Visa Customer EngagementVisa CEO Charlie Scharf offered some interesting insights during his company’s Jan. 28 fiscal first-quarter conference call regarding the growth of ecommerce versus in-store sales. During the recent holiday season, customer engagement via ecommerce seems to have the upper hand right now, Scharf said.

“Now a couple of words about the U.S. holiday season,” Scharf said, according to Seeking Alpha. “Overall consumer spending by our Visa cardholders during the season Visa Customer Engagementwas similar to last year, but spending patterns are changing. Ecommerce continues to grow at a much higher rate than the spending at physical stores. We saw mid-teens ecommerce growth during the holiday period versus mid-single digits growth in the physical world. More than 25% of all spending on Visa cards during November and December was online, up from less than 20% just three years ago.”

What’s more, Scharf noted that the pattern of spending during the holidays has changed.

“While Black Friday and Cyber Monday remain important shopping days, less spending is consolidated on these two days than in recent years, and more people delayed their spending to later in the season this year,” he said.

Scharf was pleased with the company’s first-quarter performance, “given the ongoing macroeconomic headwinds.”

Operating revenue grew 5%.

“In the United States, we expanded our relationship with Fidelity and U.S. bank where we are now the exclusive payment network for their co-brand card,” Scharf said.

Card members can earn cash back with the Fidelity rewards Visa Signature Card and Fidelity Investments 529 College Rewards Visa Signature Card. The new cards in the program will be issued with chip technology for security and give access to the payment industry’s leading digital wallets, including Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay.

Visa and Walmart announced an acceptance agreement with Sam’s Club. Starting Feb. 1, more than 650 Sam’s Clubs across the U.S. and in Puerto Rico will begin accepting Visa credit cards in store. and will also begin supporting Visa Checkout (Visa’s proprietary online platform) this year.

“We continued to be encouraged by the growth that we see since it (Visa Checkout) was launched 18 months ago,” Scharf said. “We have more than 10 million registered users in 16 countries and over 600 financial institution partners participating globally. More than 250,000 merchants, including some of our largest global retailers, have signed on to accept Visa Checkout, representing $100 billion in addressable volume.”

Starbucks, Walgreens, NFL Shop, HSN, and Match are among the new merchants taking advantage of Visa Checkout’s ability to deliver seamless digital payments.

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