Visa Debit

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The old Visa and Delta logos.
The current Visa Debit logo
The current Visa Debit logo

Visa Debit is a major debit card issued by Visa in the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland and other nations of the European Union.[1] Prior to October 2004, the debit card was known as Visa Delta. Since June 2009, the major banks in the UK have begun issuing Visa Debit. Barclays, Bank of Scotland/Halifax, Lloyds TSB, and Santander have already issued the card. HSBC, RBS (including NatWest and Ulster Bank) are currently in the process of migrating to the card from the Maestro debit card.

The scheme is also used by many smaller banks and building societies (some of whom had also previously been Switch issuers) including the Co-operative Bank, First Trust Bank, Alliance & Leicester, Northern Rock, Reliance Bank, Nationwide and Coventry Building Society. In October 2010, CIBC became the first bank in Canada to offer a Visa-branded debit card (the CIBC Advantage Card).


[edit] Card designs

The obverse and reverse of the cards are similar to a Visa credit card, including the “VISA” logotype and the dove hologram.

[edit] Previous designs

From the phase-out of the Visa Delta branding until 2006, cards displayed the VISA tricolour flag trademark, with the addition of the words "DEBIT" or "DEBIT CARD". On the back, cards issued before October 2004 display the Delta logo, and usually also a cheque guarantee logo.

[edit] 2006 redesign

In 2006, card issuers began removing the Visa trademark "flag" logo from all their cards, websites and retailers' windows. The flag had originated as the branding for the BankAmericard credit card programme, the forerunner of Visa Inc. that included the UK's Barclaycard and French Carte Bleue.

For all Delta cards, the new logo was a white background with the name “VISA” in blue with an orange flick on the 'V' (illustrated). This is immediately followed by the word "Debit". This signalled a definite end of "Visa Delta" in those countries that used it.

The new logotype was also applied to other VISA operations, including credit cards and the VISA Electron electronic debit card.

[edit] System

The card can be used just like a Visa credit card both internationally and in the UK. Retailers in some countries can however accept the card as a debit card rather than a normal Visa card. In this case, the store is not charged a percentage, but rather a small fixed charge of around £0.50 per transaction. All transactions are in any case processed through the Visa clearing system, using the same card number, distinguishing it from other national debit card schemes which can be combined with Visa on a credit card. Customers might be charged a fee by their bank, for example, when buying foreign currency in the UK (up to 2%).[2][3]

However because of an issue between the co op and visa, Visa Debit cards starting 4508 75 are still recognised as Visa Electron by retailers. Therefore if the retailer does not accept Visa Electron they will not accept Visa Debit.[4]

[edit] Market competition

The competitors to Visa Debit in the UK debit card market are Maestro and Debit MasterCard debit cards. Maestro is issued by Yorkshire Bank and Clydesdale Bank. Yorkshire Bank and Clydesdale Bank have also begun to issue Debit MasterCard.[5][6]

In the Republic of Ireland, currently only Ulster Bank and Permanent tsb offer Visa Debit cards, whereas most other banks issue Laser or Maestro cards (often co-branded). Bank of Ireland and Allied Irish Bank are due to commence the Visa Debit card service in replacement to the unpopular Laser cards due to their lack of international and online usage.

Visa and MasterCard debit cards are more widely accepted in the UK and internationally than Maestro, as both use either the Visa or MasterCard clearing systems for card payments. (LINK is used for domestic UK Debit Card ATM transactions).

[edit] History

Visa Delta (then branded "Connect" by Barclays) was the first debit card in the UK, being introduced by Barclays in June 1987 shortly before NatWest released their "Switch" card in October 1988.[7]

[edit] References

  1. ^
  2. ^ "Buy foreign currency on a Visa debit card and your pockets will be travelling light". The Independent (London). 2003-10-05. Retrieved 2010-05-27. 
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Yorkshire Bank, 
  6. ^ Clydesdale Bank, 
  7. ^
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