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VISA PROTECTS CARDHOLDERS AGAINST COUNTERFEIT

 SAN FRANCISCO, July 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Visa International has dealt a significant blow to bankcard counterfeiting with a new electronic technology that was fully introduced on a worldwide basis on April 1, 1993. In April and May alone, this technology prevented $3.4 million in counterfeit losses. Visa anticipates further reductions in counterfeit losses of more than $20 million by the year's end.
 "Visa is the first in the industry to have an effective tool in place to fight counterfeiting," said H. Robert Heller, president of Visa U.S.A. "Although Visa cardholders are fully protected against financial losses due to counterfeiting, they deserve the best protection available against the intrusive nature and inconvenience of this crime," he added.
 The new Visa counterfeit protection technology is based on a program called "Card Verification Value" (CVV). The CVV program provides added security to the cardholder by checking the information on the card's magnetic stripe to ensure that it has not been altered. Issuers of Visa cards encode the Card Verification Value an encrypted numeric value, in the card's magnetic stripe. When a cardholder makes a purchase, the point-of-sale terminal reads the CVV code on the magnetic stripe and transmits it to the cardholder's bank where it is verified. So far, more than 230 million Visa cards have been CVV-encoded.
 The CVV program was introduced in the Asia-Pacific region in 1991 and had immediate success in hindering counterfeit card activity. In 1992, CVV protected 60 percent of all transactions in the Asia-Pacific region and prevented nearly $6 million in losses. Although the wave of counterfeit cards has migrated to other regions of the world, such as the United States and Canada, with CVV now in place globally, Visa is confident that it has the means to stem the tide of counterfeit cards.
 To reinforce the impact of CVV, last year Visa launched a global terminal placement program. This program identifies merchants that are particularly susceptible to counterfeit, such as jewelry stores, camera and radio/TV shops, and cash-dispensing outlets. Electronic terminals are then installed to ensure a CVV verification of every Visa card. So far, nearly 10,000 merchants have been equipped with electronic terminals under this program.
 In 1992, Visa member financial institutions suffered $125 million in losses due to counterfeit, representing 0.027 percent of the worldwide card transaction volume. "Visa is committed to employing the most stringent security measures to put counterfeiters out of business," said Heller. "That's why Visa and its member banks will continue to invest in superior systems and technologies," he concluded.
 Visa is the leading consumer payment system in the world with more than 10 million acceptance locations, the largest global ATM network and more than 304 million cards issued, including 149 million in the United States.
 -0- 7/1/93
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: MasterCard has recently delayed the launch of its CVC counterfeit protection program until April 1994./
 /CONTACT: Albert Coscia of Visa U.S.A., 415-570-2039/


CO: Visa U.S.A.; Visa International ST: California IN: FIN SU:

GT -- SF013 -- 7886 07/01/93 15:53 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 1, 1993
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