SAN FRANCISCO, Apr 24, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) --The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) today released the results of the
2011 Government E-Payments Adoption Ranking (GEAR) study, commissioned
by Visa Inc. (NYSE:V). The GEAR study measures the extent to which
governments in 62 countries provide e-payment services and the
underlying factors that affect government e-payments adoption. It builds
on an initial study conducted in 2007 with new findings that highlight
the diversity of government e-payment systems already in place, as well
as the abundant opportunities available to governments for improving
"Digital currency delivers essential benefits for governments, enabling
them to increase efficiencies, promote financial inclusion and drive
economic growth," said Joseph W. Saunders, chief executive officer for
Visa Inc. "Today, Visa has more than 5,000 government programs in 47
countries. Results from this study highlight how governments use
e-payments today - and how we can partner with clients to deliver
products and services that address challenges governments may face."
The EIU defines e-payments in the study as the exchange or transfer of
funds over an electronic platform. They can be made by various means
such as payment card, direct deposit, direct debit, electronic funds
transfer, and wire transfer. Some key trends and highlights from the
Income tax, VAT/sales tax payments, social security contributions and
automotive tolls and fines are the most common types of e-payments
offered by governments.
Governments have made great strides in recent years in promoting
electronic payments. For example, some countries offer direct
incentives, such as lower VAT rates when a card is used.
Seventy-six percent of the countries in the study have online
procurement systems with varying capabilities to help governments
streamline purchasing processes with suppliers and businesses.
The provision of some e-payment services has increased since the 2007
study was conducted. Nevertheless, there are still gains to be made,
particularly for obtaining/paying for an ID card, requesting
unemployment, workers' compensation and welfare benefits, and
disbursement of loans to businesses.
Infrastructure plays a significant role in e-payment adoption
Since the 2007 study, there has been a marked improvement in
technological infrastructure such as mobile and broadband. More than
half the countries in the 2011 GEAR study have developed 3G and other
mobile phone technologies, including 4G. The number of mobile phone
subscriptions has soared since 2007, and the diffusion of broadband has
grown swiftly. Government e-payments adoption stands to benefit from
this, given that connectivity - through a variety of devices - is the
primary enabler of such payments. Recognizing that investment in
technological infrastructure can support economic growth, many
developing countries are also investing in Internet infrastructure,
including installing technologies that allow individuals to access the
Internet through mobile devices.
Instilling trust in e-payments needs to be a top priority for
For years, trust has been a key barrier to citizen adoption of
government e-payments. This challenge is slowly being overcome by the
roll-out of new and improved e-payment security systems and government
enforcement mechanisms. More than one-third of the 62 countries in the
2011 GEAR study received the highest possible score for their efforts to
promote e-payment security.
The future of government e-payment adoption will continue to evolve
The GEAR study also looks to the future, noting that as governments work
toward adopting and improving e-payment services, their strategies will
almost undoubtedly reflect each country's unique infrastructure and
social, economic and policy context. No single approach to government
e-payments adoption is universal. The study indicates several themes
will play a role in e-payment adoption, including:
Financial inclusion, particularly in the developing world, is likely
to get a boost from the roll out of mobile banking services. Countries
in Africa and Latin America are expected to see particularly strong
gains in this area.
Mobile payments will likely see a huge uptake in the coming years.
With more than 5 billion mobile phone users worldwide, mobile payments
are likely to boom.
Automating standard services such as tax payments/refunds and social
security contributions will likely be prioritized over other e-payment
E-payment security will remain an important issue to address and
developing proven security measures will be necessary for the uptake
of e-payments to flourish.
Public/private-sector collaboration on e-payment initiatives is likely
to continue as governments try to do more with fewer resources.
According to Lucy Hurst, Associate Director of Custom Research,
Economist Intelligence Unit: "Two key trends the study showed us are
that momentum has continued in the development of e-payments despite all
the potentially derailing factors that could have constrained it, like
the economic downturn and fiscal austerity measures. Secondly, the
overall trend since 2007 is for governments to continue to make
commitments to the development of e-payment platforms. There is
increased ease and efficiency in the way citizens and businesses conduct
transactions with their governments."
For each of the 62 countries, EIU conducted online research for 37
indicators across seven categories: Citizen-to-Government;
Government-to-Citizen; Business-to-Government; Government-to-Business;
Infrastructure; Social and Economic Context; and Policy Context.
Countries included in the study represent approximately 81 percent of
the total world population and an estimated 94 percent of total world
GDP, and vary in terms of economic development and political systems.
For governments wanting to get more out of digital currency, Visa
Government Solutions offers innovative payment solutions in three key
areas: disbursing payments to citizens, making payments to businesses
and receiving payments from citizens and businesses. To learn more,
For more information about the study, visit www.visa.com/gear.
About Visa Inc.
Visa Inc. (NYSE:V) is a global payments technology company that connects
consumers, businesses, financial institutions, and governments in more
than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable digital
currency. Underpinning digital currency is one of the world's most
advanced processing networks--VisaNet--that is capable of handling more
than 20,000 transaction messages a second, with fraud protection for
consumers and guaranteed payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank, and
does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for
consumers. Visa's innovations, however, enable its financial institution
customers to offer consumers more choices: Pay now with debit, ahead of
time with prepaid or later with credit products. For more information,
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) is the business information arm of
The Economist Group, publisher of The Economist. Through a global
network of more than 900 analysts and contributors, the EIU continuously
assesses and forecasts political, economic and business conditions in
more than 200 countries. As the world's leading provider of country
intelligence, the EIU helps executives, governments and institutions by
providing timely, reliable and impartial analysis.
In the 2011 GEAR study, EIU analysts and contributors conducted online
research to test 17 common transactions, including tax payments and
refunds, automotive costs, social welfare benefits, business
registration, and government procurement. They also gathered information
on these countries' payment infrastructure and their social, economic
and policy context.
SOURCE: Visa Inc.
Kate Flannery, +1 415-932-2564