Visa IPO Docs Reveal Huge Market Share

Last Updated Mar 19, 2008 2:15 PM EDT

One of the side-benefits of a major brand going public is the rare glimpse it can provide into data that might otherwise not be visible. Take Visa, the electronic-payment company that has grown from a credit-card unit of Bank of America into a global financial giant with $5.2 billion in revenue last year.

Visa, which could raise as much as $17.9 billion in the largest U.S. IPO in history, offered a look at the global market for electronic payments. It's a market that not only Visa has the largest share of, but has it by a big margin. Visa handled 59 percent of payments in the most recent year available, compared to 32 percent for its closest rival, Mastercard.

Share of Global Payment Transactions
Citing data from the Nielsen Report, which tracks data in the payments industry, Visa says its market should continue to post double-digit growth for the next several years, although at a slightly slower rate. The compound annual growth rate for global card purchases was 14 percent between 2000 and 2006. Through 2012, that growth will continue at 12 percent CAGR.

That growth is expected to be slower in the United States (8 percent) than in Europe (11 percent), Latin America (14 percent) and Asia Pacific (20 percent). Visa has already extended its reach into these regions, and is likely to see its own growth continue in coming years.

  • Kevin Kelleher

    Kevin Kelleher writes a regular stock column at and is a contributor to Wired, Popular Science, and GigaOm. He has previously worked as a reporter and editor at Bloomberg News, Wired News, and The Industry Standard.