.0 billion in fiscal 2007 and fiscal 2006, respectively, reflecting an increase of $0.6 billion, or 22%. The increase in operating revenues reflects increases in service fees and data processing fees due to growth in payments volume, exclusive of PIN-based debit volume, which increased 9%, and growth in transactions, which increased 11%. Growth in operating revenues exceeded growth in payments and transactions volumes primarily due to newly introduced service fees. While Visa U.S.A. believes that these changes in fee structure will generate ongoing benefits, Visa U.S.A. does not believe that the rate of growth in operating revenues is representative of sustainable future revenue growth because it includes the impacts in fiscal 2007 of the new service fees.

 

     Fiscal Year     2007 vs. 2006  
   2007     2006     $ Change    % Change  
                             
     (in millions, except percentages)  

Service fees

   $ 1,945     $ 1,610     $ 335    21 %

Data processing fees

     1,416       1,248       168    13 %

Volume and support incentives

     (505 )     (588 )     83    (14 )%

International transaction fees

     454       398       56    14 %

Other revenues

     280       280       —      0 %
                         

Total Operating Revenues

   $ 3,590     $ 2,948     $ 642    22 %
                         

Service Fees

Payments volume on Visa-branded cards for goods and services in the preceding quarter, exclusive of PIN-based debit volume, is the basis for service fees. Payments volume, exclusive of PIN-based debit volume, increased $105 billion, or 9%, to $1.3 trillion in fiscal 2007 compared to fiscal 2006. Service fees outpaced the growth in underlying payments volume due primarily to the April 2007 introduction of two new acceptance fees including a debit acceptance fee on all consumer debit payments volume and a credit/commercial acceptance fee on all consumer credit and commercial payments volume. The increase in service fees from these new acceptance fees were offset by the corresponding elimination of previously existing issuer fees used to support merchant acceptance and volume growth initiatives. The net impact of the new acceptance fees and the elimination of the existing issuer fees resulted in an increase to service fees of $190 million, or 12%, in fiscal 2007 compared to fiscal 2006.

Data Processing Fees

The increase in data processing fees is primarily due to the growth in number of transactions processed during fiscal 2007 compared to fiscal 2006. Data processing fees increased 13%, broadly consistent with the growth in underlying transactions processed. Incremental revenues during fiscal 2007 from the introduction of an updated fraud detection product and additional revenues from Visa U.S.A.’s debit processing services related to non-Visa network transactions offset the continued impact of higher volume-based discounts resulting from consolidation and transaction growth among customers. Of the total data processing fees, $122 million, or 9%, was collectively earned from Visa International, Visa Canada and Visa Europe in each of fiscal 2007 and fiscal 2006.

 

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Volume and Support Incentives

The decrease in volume and support incentives was primarily due to the impact of lower revised estimates of performance under these agreements during management’s regular quarterly review of customer performance and due to amendments to volume and support incentives during the period. Performance adjustments reduced volume and support incentives cost by a total of $73 million in fiscal 2007 compared to $36 million in fiscal 2006. As the rate of payments volume growth has softened compared to the prior year, estimates of performance under volume and support incentives have been adjusted accordingly. We currently expect volume and support incentives to increase substantially during fiscal 2008 due to obligations assumed upon retirement of certain issuer programs during 2007. See Note 13—Restricted Assets and Liabilities and Note 19—Commitments and Contingencies to the Visa U.S.A. fiscal 2007 consolidated financial statements. The actual amount of volume and support incentives will vary based on modifications to performance expectations for these contracts, amendments to contracts, or new contracts entered into during 2008.

The net liability of volume and support incentives changed as follows:

 

     2007  
     (in millions)  

Beginning balance at October 1, 2006, net liability(1)

   $ (65 )

Provision

  

Current year provision

     (588 )

Performance adjustments(2)

     73  

Contractual amendments(3)

     10  
        

Subtotal volume and support incentives

     (505 )
        

Payments

     523  
        

Ending balance at September 30, 2007, net liability(1)

   $ (47 )
        

(1) Balance represents the net of the current and long term asset and current liability portions of volume and support incentives as presented on the face of the Visa U.S.A. fiscal 2007 consolidated financial statements.
(2) Amount represents adjustments resulting from management’s refinement of its estimate of projected sales performance as new information becomes available.
(3) Amount represents adjustments resulting from amendments to existing contractual terms.

International Transaction Fees

The increase in international transaction fees was primarily driven by multi-currency payments volume, which increased by $10 billion, or 15%, during fiscal 2007, compared to fiscal 2006. The increase in international transaction fees was broadly in line with the growth in multi-currency payments volume, reflecting more cross-border transactions as overall global travel has increased.

 

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Operating Expenses

Total operating expenses increased by 127% to $5.0 billion in fiscal 2007 compared to $2.2 billion in fiscal 2006. The increase primarily reflects the $2.7 billion litigation provision, which represented 94% of that increase. Excluding the litigation provision, operating expenses increased $191 million, or 9%.

 

     Fiscal Year    2007 vs. 2006  
     2007    2006    $ Change     % Change  
                        
     (in millions, except percentages)  

Personnel

   $ 721    $ 671    $ 50     7 %

Network, EDP and communications

     366      328      38     12 %

Advertising, marketing and promotion

     581      474      107     23 %

Visa International fees

     173      159      14     9 %

Professional and consulting fees

     334      291      43     15 %

Administrative and other

     211      272      (61 )   (22 )%

Litigation provision

     2,653      23      2,630     NM  
                        

Total Operating Expenses

   $ 5,039    $ 2,218    $ 2,821     127 %
                        

Personnel

Personnel expense increased 4% in fiscal 2007 due to a $26 million charge representing the first installment of a one-time special bonus program of $51 million associated with the establishment of Visa Inc. Half of the $51 million special bonus program vested during fiscal 2007. The other half is payable in stock or cash one year after the completion of an initial public offering if certain vesting requirements are met. The remaining increase of 3% reflects severance expense for certain executives, annual salary adjustments, which were broadly in line with economic price increases, offset by the impact of lower average headcount during fiscal 2007.

Network, EDP and Communications

The increase in Network, EDP and Communications expense for fiscal 2007 was primarily due to the following:

 

   

a $29 million in crease in fees paid for debit processing services for charges related to processing transactions through non-Visa networks, and

 

   

a $12 million increase in maintenance and equipment rental costs.

Advertising, Marketing and Promotion

The increase in advertising, marketing and promotion expense in fiscal 2007 was primarily due to the following:

 

   

a $67 million increase in expenditures for certain joint promotional campaigns with financial institution customers; and

 

   

a $23 million increase in expenditures associated with Visa Extras, Visa U.S.A.’s point-based rewards program that enables enrolled cardholders to earn reward points on qualifying purchases.

The remaining increase is attributable to additional promotional activity related to Visa Signature, Visa Small Business, and Consumer Debit products. These increases were offset by the absence of initial launch expenditures for Visa U.S.A.’s new brand mark and card design which began in January 2006 and the “Life Takes Visa” advertising campaign, which began in February 2006.

 

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Visa International Fees

Although Visa U.S.A.’s percentage of worldwide payments volumes decreased in fiscal 2007 compared to fiscal 2006 due to global emerging markets experiencing higher payments volume growth rates than the more mature U.S. economy, fees paid to Visa International increased due to a one-time fee waiver of $13 million in fiscal 2006 that was not repeated in fiscal 2007.

Professional and Consulting Fees

Professional and consulting fees increased in fiscal 2007 primarily due to the following:

 

   

a $23 million increase in contractors and outsourcing expense in connection with the outsourcing of certain data processing and development functions as described in the overview above, and additional contractors in connection with the support of other development and maintenance projects; and

 

   

A $19 million increase in legal fees incurred to support ongoing litigation matters. See Note 20—Legal Matters to the Visa U.S.A. fiscal 2007 consolidated financial statements.

Administrative and Other

Administrative and other expenses decreased in fiscal 2007, primarily reflecting the absence of the following expenses incurred in fiscal 2006:

 

   

a $24 million charge to reimburse customers for production and issuance costs related to discontinued use of Visa-branded cards with the holographic magnetic stripe design;

 

   

a $13 million impairment charge for the net carrying value of an intangible asset associated with the patent and rights to market and distribute Mini Cards in the United States; and

 

   

an $11 million charge to reflect expenses for business objectives related to a litigation settlement in fiscal 2006. The settlement required Visa U.S.A. to either meet certain joint business objectives or make cash payments in lieu of the business objectives over five years. Because Visa U.S.A. expects to make these related cash payments without receiving future benefits, Visa U.S.A. charged the present value of the total payments to its consolidated statements of operations in fiscal 2006.

In addition, after a review of claims submitted, Visa U.S.A. reduced the accrual for reimbursement to customers for production costs related to the discontinued use of Visa-branded cards with the holographic magnetic stripe design by $11 million in fiscal 2007.

Litigation Provision

Litigation provision increased $2.6 billion reflecting a $1.9 billion provision related to settlement of outstanding litigation with American Express. Future payments under the settlement agreement were discounted at 4.72% over the payment term to determine the amount of the provision. The litigation provision also reflects management’s liability estimate under the guidelines of SFAS No. 5, “Accounting for Contingencies,” related to the Discover litigation. The American Express and Discover litigations are covered by our retrospective responsibility plan and we intend to fund any payment obligations with amounts in the escrow account, in accordance with our retrospective responsibility plan. The remainder of the increase in litigation provision includes various litigation provisions for both settled and unsettled matters. See “—Liquidity and Capital Resources” and Note 20—Legal Matters to the Visa U.S.A. fiscal 2007 consolidated financial statements.

Visa U.S.A. is a party to various other legal and regulatory proceedings. See Note 20—Legal Matters to the Visa U.S.A. fiscal 2007 consolidated financial statements.

 

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Total liabilities for legal matters changed as follows:

 

     (in millions)  

Balance at September 30, 2006

   $ 1,000  

Provision for settled legal matters

     1,941  

Provision for unsettled legal matters

     714  

Bank co-defendants’ obligation to American Express(1)

     185  

Insurance recovery

     (2 )

Interest accretion on settled matters

     75  

Payments on settled matters

     (231 )
        

Balance at September 30, 2007

   $ 3,682  
        

(1)

Visa Inc. will consolidate the initial payment to American Express (see discussion below) on behalf of the five co-defendant banks. Visa U.S.A. has recorded a corresponding receivable in prepaid and other current assets on the Visa U.S.A.’s consolidated balance sheets at September 30, 2007.

Other Income (Expense)

Other income was $62 million in fiscal 2007 compared to other expense of $8 million in fiscal 2006. The increase in other income primarily reflects an increase in Visa U.S.A.’s portion of equity earnings from Visa International as a result of an increase in net income for Visa International and an increase in interest income as the result of a shift in Visa U.S.A.’s investment portfolio from tax-exempt securities to higher yielding money market and auction rate securities.

The following table sets forth the components of our other income (expense) for fiscal 2007 and 2006.

 

     Fiscal Year     2007 vs. 2006  
     2007     2006     $ Change    % Change  
     (in millions, except percentages)  

Equity in earnings of unconsolidated affiliates

   $ 40     $ 13     $ 27    208 %

Interest expense

     (81 )     (89 )     8    (9 )%

Investment income, net

     103       68       35    51 %
                         

Other Income (Expense)

   $ 62     $ (8 )   $ 70    NM  
                         

Equity in Earnings of Unconsolidated Affiliates

The increase in equity in earnings of unconsolidated affiliates in fiscal 2007 primarily reflected higher Visa International net income during fiscal 2007 compared to the prior fiscal year.

Interest Expense

The decrease in interest expense in fiscal 2007 primarily reflected lower accretion expense on the declining litigation balance in the Retailers’ Litigation matter. Interest expense is expected to increase in fiscal 2008 as a result of the American Express Litigation, for which accretion will be recorded beginning in October 2008. See Note 20—Legal Matters to the Visa U.S.A fiscal 2007 consolidated financial statements.

Investment Income, Net

The increase in investment income, net in fiscal 2007 primarily reflects an increase in interest income due to a shift in the Visa U.S.A.’s investment strategy from tax-exempt municipal bonds to higher yield fixed-income investment securities and to higher average investment balances during the year.

 

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Income Taxes

Visa U.S.A.’s effective tax rate is a combination of federal and state statutory rates and allowable adjustments to taxable income. The effective tax rate in fiscal 2007 of 23% represented a tax benefit while the effective rate of 35% for the prior year represented a tax expense. The 23% effective tax rate benefit in fiscal 2007 resulted from the loss before income tax realized for the year. This benefit was less than would otherwise have been realized primarily as a result of an adjustment in a reserve related to litigation.

The components impacting the effective tax rate are:

 

     Fiscal Year  
     2007     2006  
     Dollars     Percent     Dollars     Percent  
     (in millions, except percentages)  

(Loss) income before income taxes and minority interest

   $ (1,387 )     $ 722    

Minority interest expense

     5         16    

U.S. federal statutory tax

     (485 )   35 %     253     35 %

State tax effect, net of federal benefit

     (11 )   1
%
    (11 )   (2 )%

Reserve for tax uncertainties related to litigation

     180     (13 )%          

Non-deductible expenses and other differences

     2     %     15     3 %

Minority interest—not subject to tax

     (2 )   %     (6 )   (1 )%
                            

Income Tax (Benefit) Expense

   $ (316 )   23 %   $ 251     35 %
                            

Visa U.S.A.’s fiscal 2007 statement of operations reflected a litigation provision of $2.7 billion associated with its outstanding and settled litigation. This provision primarily reflected the amount required to settle the American Express litigation and management’s liability estimate under the guidelines of SFAS No. 5 related to the Discover litigation and other matters. For tax purposes, the deduction related to these matters will be deferred until the payments are made and thus we established a deferred tax asset of $778 million related to these payments, which is net of a reserve to reflect Visa U.S.A.’s best estimate of the amount of the benefit to be realized.

Minority Interest

The decrease in minority interest for fiscal 2007 compared to the prior year reflects lower Inovant net income as a result of charges for severance and termination benefits related to Visa U.S.A.’s plans to outsource certain data processing and development support functions. See Note 16—Workforce Reduction to the Visa U.S.A. fiscal 2007 consolidated financial statements.

Fiscal 2006 compared to Fiscal 2005

Operating Revenues

Operating revenues were $3.0 billion and $2.7 billion in fiscal 2006 and fiscal 2005, respectively, reflecting an increase of $0.3 billion, or 11%. The increase in operating revenues was primarily driven by increases in service fees and data processing fees due to growth in payments volume and transactions, both of which increased 17% during fiscal 2006. In fiscal 2006, growth in consumer credit volume continued to favorably impact operating revenues, driven largely by Visa Signature, Visa U.S.A.’s premium credit platform, which generates higher fees. Operating revenues were also impacted by growth in debit volumes and transactions processed, reflecting the ongoing impact of certain member conversions to the debit Interlink platform.

 

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     Fiscal Year     2006 vs. 2005  
     2006     2005     $ Change     % Change  
   (in millions, except percentages)  

Service fees

   $ 1,610     $ 1,447     $ 163     11 %

Data processing fees

     1,248       1,139       109     10 %

Volume and support incentives

     (588 )     (524 )     (64 )   12 %

International transaction fees

     398       360       38     11 %

Other revenues

     280       243       37     15 %
                          

Total Operating Revenues

   $ 2,948     $ 2,665     $ 283     11 %
                          

Service Fees

The increase in service fees in fiscal 2006 compared to fiscal 2005 of 11% was broadly in line with the growth in underlying payments volume exclusive of PIN-based debit volume, which increased $151.0 billion, or 15%, to $1.2 trillion in fiscal 2006, reflecting increased spending on all product platforms volumes. This increase was offset by a decrease in acceptance fees in fiscal 2006 primarily reflecting lower revenues of $36 million related to a merchant incentive program. The program collects fees from customers and the funds are intended to support various merchant programs designed to build payments volume and increase product acceptance. Beginning in fiscal 2006, the program was modified, requiring specific use of related revenues. Revenues related to the merchant incentive program were therefore deferred and recognized only when expended as designated for specific acceptance programs.

Data Processing Fees

Data processing fees increased 10% primarily due to a 17% increase in the number of transactions processed in fiscal 2006 as compared to fiscal 2005. The increase in transactions processed outpaced the increase in data processing fees in fiscal 2006 primarily due to higher volume-based discounts resulting from consolidations among financial institution customers. Despite solid growth in the mix of debit transactions during fiscal 2006, reflecting conversion of various member financial institutions to Interlink, Visa U.S.A.’s PIN-based debit platform, the impact of volume-based discounts across all product lines outpaced the impact of growth of debit transactions. Of the total data processing fees, $122 million and $121 million was earned from Visa International, Visa Canada and Visa Europe in fiscal 2006 and fiscal 2005, respectively.

Volume and Support Incentives

Growth of volume and support incentives in fiscal 2006 was primarily due to the execution of new agreements in support of Visa U.S.A. partnership programs with existing customers, and co-branding programs with existing customers and new merchants.

 

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The net asset (liability) of volume and support incentives changed as follows:

 

     2006  
     (in millions)  

Beginning balance at October 1, 2005, net asset(1)

   $ 110  

Provision

  

Current year provision

     (635 )

Performance adjustments(2)

     36  

Contractual amendments(3)

     11  
        

Subtotal volume and support incentives

     (588 )
        

Payments

     413  
        

Ending balance at September 30, 2006, net liability(1)

   $ (65 )
        

(1)

Balance represents the net of the current and long term asset and current liability portions of volume and support incentives as presented on the face of the Visa U.S.A. fiscal 2007 consolidated financial statements.

(2)

Amount represents adjustments resulting from management’s refinement of its estimate of projected sales performance as new information becomes available.

(3)

Amount represents adjustments resulting from amendments to existing contractual terms.

International Transaction Fees

International transaction fees increased 11% while multi-currency payments volume increased 9% or $4.4 billion, in fiscal 2006 as compared to fiscal 2005. The increase in international transaction fees was higher than the growth in multi-currency payments volume due to the differential between foreign and domestic interchange rates.

Other Revenues

The increase in other revenues in fiscal 2006 primarily reflected:

 

   

revenue growth of $18 million for technology projects and services performed for Visa International, Visa Canada and Visa Europe; and

 

   

revenue growth of $12 million from the Visa Extras loyalty program. Visa Extras is a platform for enrolled Visa cardholders to earn reward points toward qualifying purchases.

Operating Expenses

Total operating expenses were unchanged at $2.2 billion for both fiscal 2006 and 2005, respectively. Visa U.S.A. reduced its total operating expenses as a percentage of total operating revenues to 75% in fiscal 2006 compared to 83% in fiscal 2005 due to more effective expense management and the absence of certain charges associated with Visa U.S.A.’s litigation provision expense recorded in fiscal 2005. The charge to litigation provision expense in fiscal 2005 was primarily related to the multi-currency matter that was subsequently settled in fiscal 2006. See Note 20—Legal Matters to the Visa U.S.A. fiscal 2007 consolidated financial statements.

 

     Fiscal Year    2006 vs. 2005  
     2006    2005    $ Change     % Change  
     (in millions, except percentages)  

Personnel

   $ 671    $ 619    $ 52     8 %

Network, EDP and communications

     328      338      (10 )   (3 )%

Advertising, marketing and promotion

     474      457      17     4 %

Visa International fees

     159      169      (10 )   (6 )%

Professional and consulting fees

     291      273      18     7 %

Administrative and other

     272      224      48     21 %

Litigation provision

     23      132      (109 )   (83 )%
                        

Total Operating Expenses

   $ 2,218    $ 2,212    $ 6     0 %
                        

 

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Personnel

The increase in personnel expense in fiscal 2006 reflected annual salary adjustments, which were broadly in line with inflation, and a 4% increase in the number of employees in support of various corporate initiatives at Visa U.S.A.

Network, EDP and Communications

The decrease in network, EDP and communications expense in fiscal 2006 primarily reflected a decrease in software expense of $9 million due to Visa U.S.A. lowering its threshold for capitalizing software from a unit cost greater than $25,000 or an aggregate purchase cost greater than $250,000 to a unit cost or aggregate purchase cost greater than $10,000.

Advertising, Marketing and Promotion

The increase in advertising, marketing and promotion expense in fiscal 2006 primarily reflected higher expenditures for Visa U.S.A.’s new brand mark and card design launch which began in January 2006 and its “Life Takes Visa” advertising campaign, launched in February 2006.

Visa International Fees

The decrease in Visa International fees in fiscal 2006 primarily reflected reductions in Visa U.S.A.’s percentage of worldwide payments volumes, as global emerging markets experienced higher payments volume growth rates than the more mature U.S. economy.

Professional and Consulting Fees

Professional and consulting fees increased in fiscal 2006 primarily due to professional contracting fees incurred to provide analysis and support for various programs and projects including product development and innovation, call center operations and global processing and system development. Additional expenses for accounting and auditing services were incurred in conjunction with Visa U.S.A.’s review of its internal controls over financial reporting, and additional legal fees were incurred to support ongoing litigation matters.

Administrative and Other

Administrative and other expense increased in fiscal 2006, primarily reflecting the following non-recurring expenses:

 

   

a $24 million charge to reimburse customers for production and issuance costs related to discontinued use of Visa-branded cards with the holographic magnetic stripe design;

 

   

a $13 million impairment charge for the net carrying value of an intangible asset associated with the patent and rights to market and distribute Mini Cards in the United States; and

 

   

an $11 million charge to reflect expenses for business objectives related to a litigation settlement in fiscal 2006. The settlement required Visa U.S.A. to either meet certain joint business objectives or make cash payments in lieu of the business objectives over five years. Because Visa U.S.A. expects to make these related cash payments without receiving future benefits, Visa U.S.A. charged the present value of the total payments to its consolidated statements of operations in fiscal 2006.

 

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Litigation Provision

The decrease in the litigation provision in fiscal 2006 compared to the prior year was driven by the following:

 

   

absence of the litigation provision for the multi-currency matter of $94 million, which was charged in fiscal 2005 and settled in fiscal 2006;

 

   

downward adjustment of $16 million to the litigation provision reflecting the settlement of two matters in July 2006; and

 

   

an $11 million insurance recovery related to one of the matters settled in July 2006. The insurance recovery was received during the fourth fiscal quarter of fiscal 2006.

Total liabilities for legal matters changed as follows:

 

     (in millions)  

Balance at September 30, 2005

   $ 1,208  

Provision for legal matters

     34  

Insurance recovery

     (11 )

Interest accretion on settled matters

     92  

Payments on settled matters

     (323 )
        

Balance at September 30, 2006

   $ 1,000  
        

Other Income (Expense)

Other expense was $8 million in fiscal 2006 compared to other income of $3 million in fiscal 2005. The decrease in other income primarily reflected the absence of a non-recurring gain-on-sale of a joint venture interest in Vital Processing Services LLC, a financial transaction processor for acquirers and merchants, which occurred in fiscal 2005 and lower equity in earnings related to Visa U.S.A.’s ownership in Visa International.

 

     Fiscal Year     2006 vs. 2005  
     2006     2005     $ Change     % Change  
     (in millions, except percentages)  

Equity in earnings of unconsolidated affiliates

   $ 13     $ 31     $ (18 )   (58 )%

Interest expense

     (89 )     (109 )     20     (18 )%

Investment income, net

     68       81       (13 )   (16 )%
                          

Other (Expense) Income

   $ (8 )   $ 3     $ (11 )   NM  
                          

Equity in Earnings of Unconsolidated Affiliates

The decrease in equity in earnings of unconsolidated affiliates in fiscal 2006 primarily reflected lower Visa International net income and a decrease in Visa U.S.A.’s proportionate equity interest in Visa International earnings from the prior year, reflecting the fact that Visa U.S.A. comprised a lower percentage of total payments volume-based fees paid to Visa International. The decrease also reflected the absence of equity in earnings from Vital Processing Services LLC following the sale of Visa U.S.A.’s 50% equity interest in the joint venture during fiscal 2005.

Interest Expense

The decrease in interest expense in fiscal 2006 primarily reflected the absence of accretion expense on litigation for certain merchants who opted not to participate in the plaintiff’s class in the Retailers’ Litigation matter. These litigation matters were settled in the first six months of fiscal 2005. See Note 20—Legal Matters to the Visa U.S.A. fiscal 2007 consolidated financial statements.

 

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Investment Income, Net

The decrease in investment income, net in fiscal 2006 primarily reflected the absence of a $42 million gain on the sale of Visa U.S.A.’s 50% equity interest in Vital Processing Services LLC in fiscal 2005. The decrease was offset by higher earnings on fixed-income investment securities, due to higher average investment balances and higher market interest rates for current year periods compared to the prior year.

Income Taxes

Visa U.S.A.’s effective tax rate decreased to 35% in fiscal 2006 from 40% in fiscal 2005. The lower effective tax rate is primarily attributable to additional tax benefits granted by the state related to Visa U.S.A.’s tax filing methodology in fiscal 2006. The decrease also reflects the absence of a one-time remeasurement of deferred tax assets related to the adoption of a new state tax filing methodology, which occurred in 2005.

The components impacting the effective tax rate are:

 

     Fiscal  
     2006     2005  
     Dollars     Percent     Dollars     Percent  
     (in millions, except percentages)  

Income before income taxes, cumulative effect of accounting change and minority interest

   $ 722       $ 606    

Cumulative effect of accounting change, gross

             (150 )  
                    

Income before income taxes and minority interest

     722         456    
                    

Minority interest expense

     16         8    
                    

U.S. federal statutory tax

     253     35 %     160     35 %

State tax effect, net of federal benefit

     (11 )   (2 )%     21     5 %

Non-deductible expenses and other differences

     15     3 %     5     1 %
                            

Minority interest—not subject to tax

     (6 )   (1 )%     (3 )   (1 )%
                        

Income Tax Expense

   $ 251     35 %   $ 183     40 %
                            

Minority Interest

In September 2005, Inovant, Inc. sold a 10% interest in Inovant to Visa Europe and a 6% interest to Visa International and its CEMEA region at a price equivalent to the founder’s cost, thereby reducing Visa U.S.A.’s ownership of Inovant from 85% to 69%. This increase in third party ownership had a full year impact in fiscal 2006 resulting in increased minority interest expense.

Liquidity and Capital Resources

Visa U.S.A. maintains comprehensive cash flow forecasts to project Visa U.S.A.’s short-term and long-term liquidity needs, and maintains controls and governance over spending and investment decisions. Visa U.S.A.’s corporate investment policy was approved by its board of directors and Visa U.S.A.’s Asset and Liability Committee oversees Visa U.S.A.’s treasury activity.

Visa U.S.A. requires capital resources and liquidity to:

 

   

enable uninterrupted settlement of debit transactions;

 

   

fund development of new technology, payment products and services;

 

   

fund payment obligations under volume and support incentives;

 

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finance capital expenditures and future investments;

 

   

service the payments of principal and interest on outstanding indebtedness; and

 

   

pay the costs of litigation, including settlements.

The objectives of Visa U.S.A.’s investment policy are to maintain integrity of principal, to provide adequate liquidity to cover settlement contingency scenarios and operating expenditures, including payments of principal and interest on its outstanding debt, inclusive of settled litigation, and to optimize investment income earned within acceptable risk criteria.

Settlement of certain debit transactions due from customers participating in the Debit Processing Service and due to payment networks represents Visa U.S.A.’s most consistent liquidity requirement. These settlement receivables are generally collected on the business day following the day in which the transactions were processed, and settlement payables are typically satisfied two days following the processing day. Visa U.S.A. maintains a liquidity position sufficient to enable uninterrupted daily net debit settlement. During fiscal 2007, Visa U.S.A. funded average daily net settlement payable balances of $62 million, with the highest daily balance being $188 million. During fiscal 2006, Visa U.S.A. funded average daily net settlement payable balances of $62 million, with the highest daily balance being $221 million. Visa International is Visa U.S.A.’s settlement agent for credit and all other debit transactions.

Sources of Liquidity

Visa U.S.A.’s primary sources of liquidity are cash on hand, cash provided by operating activities and a fixed-income investment portfolio. 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 on Visa U.S.A.’s estimates of when those funds will be needed. At September 30, 2007, September 30, 2006 and September 30, 2005, Visa U.S.A.’s total liquid assets, consisting of cash and cash equivalents, short-term investment securities, and long-term investment securities, were $1.8 billion, $1.4 billion and $1.1 billion, respectively, as reflected in the following table:

 

     At September 30,
      2007     2006    2005
    

(in millions)

Cash and cash equivalents

   $ 275     $ 270    $ 135

Short-term investments securities, available-for-sale

     747       660      681

Total current assets

     2,507       1,594      1,478

Long-term investments securities, available-for-sale

     737       515      319

Total current liabilities

     3,282       1,393      1,325

Current portion of long-term debt

     41       32      32

Long-term debt

           41      74

Current portion of accrued litigation

     2,236       216      197

Long-term portion of accrued litigation

     1,446       784      1,010

Total (deficit) equity

     (501 )     583      126

Working capital

     (775 )     201      153

On November 1, 2007, Visa Inc., Visa U.S.A. and Visa International entered into an agreement with American Express to resolve all current litigation between American Express and Visa U.S.A. and Visa International, and the related litigation between American Express and five co-defendant banks. Under the settlement agreement, an initial payment of $1.13 billion will be made on or before March 31, 2008, including $945 million from Visa Inc. and $185 million from the five co-defendant banks. Beginning March 31, 2008, Visa Inc. will pay American Express an additional amount of up to $70 million per quarter for 16 quarters, for a maximum total of $1.12 billion. Total future payments discounted at 4.72% over the payment term, or

 

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$1.9 billion, are reflected in the litigation provision on Visa U.S.A.’s consolidated statements of operations for fiscal 2007 and in current and long-term accrued litigation on its consolidated balance sheet at September 30, 2007. Visa Inc. expects to fund future payments under the American Express settlement under its retrospective responsibility plan. The plan includes an escrow arrangement in which Visa Inc. will deposit a portion of the expected proceeds from an initial public offering, as determined by the Visa Inc. litigation committee (a committee established pursuant to a litigation management agreement among Visa Inc., Visa International, Visa U.S.A. and the members of the committee, all of whom are affiliated with, or acting for, certain Visa U.S.A. members), into an escrow account from which settlements of, or judgments in, covered litigation will be payable. The plan also includes a loss sharing agreement in which Visa U.S.A. members that are parties to the agreement are responsible for covered litigation in proportion to the member’s ownership percentage, as calculated in accordance with Visa U.S.A.’s certificate of incorporation. This plan includes multi-step mechanisms to fund financial obligations of Visa U.S.A. and Visa International related to certain litigation, including the American Express litigation covered by this settlement agreement. See “Business—Retrospective Responsibility Plan.”

Visa U.S.A. has an uncommitted credit facility with Visa International whereby Visa U.S.A. or Visa International may provide each other short-term financing with a maximum term of five business days. Neither Visa U.S.A. nor Visa International has the obligation to lend to or to borrow from the other company. There were no outstanding balances at September 30, 2007 or September 30, 2006 under this arrangement.

In July 2006, Visa U.S.A.’s board of directors approved a plan to build a new data center on the east coast of the United States at an estimated cost of $397 million, which Visa U.S.A. plans to fund with its existing liquid assets and projected cash flows. Visa U.S.A. completed the land purchase and began construction in fiscal 2007; construction is expected to continue through fiscal 2010. Upon completion, Visa U.S.A. will migrate its current east coast data center to this new facility. Visa U.S.A. assesses the estimated cost to build the new data center on a regular basis and the corresponding liquidity required during each stage of the building process. In March 2007, Visa U.S.A. executed two performance bond agreements with the county in which the east coast data center will be constructed to provide assurance that land development and construction will be completed as planned. The bonds have a total value of $2 million and become due in the event that land development and construction are not completed as planned. At September 30, 2007, Visa U.S.A. had remaining committed obligations of $186 million related to the new data center.

Visa U.S.A. had negative working capital at September 30, 2007, primarily due to the financial statement impact of the American Express litigation. See Note 20—Legal Matters to the Visa U.S.A. fiscal 2007 consolidated financial statements. Visa U.S.A. believes its existing liquid assets and projected cash flows will be sufficient to fund its business operations, working capital requirements, capital expenditures, future strategic developments and other commitments during fiscal 2008. Visa U.S.A. anticipates that future increases in its operating cash flows from new acceptance fees initiated in April 2007 will be offset by obligations assumed in connection with the retirement of two restricted liability programs. See Note 19—Commitments and Contingencies to the Visa U.S.A. fiscal 2007 consolidated financial statements. Visa U.S.A.’s ability to maintain these levels of liquidity could be adversely affected by several factors described under “Risk Factors,” including the adverse outcome of any of the legal or regulatory proceedings to which Visa U.S.A. is a party. As part of Visa Inc., Visa U.S.A. will continue to assess its liquidity position and potential sources of supplemental liquidity in view of its operating performance and other relevant circumstances.

Visa U.S.A. has certain off-balance sheet commitments and contingencies that may have significant future cash requirements. See “Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements and Contractual Obligations” and Note 12—Pension, Postretirement and Other Benefits, Note 14—Debt, Note 19—Commitments and Contingencies and Note 20—Legal Matters to the Visa U.S.A. fiscal 2007 consolidated financial statements.

 

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Cash Flow Data

 

      Fiscal  
      2007     2006     2005  
     (in millions)  

Net cash provided by operating activities

   $ 505     $ 434     $ 481  

Net cash used in investing activities

     (463 )     (263 )     (473 )

Net cash used in financing activities

     (37 )     (36 )     (46 )
                        

Increase (decrease) in cash and cash equivalents

   $ 5     $ 135     $ (38 )
                        

Operating Activities

Net cash provided by operating activities increased $71 million in fiscal 2007 compared to the prior year. The increase primarily reflected the absence of a substantial program payment in connection with Visa U.S.A.’s Visa Check card program in the prior year. See Note 13—Restricted Assets and Liabilities to the Visa U.S.A. fiscal 2007 consolidated financial statements. The increase also reflects higher non-cash accruals for accrued compensation and benefits.

Net cash provided by operating activities decreased $47 million during fiscal 2006, primarily due to payments on litigation matters largely accrued for in fiscal 2005 but settled and paid for in fiscal 2006. In addition, lower levels of accounts payable and accrued liabilities in fiscal 2006 compared to fiscal 2005 contributed to the decrease in cash provided by operating activities. These decreases were offset by increases in the liability position of volume and support incentives and higher net income, adjusted for non-cash items.

Investing Activities

The increase in net cash used in investing activities in fiscal 2007 is primarily driven by facilities and equipment purchases related to the new data center discussed above. In addition, investment securities purchasing activity, net of sales and maturities, was higher during fiscal 2007.

The decrease in net cash used in investing activities in fiscal 2006 from fiscal 2005 primarily reflects fewer funds available for the purchase of investment securities as a result of one-time litigation settlements, including the multi-currency matter.

Financing Activities

Net cash used in financing activities during fiscal 2007, 2006 and 2005 primarily reflects scheduled quarterly payments on Visa U.S.A.’s series A senior secured notes due December 2007 and series B senior secured notes due December 2012. See Note 14 – Debt to the Visa U.S.A. fiscal 2007 consolidated financial statements. Cash requirements remained stable as the outstanding debt decreased during fiscal 2007, 2006 and 2005.

Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements

Under Visa U.S.A.’s bylaws in effect prior to the reorganization, Visa U.S.A. indemnified issuing and acquiring customers for settlement losses suffered by reason of the failure of any other issuing and acquiring customer to honor drafts, travelers cheques, or other instruments processed in accordance with its operating regulations. Visa International is Visa U.S.A.’s settlement agent. Visa U.S.A. partially indemnifies Visa International from losses due to the failure of a member. The term and the amount of the indemnity is not limited. Visa U.S.A. is responsible for losses up to $1.0 million plus .003% of Visa U.S.A.’s payments volume, excluding Interlink, for the year preceding the loss, or approximately $40 million in fiscal 2007. Currently settlement is guaranteed by members through the indemnification provisions in the bylaws of Visa U.S.A. and Visa

 

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International and through separate member agreements with the individual members. Upon the closing of an initial public offering, members will no longer indemnify Visa for settlement obligations other than their own settlement obligations and those of certain other participants in the system sponsored by the member.

In conjunction with Visa U.S.A.’s purchase of Inovant, Inc. from Visa International on January 1, 2003, Visa U.S.A. agreed to indemnify Visa International in the event of future tax liability in connection with an adverse determination by a taxing authority resulting from the sale of stock of Inovant, Inc. The indemnification is effective for 10 years and extends through 30 years or the statute of limitation in the event of a tax extension for the year of the stock repurchase. The maximum probability-weighted liability is considered immaterial and no liability has been accrued for this obligation.

Visa U.S.A. has no special purpose entities or off-balance sheet debt, other than operating leases and purchase order commitments entered into in the ordinary course of business and reflected in the contractual obligations table below.

Contractual Obligations

Visa U.S.A.’s contractual commitments will have an impact on its future liquidity. The contractual obligations identified in the table below include both on-and off-balance sheet transactions that represent material expected or contractually committed future obligations at the end of fiscal 2007. Visa U.S.A. believes that it will be able to fund these obligations through cash generated from operations and its existing cash balances.

 

Payments due by period

   Less than
1 Year
   1-3
Years
   3-5
Years
   More than
5 Years
   Total
     (in millions)

Purchase orders(1)

   $ 529    $ 37    $ 8    $    $ 574

Operating leases(2)

     9      15      6           30

Equipment and licenses(2)

     22      24      1           47

Capital leases(3)

     4                     4

Volume and support incentives(4):

              

Financial institutions

     459      887      578      347      2,271

Merchant

     288      499      463      274      1,524

Sponsorships(5)

     18      24      3           45

Litigation payments(6)

     1,566      980      750           3,296

Debt(7)

     42                     42
                                  

Total

   $ 2,937    $ 2,466    $ 1,809    $ 621    $ 7,833
                                  

(1) Purchase obligations include 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) Visa U.S.A. leases certain premises such as its data centers, certain regional offices and equipment under non-cancelable operating leases with varying expiration dates.
(3) Visa U.S.A. entered into a capital lease for certain computer equipment in fiscal 2005. Visa U.S.A. is financing the acquisition of the underlying assets through the leases and accordingly they are recorded on Visa U.S.A.’s consolidated financial statements.
(4) Visa U.S.A. generally has non-cancelable agreements with financial institutions and merchants for various programs designed to build payments volume and increase payment product acceptance. These agreements, which range in term from one to 13 years, provide card issuance, marketing and program support based on specific performance requirements.
(5) Visa U.S.A. is a party to long-term contractual sponsorship agreements ranging from approximately 3 to 6 years. These contracts are designed to help Visa U.S.A. increase Visa-branded card usage and payments volumes. Over the life of these contracts, Visa U.S.A. is required to make payments in exchange for certain advertising and promotional rights. In connection with these contractual commitments, Visa U.S.A. has an obligation to spend certain minimum amounts for advertising and marketing promotion over the contract terms. Visa U.S.A.’s maximum advertising and marketing commitment through June 2013 is $85.9 million.
(6) Represents amounts due in accordance with settlement agreements in the Retailers’ Litigation, American Express Litigation and other litigation settlements.
(7) Represents payments on Visa U.S.A.’s series A and series B senior secured notes.

 

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See Note 14—Debt, Note 19—Commitments and Contingencies and Note 20—Legal Matters to the Visa U.S.A. fiscal 2007 consolidated financial statements.

Visa U.S.A. also has obligations with respect to its pension and postretirement benefit plans, and other incentive plans. See Note 12—Pension, Postretirement and Other Benefits to the Visa U.S.A. fiscal 2007 consolidated financial statements.

Related Parties

Prior to the closing of the reorganization during October 2007, Visa U.S.A. conducted business as a non-stock, non-assessable membership corporation. The principal members of Visa U.S.A. were approximately 1,600 financial institutions that participated directly in Visa U.S.A.’s payment programs. In addition, there were approximately 11,700 associate and participant members that participated in Visa U.S.A.’s payment programs through one or more principal members.

At September 30, 2007, Visa U.S.A.’s board of directors was comprised of ex-officio directors, individuals who were also officers of various member financial institutions that are also Visa U.S.A.’s customers and independent directors. Visa U.S.A. generated total operating revenues of approximately $903 million, $808 million and $884 million from financial institutions with officers that also served on its board of directors in fiscal 2007, 2006 and 2005, respectively. During fiscal 2007, 2006 and 2005, a significant portion of Visa U.S.A.’s operating revenues were generated from one customer with an officer that also served on the board of directors. Operating revenues from this customer were $454 million or 13%, $408 million or 14%, and $345 million or 13% of Visa U.S.A.’s total operating revenues in fiscal 2007, 2006 and 2005, respectively. Additionally, operating revenues generated from a customer which did not have an officer on the board were $384 million, or 11% in fiscal 2007. No other customer accounted for 10% or more of Visa U.S.A.’s total operating revenues in fiscal 2007, 2006 and 2005. See Note 18—Related Parties to the Visa U.S.A. fiscal 2007 consolidated financial statements. The loss of these customers could adversely impact Visa U.S.A.’s operating revenues and operating income.

Critical Accounting Estimates

Visa U.S.A.’s consolidated financial statements have been prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America. The preparation of these consolidated financial statements requires management to make judgments, assumptions and estimates that affect the amounts reported. Note 2—Significant Accounting Policies to the Visa U.S.A. fiscal 2007 consolidated financial statements describes the significant accounting policies and methods used in the preparation of Visa U.S.A.’s consolidated financial statements. Visa U.S.A. has established policies and control procedures to seek to ensure that estimates and assumptions are appropriately governed and applied consistently from period to period. The following is a brief description of Visa U.S.A.’s current accounting policies involving significant management judgment.

 

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Management believes that the following accounting estimates are the most critical to fully understand and evaluate Visa U.S.A.’s reported financial results, as they require management’s most subjective or complex judgments, resulting from the need to make estimates about the effect of matters that are inherently uncertain.

 

Critical Estimates

  

Assumptions and Judgment

  

Impact if Actual Results

Differ from Assumptions

Revenue Recognition      
Visa U.S.A. enters into incentive agreements with financial institution customers, merchants and other business partners to build payments volume and increase product acceptance. Certain volume and support incentives are based on performance targets and are accrued based upon estimates of future performance. Other incentives are fixed payments and are deferred and amortized over the period of benefit.    Volume and support incentives require significant management estimates. Estimation of volume and support incentives relies on forecasts of payments volume, estimates of card issuance and conversion. Performance is estimated by using financial institution customer reported information, transactional information accumulated from our systems, historical information and discussions with Visa U.S.A.’s customers.    If the customers’ actual performance is not consistent with Visa U.S.A.’s estimates, revenue discounts and incentives which are recorded as a reduction of revenue, including volume and support incentives, may be materially different than initially recorded. For fiscal 2007, performance adjustments to Visa U.S.A.’s volume and support accruals increased operating revenues by 2.0% due to slower growth in payments volume by Visa U.S.A. customers. For fiscal 2006 and 2005, performance adjustments increased operating revenues by 1.2% and 0.2%, respectively.
Pension      

Pension assumptions are significant inputs to actuarial models that measure pension benefit obligations and related effects on operations. Two critical assumptions—discount rate and expected return on assets—are important elements of plan expense and asset/liability measurements. These critical assumptions are evaluated at least annually on a plan basis. Other assumptions involving demographic factors such as retirement age, mortality and turnover are evaluated periodically and are updated to reflect actual experience and expectations for the future. Actual results in any given year will often differ from actuarial assumptions because of economic and other factors, and in accordance with U.S. GAAP, the impact of these differences are accumulated and amortized over future periods.

 

Visa U.S.A.’s discount rate is based

  

To reflect market interest rate conditions in calculating the projected benefit obligation, the pension discount rate was decreased from 6.2% at June 30, 2006 to 6.0% at September 30, 2007.

 

An expected rate of return of 7.5% was utilized at both June 30, 2007 and 2006.

  

A 25 basis point decrease or increase in the discount rate would increase or decrease annual pension expense, respectively, by $4.3 million.

 

A 25 basis point decrease or increase in the expected return on assets would increase or decrease annual pension expense, respectively, by $1.2 million.

 

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Critical Estimates

  

Assumptions and Judgment

  

Impact if Actual Results

Differ from Assumptions

on matching the duration of corporate bond pools to the expected pension payment stream. The discount rate enables Visa U.S.A. to calculate the present value of the expected future cash flows on the measurement date. A lower discount rate increases the present value of benefit obligations and increases pension expense.

 

The expected rate of return on plan assets is based on current and expected asset allocation, as well as the long-term historical risks and returns associated with each asset class within the plan portfolio. A lower expected rate of return on plan assets increases pension cost.

     
Legal Matters      

Visa U.S.A. is a party to legal proceedings with respect to a variety of matters, the outcomes of which are not within our complete control or may not be known for prolonged periods of time. Except as described in Note 20—Legal Matters to the Visa U.S.A. fiscal 2007 consolidated financial statements, Visa U.S.A. does not believe that any legal proceeding to which Visa U.S.A. is a party would have a material adverse impact on Visa U.S.A.’s business.

 

Management is required to assess the probability of loss and amount of such loss, if any, in preparing our financial statements.

   Visa U.S.A. evaluates the likelihood of a potential loss from any claim or legal proceedings to which Visa U.S.A. is party in accordance with SFAS No. 5, “Accounting for Contingencies” (SFAS 5). Visa U.S.A. records a liability in its consolidated financial statements for claims and legal and regulatory proceedings when a loss is known or considered probable and the amount can be reasonably estimated. In most cases, significant judgment is required in both the determination of probability and the determination as to whether an exposure is reasonably estimable. Visa U.S.A.’s judgments are subjective based on the status of the legal or regulatory proceedings, the merits of Visa U.S.A.’s defenses and consultation with in-house and outside legal counsel.    Due to the inherent uncertainties of the legal and regulatory process in the multiple jurisdictions in which Visa U.S.A. operates, its judgments may be materially different than the actual outcomes, which could have material adverse affects on Visa U.S.A.’s business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

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Critical Estimates

  

Assumptions and Judgment

  

Impact if Actual Results

Differ from Assumptions

Credit and Debit Settlement Guarantee      

Subject to Visa U.S.A.’s bylaws and operating regulations, Visa U.S.A. indemnifies issuing and acquiring members for settlement losses suffered by reason of the failure of any other member to honor credit and debit drafts, travelers cheques, or other instruments processed in accordance with Visa U.S.A.’s operating regulations. The fair value of the associated settlement risk guarantee is based on estimates.

 

Note 19—Commitments and Contingencies to the Visa U.S.A. fiscal 2007 consolidated financial statements describes the methodology Visa U.S.A. uses to estimate Visa U.S.A.’s liability for this guarantee.

  

Management estimates on a quarterly basis the value of the guarantee by applying the following formula:

 

Settlement Risk Guarantee = Total Exposure multiplied by Failure Probability multiplied by Loss upon Failure

 

Total exposure represents the average number of days to settle multiplied by the average daily transaction volume. Failure probability represents the probability of failure by individual financial institution customers based on assessed credit ratings. Loss upon failure represents the actual loss expected to be incurred in the event that a financial institution fails. For fiscal 2007, management’s internal estimates used in the above calculation were:

 

Total Exposure = $14.8 billion Weighted Average Failure Probability = 0.006% Loss upon Failure = 45%

 

The most critical assumption in estimating the settlement risk guarantee liability is the weighted average failure probability. Visa U.S.A. establishes this estimate by using actual loss history for the previous ten-year period and third party ratings of creditworthiness for Visa U.S.A. members.

 

  

Visa U.S.A.’s estimate of total exposure changes period to period as a result of movement in overall volume of settlement transactions. Visa U.S.A.’s estimate of the weighted average failure probability changes as a result of changes in its assessment of the creditworthiness of Visa U.S.A. financial institution customers. Visa U.S.A.’s estimate of loss upon failure changes based on the U.S. bank standard for losses on commercial lending.

 

A 25% increase in any of the assumptions used in the calculation of the settlement risk guarantee will have an immaterial impact on the liability recorded. However, if Visa U.S.A. experiences a significant increase in loss occurrences or significant actual losses occur in the future under this guarantee the impact to the estimated loss upon failure assumption could result in an increase to the obligation under the settlement risk guarantee that could be material to the consolidated financial statements. If the weighted average failure probability doubled, Visa U.S.A.’s estimated liability would increase by less than $1 million at September 30, 2007.

 

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Critical Estimates

  

Assumptions and Judgment

  

Impact if Actual Results

Differ from Assumptions

Income Taxes      
In calculating its effective tax rate Visa U.S.A. makes judgments regarding certain tax positions, including the timing and amount of deductions and allocations of income among various tax jurisdictions.   

Visa U.S.A. has 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.

 

Visa U.S.A. has procedures 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 partially be sustained, upon examination by the relevant taxing authorities.

   Although Visa U.S.A. believes that its 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 Visa U.S.A.’s tax benefit of $778 million associated with the settlement of the American Express litigation and the recognition of a liability under the guidelines of SFAS No. 5 related to the Discover litigation and other matters. 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.

Seasonality

Visa U.S.A. does not experience a pronounced seasonality in its business. No individual quarter of fiscal 2007, fiscal 2006 or fiscal 2005 has historically accounted for more than 30% of annual revenue.

Impact of Recent Accounting Pronouncements

In June 2006, the Financial Accounting Standards Board issued FASB Interpretation No. 48, Accounting for Uncertainty in Income Taxes—an interpretation of FASB Statement No. 109 (FIN 48). FIN 48 prescribes a recognition threshold and measurement attribute for the financial statement recognition and measurement of a tax position taken or expected to be taken in a tax return. For the benefits to be recognized, a tax position must be more likely than not to be sustained upon examination by taxing authorities. FIN 48 also provides guidance on derecognition, classification, interest and penalties, accounting in interim periods, disclosure and transition. FIN 48 is effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2006. Visa U.S.A. expects the adoption of FIN 48 on October 1, 2007 will result in an increase to accumulated net income of approximately $6.3 million.

In September 2006, the FASB issued Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 157, “Fair Value Measurements” (SFAS 157), which defines fair value and establishes a framework for measuring fair value in generally accepted accounting principles, and expands disclosure requirements about fair value measurements. SFAS 157 is effective for fiscal years beginning after November 15, 2007. Visa U.S.A. is in the process of determining the effect, if any, of adopting SFAS 157 on its consolidated financial statements.

In September 2006, the FASB issued Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 158, “Employers’ Accounting for Defined Benefit Pension and Other Postretirement Plans (an amendment of FASB Statements No. 87, 88, 106, and 132(R))” (SFAS 158), which amends FASB issued Statement No. 87, “Employers’ Accounting for Pensions” (SFAS 87) and FASB issued Statement No. 106, “Employers Accounting for Postretirement Benefits Other Than Pensions” (SFAS 106) to require recognition of the over-funded or under-funded status of pension and other postretirement benefit plans on the balance sheet. Under SFAS 158,

 

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gains and losses, prior service costs and credits and any remaining transition amounts under SFAS 87 and SFAS 106 that have not yet been recognized through net periodic benefit cost will be recognized in accumulated other comprehensive income, net of tax effects, until they are amortized as a component of net periodic cost. In addition, SFAS 158 requires that the measurement date, the date at which the benefit obligation and plan assets are measured, be the company’s fiscal year end. Visa U.S.A. adopted the recognition provision of SFAS 158 at September 30, 2007.

Visa U.S.A. adopted the measurement date provisions of SFAS 158 at October 1, 2006, using the 15-month approach. Under this approach, Visa U.S.A. recorded an additional 3 months of net periodic benefit cost covering the period between the previous measurement date of June 30, 2006 and September 30, 2006. The benefit expense of $8.7 million, net of tax, was recorded as a reduction to beginning accumulated net (loss) income at October 1, 2006.

The effects to Visa U.S.A. of applying the recognition and measurement-date provision of SFAS 158 on individual line items in Visa U.S.A.’s consolidated balance sheet at September 30, 2007 are as follows:

 

     Prior to
application
of SFAS 158
    SFAS 158
application
adjustments
    After
application
of SFAS 158
 
     (in thousands)  

Current portion of deferred tax assets

   $ 794,925     $ 88     $ 795,013  

Deferred tax assets

     464,286       6,340       470,626  

Total assets

     4,383,689       6,428       4,390,117  

Accrued compensation and benefits

     240,079       4,235       244,314  

Other liabilities

     107,512       17,516       125,028  

Total liabilities

     4,831,083       21,751       4,852,834  

Minority interest

     42,928       (4,318 )     38,610  

Accumulated net loss

     (492,323 )     (8,676 )     (500,999 )

Accumulated other comprehensive income (loss)

     2,001       (2,329 )     (328 )

Total deficit

     (490,322 )     (11,005 )     (501,327 )

Total liabilities, minority interest, and equity

     4,383,689       6,428       4,390,117  

In February 2007, the FASB issued Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 159, “The Fair Value Option for Financial Assets and Financial Liabilities, Including an Amendment to SFAS 115” (SFAS 159). SFAS 159 allows the measurement of many financial instruments and certain other assets and liabilities at fair value on an instrument-by-instrument basis under a fair value option. SFAS 159 is effective for fiscal years that begin after November 15, 2007. Visa U.S.A. is in the process of determining the effect, if any, of adopting SFAS 159 on its consolidated financial statements.

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk

Market risk is the potential loss arising from changes in market rates and market prices. Visa U.S.A. is exposed to two significant market risks that could affect its business including: changes in interest rates and equity prices. Visa U.S.A. does not hold or enter into derivatives or other financial instruments for trading or speculative purposes.

 

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Interest Rate Risk

A significant portion of Visa U.S.A.’s investment portfolio assets is held in fixed-income securities. These assets are reflected as cash equivalents, short-term available-for-sale investments and long-term available-for-sale investments. Visa U.S.A. does not consider its cash and cash equivalents or its auction rate securities to be subject to significant market risks from a fair value perspective, as amounts consist of liquid investments with original maturities or repricing characteristics of three months or less. The fair value balances of Visa U.S.A.’s short-term and long-term available-for-sale investments at September 30, 2007 and September 30, 2006 include:

 

     September 30,  
     2007     2006  
     (in millions, except
percentages)
 

Government-sponsored entities

     1,274       895  

Tax-exempt municipal bonds

     9       249  
                

Total

   $ 1,283     $ 1,144  
                

Percentage of Total Assets

     29 %     39 %

Visa U.S.A. manages its exposure to interest rate risk by investing primarily in rate-adjustable, or short-term securities, and a modest amount of fixed rate government agency securities to support longer term obligations. However, Visa U.S.A.’s efforts do not provide complete assurance that it will be protected from interest rate fluctuations. A sharp rise in interest rates could have a significant impact on the fair value of Visa U.S.A.’s investment portfolio.

A hypothetical 100 basis point increase or decrease in interest rates would impact the fair value of the investment portfolio by approximately $7 million or $2 million, respectively, at September 30, 2007 and approximately $12 million and $6 million, respectively, at September 30, 2006.

Equity Price Risk

Visa U.S.A. owns equity securities which are selected to offset obligations in connection with Visa U.S.A.’s long-term incentive and deferred compensation plans. Equity securities primarily consist of mutual fund investments related to various employee compensation plans. For these plans, employees bear the risk of market fluctuations. Gains and losses experienced on these equity investments are offset by increases or reductions in personnel expense, respectively. The effect of a hypothetical 10% change in market value would have increased or decreased unrealized losses and personnel expense, respectively, by $5 million for fiscal 2007 and fiscal 2006.

 

ITEM 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

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

 

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ITEM 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

INDEX TO CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

 

     Page

VISA INC.

  

At September 30, 2007

  

Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

   100

Balance Sheet

   101

Notes to Balance Sheet

   102

VISA U.S.A. INC.

  

At September 30, 2007 and September 30, 2006 and for the years ended September 30, 2007, 2006 and 2005.

  

Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

   109

Consolidated Balance Sheets

   110

Consolidated Statements of Operations

   111

Consolidated Statements of Changes in Equity (Deficit)

   112

Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Income

   112

Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows

   113

Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements

   114

 

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Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

The Board of Directors

Visa Inc. and Subsidiaries:

We have audited the accompanying balance sheet of Visa Inc. as of September 30, 2007. This financial statement is the responsibility of the Company’s management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on this financial statement based on our audit.

We conducted our audit in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States). Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statement is free of material misstatement. An audit includes examining, on a test basis, evidence supporting the amounts and disclosures in the financial statement, assessing the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall financial statement presentation. We believe that our audit provides a reasonable basis for our opinion.

In our opinion, the balance sheet referred to above presents fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of Visa Inc. as of September 30, 2007 in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles.

 

/s/ KPMG LLP

San Francisco, California

December 19, 2007

 

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Visa Inc.

(a wholly owned subsidiary of Visa International Services Association)

Balance Sheet

At September 30, 2007

(in dollars)

 

     September 30,
2007
 

Assets

  

Total Assets

   $ —    
        

Liabilities and Stockholder’s Equity

  

Total Liabilities

   $ —    
        

Stockholder’s Equity

  

Common stock, $0.0001 par value, 100 shares authorized, issued, and outstanding

     —    

Additional paid-in capital

     2,001  

Stockholder subscription receivable

     (1 )

Accumulated deficit

     (2,000 )
        

Total Stockholder’s Equity

     —    
        

Total Liabilities and Stockholder’s Equity

   $ —    
        

 

See accompanying notes to the balance sheet.

 

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Visa Inc.

(a wholly owned subsidiary of Visa International Services Association)

Notes to Balance Sheet

 

1. Formation and Basis of Presentation

Visa Inc. (the “Company”) was incorporated in Delaware on May 25, 2007 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Visa International Service Association (the “Parent” or “Visa International”). The Company was established to facilitate the proposed reorganization of Visa set forth in the Global Restructuring Agreement dated June 15, 2007, as amended and restated on August 24, 2007 (“GRA”), between Visa U.S.A. Inc. (“Visa U.S.A.”), Visa International, Visa Europe Limited (“Visa Europe”), Visa Canada Inc. (“Visa Canada”) and other Visa affiliates. At September 30, 2007, the Company was a shell entity, and as such, did not have significant operations. Consequently, the Company has omitted the statements of operations, cash flows and stockholders’ equity.

 

2. Summary of Significant Accounting Policies

Subscription receivable – Amounts receivable from Visa International associated with issuance of Visa Inc. stock are accounted for as contra-equity. These amounts are assessed for collectibility by the Company at each balance sheet date.

Organization costs – Costs of incorporation were paid by the Parent. These costs have been pushed down to Visa Inc. as an expense of the Company (which is included in Accumulated Deficit in the accompanying balance sheet) with a corresponding credit to contributed (paid-in) capital in accordance with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Staff Accounting Bulletin Topic 5.T.

 

3. Stockholder’s Equity

At September 30, 2007, there are 100 shares of common stock, par value $0.0001 per share, authorized, issued and outstanding. All shares are held by the Parent.

At September 30, 2007, the Company has a note receivable from the Parent for $1, which is presented as a reduction of stockholder’s equity until it is paid by the Parent.

 

4. Global Restructuring Agreement

On June 15, 2007, the boards of directors of Visa U.S.A., Visa International, Visa Canada and Visa Europe approved the GRA, an agreement that contemplates a series of transactions through which Visa U.S.A., Visa International, Visa Canada and Inovant will become direct or indirect subsidiaries of the Company. The GRA contemplates that Visa Europe will not become a subsidiary of Visa Inc. Visa Europe will enter into a series of contractual relationships that will govern its relationship and will become a stockholder of Visa Inc. To effectuate the reorganization discussed above, the Company anticipates authorizing and issuing several classes of stock to the financial institution members of Visa U.S.A., to eligible financial institution members of Visa International (affiliated with the Visa Asia Pacific (“Visa AP”), Visa Latin America Caribbean (“Visa LAC”) and Visa Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa regions (“Visa CEMEA”), to the shareholders of Visa Canada and to financial institution members of Visa Europe, as follows (in whole numbers):

 

Class or Series

   Par Value    To Be Authorized    To Be Issued
in the Proposed
Reorganization

Preferred stock

   $ 0.0001    25,000,000   

Common stock

        

Class A

   $ 0.0001    2,001,622,245,209   

Class B

   $ 0.0001    622,245,209   

Class C (series I)

   $ 0.0001    813,582,801   

Class C (series II)

   $ 0.0001    38,582,801   

 

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Class or Series

   Par Value    To Be Authorized    To Be Issued
in the Proposed
Reorganization

Class C (series III)

   $ 0.0001    64,000,000   

Class C (series IV)

   $ 0.0001    1,000,000   

Regional classes and series of common stock

        

Class USA

   $ 0.0001    622,245,209    426,390,481

Class EU (series I)

   $ 0.0001    64,000,000    62,213,201

Class EU (series II)

   $ 0.0001    38,582,801    27,904,464

Class EU (series III)

   $ 0.0001    1,000,000    549,587

Class Canada

   $ 0.0001    25,000,000    22,034,685

Class AP

   $ 0.0001    130,000,000    119,100,481

Class LAC

   $ 0.0001    90,000,000    80,137,915

Class CEMEA

   $ 0.0001    42,000,000    36,749,698
            
      2,004,199,484,030    775,080,512
            

In order to reflect relative actual performance, the initial allocation of the Company’s regional classes and series of common stock is subject to subsequent conversion and reallocation, which is referred to as the true-up, based on each participating region’s relative under- or over-achievement of its net revenue targets during a measurement period, consisting of the four-quarter period ending with (and including) the latest quarter for which financial statements are included in a registration statement in connection with an initial public offering of the Company’s class A common stock on the date it is declared effective by the SEC. As a result of the true-up, each of the regional classes and series of common stock will be converted into class C common stock or, in the case of the class USA common stock, class B common stock prior to an initial public offering of the Company’s class A common stock. The shares held by Visa Europe are not subject to true-up.

The stock set forth above is also subject to various redemption and conversion provisions, all of which are contingent upon an initial public offering of the Company, among other things.

Put-Call Option Agreement on Visa Europe Shares

As part of the GRA, the Company agreed to enter into a put-call option agreement with Visa Europe. Under this agreement, the Company will grant Visa Europe a put option under which the Company is obligated to purchase from the members of Visa Europe all of the share capital of Visa Europe at any time following the first anniversary of a successful completion of an initial public offering or 605 days after the closing date of the reorganization, which is May 28, 2009. Upon exercise of the put option, the Company will be required to repurchase the shares of Visa Europe no later than 285 days after such exercise.

Further, under the call option, the Company will be entitled to purchase all of the share capital of Visa Europe from its members at any time following certain triggering dates. A triggering event will occur if: (A) there is a 25% or greater decline in the number of merchants and a 45% or greater decline in the number of automated teller machines in Visa Europe’s region that accept Visa branded products; (B) such rate of decline in each case is at least twice as much as both: (i) the average rate of decline in the number of merchants and ATMs in the Visa Europe region that accept general payment cards and (ii) the average rate of decline in acceptance, if any, in the number of merchants and ATMs outside of Visa Europe’s region that accept Visa branded cards; and (C) Visa Europe has failed to deliver and implement a remediation plan within six months of the occurrence of such events.

The price per share at which both the call and put option are exercisable is calculated using a formula principally based on Visa Europe’s projected financial performance, identified synergies expected to be realized upon combination of the entities and the Company’s price-to-earnings ratio.

 

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On the date of the reorganization, the fair value of the put option is required to be recorded as a long-term liability in the Company’s financial statements. Thereafter, this liability will be carried at fair value with changes in fair value included in the statement of operations similar to the treatment required by SFAS No. 133 “Accounting for Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activities” and reclassified as a short-term liability when it becomes exercisable within one year.

 

5. Subsequent Events

 

  (i) October 2007 Reorganization

In October 2007, the Company completed the series of transactions under the GRA, as detailed in Note 4, Global Restructuring Agreement, in which Visa U.S.A., Visa International, Visa Canada and Inovant became direct or indirect subsidiaries of Visa Inc. Visa Europe did not become a subsidiary of Visa Inc., but rather remained owned and governed by its European member financial institutions and entered into a set of contractual arrangements with the Company in connection with the reorganization.

The reorganization was accounted for using the purchase method of accounting under the guidelines of Statement of Financial Accounting Standards (“SFAS”) No. 141 “Business Combinations” with Visa U.S.A. deemed to be the accounting acquirer of Visa Canada and the remaining ownership interest in Visa International and Inovant not previously held (the “acquired interests”). The net assets underlying the acquired interests were recorded at fair value at the reorganization date with the excess purchase price over this value attributed to goodwill.

In the reorganization, the Company issued different classes and series of common stock reflecting the different rights and obligations of Visa financial institution members and Visa Europe based on the geographic region in which they are located. In addition to the common stock, the Company provided other consideration to Visa Europe in exchange for its ownership interest in Visa International and Inovant.

The Company believes that the reorganization will allow it to more effectively respond to industry dynamics and enhance the Company’s ability to compete.

At the time of the reorganization, the allocation of the Company’s common stock to each of Visa AP, Visa CEMEA, Visa LAC, and Visa Canada (collectively the “acquired regions”) and Visa U.S.A. (collectively the “participating regions”) was based on each entity’s relative contribution to the Company’s projected net income estimated for fiscal 2008, after giving effect to negotiated adjustments. The allocation of Company common stock and other consideration conveyed to Visa Europe in exchange for its membership interest in Visa International and its ownership interest in Inovant was determined based on the fair value of each element exchanged in the reorganization.

Purchase Consideration

Total purchase consideration of approximately $17.3 billion was exchanged for the acquired interests. The consideration was comprised of the following:

 

     (in millions)

Visa Inc. common stock

   $ 16,785

Visa Europe put option

     346

Liability under framework agreement

     132
      

Total Purchase Consideration

   $ 17,263
      

Visa Inc. Common Stock Issued in Exchange for the Acquired Regions

The value of the purchase consideration conveyed to each of the member groups of the acquired regions was determined by valuing the underlying businesses contributed by each, after giving effect to negotiated

 

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adjustments. The value of the purchase consideration, consisting of all outstanding shares of class Canada, class AP, class LAC, and class CEMEA common stock, was measured at June 15, 2007, (the “measurement date”) the date at which all parties entered into the reorganization agreement, and was determined to have a fair value of approximately $12.6 billion. The Company utilized two valuation methodologies to calculate the value of the contributed businesses, an analysis of comparable companies and a discounted cash flow analysis. Under the comparable company analysis, the Company evaluated publicly traded companies with similar industry, business model and financial profiles. The most comparable company identified and, therefore, the most significant input into this analysis was MasterCard. Under the discounted cash flow analysis, the Company applied discount rates and terminal values to the projected cash flows of the acquired regions.

Visa Inc. Common Stock Issued to Visa Europe

Visa Europe remained a separate entity owned and governed by its European member banks. Under the terms of the reorganization, Visa Europe exchanged its membership interest in Visa International and ownership in Inovant for a put-call option agreement and a framework agreement (as described below) and the following consideration:

 

   

An 8.1% ownership interest in the form of all outstanding class EU (series I) and class EU (series III) common stock. The Company determined the fair value of this stock to be approximately $3.1 billion at the measurement date based on its relative value when compared to the value of the purchase consideration provided to the acquired regions in exchange for their historical membership interest in Visa International and ownership interest in Visa Canada.

 

   

A 3.6% ownership interest in the form of all outstanding class EU (series II) common stock. This stock is redeemable by Visa Inc. at any time after the later of an initial public offering or October 10, 2008 at a price of $1.146 billion adjusted for dividends and certain other adjustments. Visa Europe also has the option to require the Company to redeem the class C (series II) common stock at any time after the later of the consummation of an initial public offering or December 4, 2008. The Company determined the fair value of this stock to be approximately $1.104 billion at the reorganization date by discounting the redemption price using a risk-free rate based on the probability and timing of the successful completion of an initial public offering as this event will trigger the redemption feature of this stock.

Visa Europe Put-Call Option Agreement

As discussed in Note 4, Global Restructuring Agreement, Visa Inc. entered into a put-call option agreement with Visa Europe. At the date of reorganization, the fair value of the put option was approximately $346 million, which was recorded in other liabilities on the consolidated balance sheet. The Company determined that the call option has nominal value at the reorganization date as the conditions under which the call is exercisable are deemed remote.

Liability Under Framework Agreement

The relationship between the Company and Visa Europe subsequent to the reorganization is governed by a framework agreement, which provides for trademark and technology licenses and bilateral services.

Under the trademark and technology license agreement, Visa Inc., Visa U.S.A., Visa International and Inovant, as licensors, granted Visa Europe exclusive, irrevocable and perpetual licenses to use the Visa trademarks and technology intellectual property owned by the licensors and certain affiliates within the Visa Europe region for use in the field of financial services, payments, related information technology and information processing services and participation in the Visa system.

The Company determined that the base license fee, as adjusted in future periods based on the growth of the gross domestic product of the European Union, approximated fair value. The Company made this determination through an analysis of the fee rates implied by the economics of the licenses. However, due to the first and second fee reduction components described below, for financial accounting purposes, the trademark and technology licenses represented a contract that was below fair value.

 

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From October 1, 2007 through November 8, 2007, the fee for the licenses was payable at a rate of $6 million per quarter. Thereafter, from November 9, 2007, the date the Company filed a registration statement with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission in connection with an initial public offering of the Company’s class A common stock, the base license fee will be payable quarterly at an annual rate of $143 million, and beginning November 9, 2010, this base license fee will increase annually based on the growth of the gross domestic product of the European Union.

The base license fee will be reduced by two components during the period ending October 5, 2008. First, during the period from November 9, 2007 until October 5, 2008, the annual rate of the base license fee will be reduced by an amount equal to $1.146 billion multiplied by the three-month LIBOR rate plus 100 to 200 basis points (the “LIBOR rate”). Second, during the period from the closing date of an initial public offering until October 5, 2008, the annual rate of the base license fee will be further reduced by an amount equal to the product of the following variables: (i) Visa Inc.’s initial public offering price per share net of any underwriting discounts and commissions (“net initial public offering price”); (ii) the number of shares of Visa Inc. held by Visa Europe (other than class C (series II) common stock) that would have been redeemed immediately, but for provisions that delay the redemption of shares held by Visa Europe until one year following the date of the reorganization; and (iii) the LIBOR rate.

The Company calculated its liability to provide these licenses at below fair value to be approximately $132 million, based on the Company’s initial filing on November 9, 2007, an assumed offering closing date on March 31, 2008 and the applicable three-month LIBOR rate at September 30, 2007 of 5.23%. The first fee reduction component will reduce the fee payable by $81 million. The second fee reduction component will further reduce the fee payable in the period March 31, 2008 through October 5, 2008 by approximately $51 million. The assumptions used represent management’s best estimate of the future impact of these terms of the framework agreement.

Fair Value of Assets Acquired and Liabilities Assumed

Total purchase consideration has been allocated to the tangible and identifiable intangible assets and liabilities assumed underlying the acquired interests based on their fair values on the date of the reorganization. The excess of purchase consideration over the tangible and identifiable intangible assets and liabilities assumed was recorded as goodwill. The purchase price allocation is subject to the finalization of restructuring costs and the evaluation of certain contingent liabilities.

The following table summarizes the allocation of total purchase consideration to tangible and intangible assets acquired, liabilities assumed and goodwill:

 

     (in millions)  

Tangible assets and liabilities

  

Current assets

   $ 1,733  

Non-current assets

     610  

Property, equipment, and technology, net

     512  

Current liabilities

     (1,194 )

Non-current liabilities

     (4,351 )

Pension and post-retirement benefits

     (45 )

Long-term debt

     (30 )

Intangible assets

  

Tradename

     2,564  

Customer relationships

     6,799  

Visa Europe franchise right

     1,520  

Goodwill

     9,145  
        

Net Assets Acquired

   $ 17,263  
        

 

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The purchased intangibles and goodwill are not deductible for tax purposes. Substantially all of the identifiable intangible assets have an indefinite life and accordingly are not subject to amortization.

Contingent Consideration

As discussed in Note 4, Global Restructuring Agreement, the initial allocation of Visa Inc. common stock is subject to a true-up mechanism in order to reflect the actual relative contribution of the participating regions to the Company’s financial performance, under the terms of reorganization. Under the guidelines of SFAS No. 141 to the extent the ownership interest of the Visa U.S.A. member group in the Company is reduced as a result of the true-up, with a corresponding increase in the collective ownership interest of the other stockholders, additional purchase consideration will be recorded resulting in an increase in goodwill. To the extent that the ownership interest of the Visa U.S.A. member group is increased as a result of the true-up, with a corresponding decrease in the collective ownership interest of the other stockholders, the increase will be treated as a stock dividend to Visa U.S.A. members.

Other Contingencies

The Company has not identified any material unrecorded pre-acquisition contingencies where the related asset, liability or impairment is probable and the amount can be reasonably estimated. Prior to the end of the one-year purchase price allocation period, if information becomes available that would indicate it is probable that such events had occurred and the amounts can be reasonably estimated, such items will be included in the final purchase price allocation and may adjust goodwill.

Pro Forma Results of Operations

The following Visa Inc. pro forma results of operations for fiscal 2007 and 2006 have been prepared to give effect to the reorganization described above assuming it occurred on October 1 of each fiscal year presented.

The pro forma statements of operations are presented for illustrative purposes only and are not necessarily indicative of the results of operations that would have been obtained had these events actually occurred at the beginning of the periods presented, nor do they intend to be a projection of future results of operations. The pro forma results of operations have been prepared from the historical audited consolidated statements of operations for fiscal 2007 and 2006 of Visa U.S.A., Visa International and Visa Canada.

 

     Fiscal
     2007     2006
     (in millions)

Operating revenues

   $ 5,193     $ 3,902

Net (loss) income

   $ (861 )   $ 453

 

  (ii) Settlement Agreement with American Express

The Company, Visa U.S.A. and Visa International entered into an agreement with American Express that became effective on November 9, 2007 to settle previously disclosed litigation, American Express Travel Related Services Co., Inc. v. Visa U.S.A. Inc. et al, that had been pending since 2004. The settlement ends all current litigation between American Express and Visa U.S.A. and Visa International, as well as the related litigation between American Express and the five co-defendant banks.

Under the settlement agreement, American Express will receive maximum payments of $2.25 billion, including up to $2.07 billion from Visa Inc. and $185 million from the five co-defendant banks. An initial payment of $1.13 billion will be made on or before March 31, 2008 including $945 million from the Company and $185 million from the five co-defendant banks. Beginning March 31, 2008, the Company will pay American Express an additional amount up to $70 million each quarter for 16 quarters, for a maximum total of $1.12 billion.

 

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Visa Inc.’s future minimum payments under the settlement agreement are as follows:

 

     (in millions)

Fiscal

  

2008

   $ 1,155

2009

     280

2010

     280

2011

     280

2012

     70
      

Total Future Commitments

   $ 2,065
      

To account for the agreement, Visa U.S.A., which became a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company upon the consummation of the reorganization in October 2007, recorded litigation expense in its fiscal 2007 consolidated financial statements equal to $1.9 billion, the present value of the total payment it expects to make. The settlement will be funded through the Company’s retrospective responsibility plan, which consists of several related mechanisms, including a series of agreements with U.S. financial institutions to fund certain litigation, including the American Express litigation covered by this settlement agreement.

 

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REPORT OF INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM

The Board of Directors

Visa Inc. and Subsidiaries:

We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of Visa U.S.A. Inc. and subsidiaries as of September 30, 2007 and 2006, and the related consolidated statements of operations, changes in equity (deficit), comprehensive income, and cash flows for each of the years in the three-year period ended September 30, 2007. These consolidated financial statements are the responsibility of the Company’s management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on these consolidated financial statements 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 audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement. An audit includes examining, on a test basis, evidence supporting the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. An audit also includes assessing the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall financial statement presentation. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.

In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of Visa U.S.A. Inc. and subsidiaries as of September 30, 2007 and 2006, and the results of their operations and their cash flows for each of the years in the three-year period ended September 30, 2007, in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles.

/s/ KPMG LLP

San Francisco, California

December 19, 2007

 

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VISA U.S.A. INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS

 

     September 30,
2007
    September 30,
2006
 
     (in thousands)  

Assets

    

Cash and cash equivalents

   $ 275,379     $ 270,124  

Investment securities, available-for-sale

     747,080       660,451  

Accounts receivable

     245,215       216,585  

Settlement receivable

     9,501       41,450  

Current portion of volume and support incentives

     96,147       107,593  

Current portion of deferred tax assets

     795,013       149,671  

Prepaid and other current assets

     338,604       148,057  
                

Total current assets

     2,506,939       1,593,931  
                

Investment securities, available-for-sale

     737,498       515,290  

Volume and support incentives

     44,279       43,071  

Investment in Visa International

     226,524       186,353  

Facilities, equipment and software, net

     313,092       280,899  

Deferred tax assets

     470,626       237,533  

Other assets

     91,159       106,841  
                

Total assets

   $ 4,390,117     $ 2,963,918  
                

Liabilities

    

Accounts payable

   $ 98,586     $ 119,075  

Settlement payable

     49,882       88,767  

Accrued compensation and benefits

     244,314       179,557  

Volume and support incentives

     187,693       215,590  

Current portion of member deposits

     3,320       134,070  

Accrued liabilities

     420,739       407,480  

Current portion of long-term debt

     41,280       32,339  

Current portion of accrued litigation

     2,236,275       216,085  
                

Total current liabilities

     3,282,089       1,392,963  
                

Member deposits

     —         3,320  

Other liabilities

     125,028       122,083  

Long-term debt

     —         41,280  

Accrued litigation

     1,445,717       783,618  
                

Total liabilities

     4,852,834       2,343,264  
                

Minority interest

     38,610       37,840  

Commitments and contingencies (Note 19)

    

Equity

    

Accumulated net (loss) income (Note 12)

     (500,999 )     583,772  

Accumulated other comprehensive loss (Note 12)

     (328 )     (958 )
                

Total (deficit) equity

     (501,327 )     582,814  
                

Total liabilities, minority interest and equity

   $ 4,390,117     $ 2,963,918  
                

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

 

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VISA U.S.A. INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

VISA INC. CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS

 

     For the Years Ended September 30,  
     2007     2006     2005  
     (in thousands)  

Operating Revenues

      

Service fees

   $ 1,944,537     $ 1,609,642     $ 1,446,516  

Data processing fees

     1,416,075       1,247,969       1,139,080  

Volume and support incentives

     (504,780 )     (587,751 )     (524,107 )

International transaction fees

     454,168       397,954       360,269  

Other revenues

     279,796       280,312       242,847  
                        

Total operating revenues

     3,589,796       2,948,126       2,664,605  
                        

Operating Expenses

      

Personnel

     721,381       671,093       618,723  

Network, EDP and communications

     366,231       327,593       338,288  

Advertising, marketing and promotion

     580,883       473,945       456,922  

Visa International fees

     172,728       159,264       168,455  

Professional and consulting fees

     334,290       291,235       273,009  

Administrative and other

     210,948       272,448       223,952  

Litigation provision

     2,652,830       22,878       132,334  
                        

Total operating expenses

     5,039,291       2,218,456       2,211,683  
                        

Operating (loss) income

     (1,449,495 )     729,670       452,922  

Other Income (Expense)

      

Equity in earnings of unconsolidated affiliates

     40,276       13,355       30,799  

Interest expense

     (80,658 )     (89,539 )     (108,485 )

Investment income, net

     102,459       68,330       81,009  
                        

Total other income (expense)

     62,077       (7,854 )     3,323  
                        

(Loss) income before income taxes and minority interest

     (1,387,418 )     721,816       456,245  

Income tax (benefit) expense

     (315,993 )     251,338       183,296  
                        

(Loss) income before minority interest

     (1,071,425 )     470,478       272,949  

Minority interest

     (4,670 )     (15,917 )     (8,248 )
                        

(Loss) income before cumulative effect of change in accounting principle

     (1,076,095 )     454,561       264,701  

Cumulative effect of accounting change, net of tax (Note 3)

     —         —         95,744  
                        

Net (loss) income

   $ (1,076,095 )   $ 454,561     $ 360,445  
                        

Pro forma amounts assuming the accounting changes are applied retroactively (Note 3)

   $ —       $ —       $ 264,701  

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

 

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VISA U.S.A. INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CHANGES IN EQUITY (DEFICIT)

 

     Accumulated
Net (Loss)
Income
    Accumulated
Other
Comprehensive
Income (Loss)
    Total (Deficit)
Equity
 
     (in thousands)  

Balance at September 30, 2004

   $ (231,234 )     1,333       (229,901 )

Net income

     360,445         360,445  

Other comprehensive loss, net of tax

       (4,923 )     (4,923 )
            

Comprehensive income

         355,522  
                        

Balance at September 30, 2005

   $ 129,211     $ (3,590 )   $ 125,621  
                        

Net income

     454,561         454,561  

Other comprehensive income, net of tax

       2,632       2,632  
            

Comprehensive income

         457,193  
                        

Balance at September 30, 2006

   $ 583,772     $ (958 )   $ 582,814  
                        

Net loss

     (1,076,095 )       (1,076,095 )

Other comprehensive income, net of tax

       2,959       2,959  
            

Comprehensive loss

         (1,073,136 )

Adjustment to initially apply SFAS 158, net of tax (Note 12)

     (8,676 )     (2,329 )     (11,005 )
                        

Balance at September 30, 2007

   $ (500,999 )   $ (328 )   $ (501,327 )
                        

VISA U.S.A. INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF COMPREHENSIVE INCOME

 

     For the Years Ended September 30,  
     2007     2006     2005  
     (in thousands)  

Net (loss) income

   $ (1,076,095 )   $ 454,561     $ 360,445  

Other comprehensive income (loss) , net of tax:

      

Net unrealized gain (loss) on investment securities, available-for-sale

     8,465       5,589       (366 )

Income tax (expense) benefit

     (3,079 )     (2,018 )     385  

Reclassification adjustment for net gain realized in net income

     (3,816 )     (1,473 )     (7,732 )

Income tax benefit

     1,389       534       2,790  
                        

Other comprehensive income (loss), net of tax

     2,959       2,632       (4,923 )
                        

Comprehensive (loss) income

   $ (1,073,136 )   $ 457,193     $ 355,522  
                        
      

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

 

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VISA U.S.A. INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS

 

     For the Years Ended September 30,  
     2007     2006     2005  
     (in thousands)  

Operating Activities

      

Net (loss) income

   $ (1,076,095 )   $ 454,561     $ 360,445  

Adjustments to reconcile net (loss) income to net cash provided by operating activities:

      

Depreciation and amortization of facilities, equipment and software

     125,505       123,361       118,531  

Amortization of intangibles, investments, debt issuance costs, and accretion of member deposits

     11,135       16,802 <