A gift card is a restricted monetary equivalent or scrip that is issued by retailers or banks to be used as an alternative to a non-monetary gift. Highly popular, they rank as the second-most given gift by consumers in the United States (2006) and the most-wanted gift by women, and the third-most wanted by males. Gift cards have become increasingly popular as they relieve the donor of selecting a specific gift. In Canada, $1.8 billion were spent on gift cards and in the UK, it is estimated to reach 3 billion (GBP) for 2009 whereas in the United States, about $80 billion were paid for gift cards in 2006. The recipient of the gift card can use it at his or her discretion within the restrictions set by the issuing agency.
A debit card (also known as a bank card or check card) is a plastic payment card that provides the cardholder electronic access to his or her bank account(s) at a financial institution. Some cards have a stored value with which a payment is made, while most relay a message to the cardholder's bank to withdraw funds from a payer's designated bank account. The card, where accepted, can be used instead of cash when making purchases. In some cases, the primary account number is assigned exclusively for use on the Internet and there is no physical card.
In many countries, the use of debit cards has become so widespread that their volume has overtaken or entirely replaced cheques and, in some instances, cash transactions. The development of debit cards, unlike credit cards and charge cards, has generally been country specific resulting in a number of different systems around the world, which were often incompatible. Since the mid-2000s, a number of initiatives have allowed debit cards issued in one country to be used in other countries and allowed their use for internet and phone purchases.
The payment system is an operational network - governed by laws, rules and standards - that links bank accounts and provides the functionality for monetary exchange using bank deposits. The payment system is the infrastructure (consisting of institutions, instruments, rules, procedures, standards,and technical means) established in effect the transfer of monetary value between parties discharging mutual obligations. Its technical efficiency determines the efficiency with which transaction money is used in the economy, and risk associated with its use.
What makes it a "system" is that it employs cash-substitutes; traditional payment systems are negotiable instruments such as drafts (e.g., checks) and documentary credits such as letter of credits. With the advent of computers and electronic communications a large number of alternative electronic payment systems have emerged. These include debit cards, credit cards, electronic funds transfers, direct credits, direct debits, internet banking and e-commerce payment systems. Some payment systems include credit mechanisms, but that is essentially a different aspect of payment. Payment systems are used in lieu of tendering cash in domestic and international transactions and consist of a major service provided by banks and other financial institutions.
Financial services are the economic services provided by the finance industry, which encompasses a broad range of organizations that manage money, including credit unions, banks, credit card companies, insurance companies, accountancy companies, consumer finance companies, stock brokerages, investment funds and some government sponsored enterprises.
As of 2004, the financial services industry represented 20% of the market capitalization of the S&P 500 in the United States. The U.S. finance industry comprised only 10% of total non-farm business profits in 1947, but it grew to 50% by 2010. Over the same period, finance industry income as a proportion of GDP rose from 2.5% to 7.5%, and the finance industry's proportion of all corporate income rose from 10% to 20%.
Electronic commerce, commonly known as e-commerce or eCommerce, is a type of industry where the buying and selling of products or services is conducted over electronic systems such as the Internet and other computer networks. Electronic commerce draws on technologies such as mobile commerce, electronic funds transfer, supply chain management, Internet marketing, online transaction processing, electronic data interchange (EDI), inventory management systems, and automated data collection systems. Modern electronic commerce typically uses the World Wide Web at least at one point in the transaction's life-cycle, although it may encompass a wider range of technologies such as e-mail, mobile devices, social media, and telephones as well.
Electronic commerce is generally considered to be the sales aspect of e-business. It also consists of the exchange of data to facilitate the financing and payment aspects of business transactions. This is an effective and efficient way of communicating within an organization and one of the most effective and useful ways of conducting business.
Visa Debit is a major brand of debit card issued by Visa in many countries around the world. The cards are issued by numerous large banks, and also used by many smaller banks and building societies.
Visa Inc. (// or /viːsə/) is an American multinational financial services corporation headquartered in Foster City, California, United States. It facilitates electronic funds transfers throughout the world, most commonly through Visa-branded credit cards and debit cards. Visa does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers; rather, Visa provides financial institutions with Visa-branded payment products that they then use to offer credit, debit, prepaid and cash-access programs to their customers. In 2008, according to The Nilson Report, Visa held a 38.3% market share of the credit card marketplace and 60.7% of the debit card marketplace in the United States. In 2009, Visa’s global network (known as VisaNet) processed 62 billion transactions with a total volume of $4.4 trillion.
Visa has operations across Australia, Oceania, Asia-Pacific, North America, Central and South America, the Caribbean, Western Europe, Central and Eastern Europe, Africa and Middle East. Visa Europe is a separate membership entity that is an exclusive licensee of Visa Inc.'s trademarks and technology in the European region, issuing cards such as Visa Debit.
Visa Electron is a debit card available across most of the world, with the exception of Canada, Australia, Ireland and the United States. The card was introduced by Visa in the 1985 and is a sister card to the Visa Debit card. The difference between Visa Electron and Visa Debit is that payments with Visa Electron require that all the funds be available at the time of transfer, i.e., Visa Electron card accounts may not be overdrawn. Visa Debit cards, on the other hand, allow transfers exceeding available funds up to a certain limit. Some online stores and all offline terminals (like on trains and aircraft) do not support Visa Electron because their systems cannot check for the availability of funds.
A merchant account is a type of bank account that allows businesses to accept payments by payment cards, typically debit or credit cards. A merchant account is established under an agreement between an acceptor and a merchant acquiring bank for the settlement of payment card transactions. In some cases a payment processor, independent sales organization (ISO), or member service provider (MSP) is also a party to the merchant agreement. Whether a merchant enters into a merchant agreement directly with an acquiring bank or through an aggregator such as PayPal, the agreement contractually binds the merchant to obey the operating regulations established by the card associations.
In journalism, a human interest story is a feature story that discusses a person or people in an emotional way. It presents people and their problems, concerns, or achievements in a way that brings about interest, sympathy or motivation in the reader or viewer.
Human interest stories may be "the story behind the story" about an event, organization, or otherwise faceless historical happening, such as about the life of an individual soldier during wartime, an interview with a survivor of a natural disaster, a random act of kindness or profile of someone known for a career achievement.
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to serve several billion users worldwide. It is a network of networks that consists of millions of private, public, academic, business, and government networks, of local to global scope, that are linked by a broad array of electronic, wireless and optical networking technologies. The Internet carries an extensive range of information resources and services, such as the inter-linked hypertext documents of the World Wide Web (WWW), the infrastructure to support email, and peer-to-peer networks.
Most traditional communications media including telephone, music, film, and television are being reshaped or redefined by the Internet, giving birth to new services such as voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and Internet Protocol television (IPTV). Newspaper, book and other print publishing are adapting to website technology, or are reshaped into blogging and web feeds. The Internet has enabled and accelerated new forms of human interactions through instant messaging, Internet forums, and social networking. Online shopping has boomed both for major retail outlets and small artisans and traders. Business-to-business and financial services on the Internet affect supply chains across entire industries.
Retail is the sale of something in general.
Retail is the sale of goods and services from individuals or businesses to the end-user. Retailers are part of an integrated system called the supply chain. A retailer purchases goods or products in large quantities from manufacturers directly or through a wholesale, and then sells smaller quantities to the consumer for a profit. Retailing can be done in either fixed locations like stores or markets, door-to-door or by delivery. Retailing includes subordinated services, such as delivery. The term "retailer" is also applied where a service provider services the needs of a large number of individuals, such as for the public. Shops may be on residential streets, streets with few or no houses or in a shopping mall. Shopping streets may be for pedestrians only. Sometimes a shopping street has a partial or full roof to protect customers from precipitation. Online retailing, a type of electronic commerce used for business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions and mail order, are forms of non-shop retailing.