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Visa Completes Annual Stress Test

Friday 23 July 2004 13:16 CET | News

VisaNet has passed a rigorous stress test this week that ensures it can sustain a peak of more than 6,000 transaction messages per second this holiday season.

The test, the largest of its kind, assures member financial institutions, cardholders and merchants that Visa can deliver secure and reliable payments - even during the busiest shopping days of the year. The stress test assumes a 20 percent increase in transaction volume this holiday season, based on Visas global volume projections, increased consumer confidence and the results of a retailer expectations survey conducted by Visa USA in early July. The survey data, gathered from interviews with retail store managers, shows 82 percent of merchants are optimistic about the 2004 holiday shopping season and 72 percent of merchants expect an average increase of 22 percent in holiday sales volume. Visa expects significant growth in the use of Visa debit cards for holiday shopping, in keeping with the explosive growth in debit as a payment method of choice for millions of Americans. The company also expects increased volume among pre-paid cards, such as the Visa gift card. Visas stress test is conducted annually to ensure that Visa is ready to meet the needs of merchants during an important time of year for them. For many merchants, the holiday period represents the single largest volume period annually, and can make or break their year. Visas systems capabilities -- including its direct connections to many large national chain merchants -- play an important role in merchants holiday operations by offering a stable and reliable payment infrastructure. Additionally, Visas investment in processing allows for a greater number of transactions per second, which translates into faster and more convenient checkouts at the merchant point of sale. According to Visas survey, 45 percent believe the percentage of credit and debit transactions will increase during this upcoming holiday shopping period. At the same time, the Consumer Confidence Index rose by eight points in June, reaching its highest level in two years, further fueling the expectation of a significant increase in holiday sales. Visa engineers conducted the annual test on a full model of VisaNet that assumes the model must handle all of Visas expected traffic, without the help of the redundant data centers Visa employs around the world. The test bed was built at an IBM technology lab outside Washington, D.C., which handles the most demanding needs of large computing applications. The stress test is conducted in July to allow time to make any needed modifications to VisaNet before the peak transaction period, which runs from November 17th through December 31st. With the explosive growth in credit and debit payments, the stress test of VisaNet is designed to ensure sufficient capacity levels in a payment system that processes not only Visa debit and credit payments, but also has the ability to stand-in for other processors and banks during peak processing periods. The test system included five high-performance computer systems, 65 Terabytes of disk storage, and 2 Gigabyte router capacity, making it the most complex, high volume payment system tested in a lab environment. Visa engineers fed the system one weeks worth of actual transactions, captured at an earlier time and fed at various rates to the test system. They monitored the systems performance on a large screen in a control room onsite.


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Categories: Payments & Commerce | Payments General
Countries: World
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Payments & Commerce


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