Visa Completes Update of its Global Payment Network

Thursday 7 October 2004 11:16 CET | News

For millions of U.S. businesses, the prospect of upgrading mission-critical systems can be a long and dreaded process that shuts their machines down for hours. Imagine the task for Visa engineers, who last week updated the largest payment processing system in the world with the most complex set of changes ever.

But even with massive changes to four data centers around the globe, those engineers updated the VisaNet system within a few hours - all without affecting a single transaction made with Visa payment cards that day. Among the changes in this, the largest ever of Visas semi-annual releases: Enhancements to Visas dispute resolution process applying advanced technology that makes the process faster, simpler, and more cost-effective for Member banks, merchants, and ultimately the consumer. Streamlining of currency conversions for transactions between merchants selling in one currency and Member banks that bill cardholders in another currency. This global systems change will modernize and enhance the way Visa provides currency conversion rates to its Member financial institutions. Enhancements to Visa Extras loyalty points program and a new consumer credit rewards program. Changes Tailored to the Needs of Member Institutions Those and other changes are a direct result of Visas structure as an association made up of the financial institutions that own Visa. Each semi-annual release involves a nine-month process of receiving requests from the Visa Regions round the world and many of the 21,000 members globally for new services and upgrades. Visas Processing group takes these requirements and begins building the corresponding programming code. When the initial version of the upgrade is ready, Visa then makes a test bed available so the IT staffs of members can test their own internal systems changes against it. A QA phase, lasting six to eight weeks, allows for fine-tuning before the update goes into production. Upgrades Part of Continuous Cycle at Visa Even as the October 2004 upgrade was being implemented, Visa was already working on the planning and programming stages of two other releases, slated for April and October 2005. The complete system change required resulted in 120,000 changed lines of code and the installation of 27 new or enhanced applications. Some 300 engineers in Visas development centers, as well as operations staff in the data centers around the world, worked through the 24-hours beginning at 16:00 GMT on October 1 to install the upgrade. During that time, the new code was installed in each of Visas four data centers in Asia, Europe, and North America. Those changes were made to a payment network that today handles more than 100 million transactions each day around the globe and is expected to process as many as 6,200 messages per second during the peak of the upcoming holiday shopping season. Visa payment cards - credit, debit, pre-paid, and commercial - now account for well over $2.5 trillion in transaction value globally each year, and have been growing by 20% year-over-year.

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Categories: Payments & Commerce | Payments General
Countries: World
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