Visa is a worldwide payments company that provides businesses and customers with debit and credit cards that allow the transfer of funds from their accounts to a third party. Visa Electron cards are a specific type of debit card that, if payment is successful, debits the holder's account for payment immediately. There are limitations with this type of debit card, however, which can cause frustration, particularly with online payments and payments when overseas.
Visa Electron debit cards are designed to be used when the user has suitable funds readily available in their account to cover the cost of their purchase. Accounts affiliated with Electron cards cannot be overdrawn, which will result in the card being rejected at the point of sale should the customer not have suitable funds available. Due to this, these cards can be issued to individuals with little or poor credit history, as no credit in the form of an overdraft is required.
Visa Electron cards are not issued in the United States, Canada, Ireland and Australia; however, it may still be possible to make payments in these countries if the retailer is serviced by the international PLUS network. Since Electron cards are not as popular as Visa Debit cards or credit cards, you may find it more difficult to use these when travelling overseas. This is counterbalanced by the relative ease of withdrawing money from ATMs (automated teller machines) in comparison to Visa Debit cards.
Visa Electron debits cards are not as widely accepted for online payments as their credit card counterparts. This is due to the requirement to have the full amount in funds for making purchases with Electron cards at the point of sale. Some online retailers use payment systems that are unable to verify a customer's funds prior to payment resulting in their inability to process Electron cards, which can cause a sense of frustration for the customer.
The charging structures associated with the use of debit cards are constantly being reviewed, particularly in the U.S. With our increasing dependence on credit, the Visa Electron card is slowly becoming obsolete. Additionally, with the increasing limitations of Electron cards, they are gradually being phased out in favour of the Visa Debit card that has a more up-to-date technical infrastructure to support its continued development in line with the rising popularity of credit.