Visa reports on the impact of Covid-19 on payment volumes

US credit card payment volumes decreased by 7% in March 2020 compared with March 2019, Visa has reported, while cross-border transaction volumes have fallen 19%.


Debit card volumes dropped by 1%, resulting in an overall reduction in Visa’s US payments volume of 4%, the payments network says in a form 8-K regulatory filing.

“As the virus has spread in the last few weeks, the impacts we saw in Asia in February are now occurring in the rest of the world, with a rapid deterioration of cross-border travel-related spending, both card present and card not present,” Visa says.

“As countries have imposed social distancing, shelter-in-place or total lock-down orders, domestic spending, most notably in travel, restaurants, entertainment and fuel, has sharply declined week on week with a meaningful deterioration in volume and transaction trends in the second half of March.”

“In particular, we may experience financial losses due to a number of operational factors,” Visa adds. These include:

  • Merchant, acquirer and issuer failures and credit settlement risk, particularly with respect to the retail, travel and hospitality industries, including airlines, cruise ships, hotels, restaurants and entertainment events
  • Third-party disruptions, including potential outages at network providers, call centres and other suppliers
  • Increased cyber and payment fraud risk related to Covid-19, as cybercriminals attempt to profit from the disruption, given increased online banking, e-commerce and other online activity
  • Challenges to the availability and reliability of our network due to changes to normal operations, including the possibility of one or more clusters of Covid-19 cases occurring at our data centres, affecting our employees, or affecting the systems or employees of our issuers, acquirers or merchants
  • An increased volume of unanticipated client and regulatory requests for information and support, or additional regulatory requirements, which could require additional resources and costs to address, including, for example, government initiatives to reduce or eliminate payments costs.

“These factors may remain prevalent for a significant period of time and may continue to adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition even after the Covid-19 outbreak has subsided,” the payments network warns.

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