Electronic Value Exchange: Origins of the VISA Electronic Payment System (History of Computing)

Electronic Value Exchange: Origins of the VISA Electronic Payment System (History of Computing)

David L. Stearns

Language: English

Pages: 240

ISBN: 1849961387

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Electronic Value Exchange examines in detail the transformation of the VISA electronic payment system from a collection of non-integrated, localized, paper-based bank credit card programs into the cooperative, global, electronic value exchange network it is today.  Topics and features: provides a history of the VISA system from the mid-1960s to the early 1980s; presents a historical narrative based on research gathered from personal documents and interviews with key actors; investigates, for the first time, both the technological and social infrastructures necessary for the VISA system to operate; supplies a detailed case study, highlighting the mutual shaping of technology and social relations, and the influence that earlier information processing practices have on the way firms adopt computers and telecommunications; examines how “gateways” in transactional networks can reinforce or undermine established social boundaries, and reviews the establishment of trust in new payment devices.

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computer systems would also incur significant costs of their own, especially in terms of a new skilled labor force to maintain them. See Noble (1984). 7Mann (2006), p. 11. Note that with the passage of the “Check 21” act in 2003, checks may now be truncated at the bank of deposit and cleared electronically, which should reduce their costs considerably. 8For an early review of these sentiments, see Riday (1968). 9See ‘Federal legislation is introduced to establish electronic fund transfer

himself as its leader and spokesperson. The US members, however, saw it as yet another confirmation that he was pursuing his best interests and not theirs. Signs of empire building were also evident on the technical side, particularly in what became known as the “long-range plan.” Visa’s switch to ACP and IBM hardware for BASE I had given them the necessary capacity to keep up with the growing worldwide volumes, but Hock wanted to expand the telecommunications network across the globe and build

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Human Fabric. MIT Press, Cambridge (1985) Stearns, D.L.: In plastic we trust: dependability and the Visa payment system. http:​/​/​www.​sociology.​ed.​ac.​uk/​finance/​Papers/​StearnsDIRC06.​pdf —visited on 17 August 2010. Paper presented at the DIRCshop Conference, 10–11 April 2006, Newcastle, UK Stigler, G.J.: The division of labor is limited by the extent of the market. Journal of Political Economy 59 (3), 185–193 (1951) Streeter, B.: Let’s stop using EFT jargon, and start offering new

a fixed interchange fee that was consistent and unambiguous. But they were faced with a difficult problem—how should they calculate the rate? Setting a proper rate depended on knowing not only the true costs of interchange transactions, but also the entire economics of the system, neither of which were well understood in 1971. The industry was still very young, and most bankcard programs did not delineate their costs by function, much less by transaction type. Many of the small rural banks barely

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