Visa can trace its roots back to 1958, when the Bank of America launched BankAmericard, the first consumer credit card program available to middle-class consumers and small- to medium-sized merchants in the United States. It didn't take long for the company to grow; the company expanded internationally in 1974, followed quickly by the introduction of the debit card in 1975.
Two changes took place in the 1970s that defined our organization and reshaped an entire industry. First, BankAmericard became an independent entity that was eventually united under a common global brand — Visa. Second, Visa launched VisaNet, the world's first truly electronic authorization, clearing and settlement system, which enabled transactions to be completed in seconds.
These two milestones brought scale, security, reliability, and ubiquity to what was a fragile and fragmented business.