Visa and Nielsen: 75 Percent of Latin American SMBs Consider It Important to Separate Personal and Business Expenses

December 8, 2008 at 12:48 PM EST

50 Percent of Surveyed SMBs Reported Annual Growth. The Study Highlighted the Opportunity to Migrate Towards More Efficient Payment Methods.

MIAMI--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 8, 2008--The second edition of the study "SMB's Perspectives in Latin America" commissioned by Visa Inc. (NYSE:V) and developed by The Nielsen Company, revealed that 50 percent of Latin American micro, small and medium business (SMBs) surveyed reported growth from the previous year. As these companies continue to grow, they increasingly find it relevant to separate business and personal expenses. Visa Business cards are an efficient payment method that provides SMB owners with benefits, including access to credit, which can be a key factor for the segment's growth.

"SMBs constitute a strategic segment for Visa," said Allen Cueli, Senior Business Leader of Commercial Solutions for Visa Latin America and the Caribbean. "Visa delivers a variety of solutions that can help small and medium businesses overcome challenges that were highlighted in the study. We provide a broad portfolio of products, as well as educational tools such as online seminars that contain relevant information that will help manage their costs and grow their business."

The main objective of the study was to obtain an in-depth perspective of how SMBs operate in Latin America, including their payment and financing habits, the challenges and opportunities they face and measuring changes from 2007.

The study also highlighted the following results:

-- Forty percent of SMB owners surveyed reported that they continue to use their personal credit card for business purposes, indicating an opportunity to separate expenses.

-- Approximately 76 percent of SMBs surveyed still pay for their expenses with inefficient payment methods such as cash or checks.

-- Regionally, the majority of SMBs surveyed are registered as individuals and not as legal entities reflecting a key characteristic of this segment: the lack of separation between the owner as an individual and the company, and the tendency to take a personal approach to business matters.

-- According to the study, in the last year, there has been an increased diversification in the types of financing sources that SMBs rely on. Their primary sources of financing identified by respondents are bank loans (54%), followed by credit cards (31%), provider credit (25%) and family and friends (6%).

-- There is a trend towards greater formalization in terms of how surveyed SMBs are registered as well as their purchasing policies. Brazil has the highest level of formally registered companies with 73%, followed by Colombia with 36% and Argentina with 31%.

-- SMBs surveyed are increasingly using technology to conduct business, including the use of cell phones (64%), computers (55%) and the Internet (45%).

Visa offers a portfolio of business solutions specifically designed to meet SMB payment needs as well as to help them expand their businesses. Visa Business Credit, Visa Business Debit, and Visa Business prepaid cards can be strategic allies for SMBs by offering a convenient method of payment, financial flexibility through a credit line, access to a current account, promotions, simplification by the consolidation of payments and a higher level of organization of business expenses.

The opportunity to use modern and efficient methods of payment is a reality for SMBs but especially for small and micro-enterprises. Additionally, it reinforces its commitment to provide SMBs with products and services that will allow them to efficiently manage their finances and ultimately stimulate their growth.

Methodology: The study surveyed a total of 1200 SMBs in five countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Peru) conducted during the months of June to August of 2008 with the primary objective of gaining an in-depth understanding of how SMBs operate, to further comprehend the financial and payment habits they practice, to continue identifying the challenges and opportunities they face from a financial perspective as well as to compare their evolution to the research findings in 2007. This year's study includes additional cities in Mexico and Brazil allowing for a more accurate representation of these markets.

About Visa: Visa operates the world's largest retail electronic payments network providing processing services and payment product platforms. This includes consumer credit, debit, prepaid and commercial payments, which are offered under the Visa, Visa Electron, Interlink and PLUS brands. Visa enjoys unsurpassed acceptance around the world and Visa/PLUS is one of the world's largest global ATM networks, offering cash access in local currency in more than 170 countries. For more information, visit the following sites:

About The Nielsen Company:

The Nielsen Company is a global information and communication company with a leading position in the market and recognized marketing information brands (ACNielsen), media information (Nielsen Media Research), business exposure and publications (Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, Adweek). The private company operates in more than 100 countries, with central offices in Haarlem, the Netherlands, and New York in the U.S. For more information please visit




CONTACT: Visa Inc.
Kari Perez, Latin America and Caribbean Region, +1-305-328-1268
or Burson-Marsteller Gina Carriazo, +1-305-347-4356
Source: Visa Inc.