Visa reviews corporate remit ahead of EU ruling

Visa is staging a review of its UK corporate and B2B account as it braces itself for a decision on a proposed pan-European credit card payment system.

Visa Europe head of agency management Angela Sherratt confirmed the company was reviewing the business, which has been held by Fishburn Hedges since 2001.

The wide-ranging brief involves PR around the rollout of chip and PIN card technology, as well as programmes to combat payment card fraud.

It is also expected to involve upholding Visa's reputation as a responsible lender amid spiralling consumer debt.

But both Visa and MasterCard's European businesses face a defining moment in July when the European Union will decide on a single European payment system for credit cards. The company, whose technology is adopted for the pan-European system, is likely to dominate plastic payments across the Continent.

Market sources estimate that the comms account is worth at least £150,000.

Sherratt said the pitch was part of Visa's procurement policy under which the company's advisers are reviewed every two to three years. FH said it would be taking part in the review, which is understood to be in the early stages.

The successful agency will report to Visa Europe head of corporate communications Fiona Wilkinson.

The review does not affect Burson-Marsteller, which was appointed to handle Visa International's global corporate reputation and sponsorship activity at the beginning of last year (PRWeek, 9 January 2004).

Visa dominates the credit card market in the UK, having issued more than 43 million cards during 2003, compared with MasterCard's 24 million cards.

But MasterCard has been more successful in winning new customers, with 34 per cent growth in 2003, compared with Visa's five per cent increase, according to industry body the Association for Payment Clearing Services.

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