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Visa to be more flexible, eyes emerging markets

Visa Inc.’s new CEO Charles Scharf says it is time for the credit-card giant to loosen up. Scharf said on Wednesday Visa needs to shed its image among some banks and merchants that it is onerous to deal with as it continues its war on cash.

Furor over the company’s processing fees and rules that merchants must agree to in order to accept Visa’s cards have been a thorn in the side of retailers big and small over the years, leading to numerous lawsuits and increased scrutiny by regulators.

Scharf, a former J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. executive who took the helm of Visa in November, said improving relationships with these clients will be key as the company accelerates efforts to ramp up operations in emerging international markets where cash and checks reign supreme and technology such as merchant credit-card terminals and ATMs is lacking.

Visa has already laid the ground work on that effort, striking deals in countries including Rwanda and Myanmar, as it works toward a goal of generating more than half its revenue from international markets by 2015.

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(Source: The Wall Street Journal Online)