NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Bankruptcy could be in your future if you use a credit card and you overdo it. With Greenspan's latest interest rates (search) hike, you might not feel the pinch now, but you could down the road. Is my next guest worried? Well, let us ask Carl Pascarella. Carl is the CEO of Visa USA.
Carl, good to have you back.
CARL PASCARELLA, CEO OF VISA USA: Good to be here, Neil, thank you.
CAVUTO: So here's Alan Greenspan, willy-nilly raising rates. Typically, that — that tends to be bad for people in debt. What are your folks telling you?
PASCARELLA: Well, we see the economy really as being quite robust. When you stop and look, a lot of the people paid down their debt in anticipation of these rate increases. And, we see very strong growth in every segment of our business.
CAVUTO: So a strong economy offsets whatever effect you get with the higher prices.
PASCARELLA: Absolutely, I believe that. And our year-over-year growth so far is at 18 percent in every segment of our business. The check card is up 30 percent. Our commercial business is up 20 percent. And even credit is up 12 percent.
So, we're seeing very robust growth. Our travel and entertainment segment is up almost 30 percent, and...
CAVUTO: So as you're seeing it, there is an improving economy going on?
PASCARELLA: Absolutely. It's very, very robust. And in addition to that, our new product, the Visa Signature program that we have that's ticketing the affluent — high affluent people is growing at 30 percent year over year. And we just launched a major nationwide campaign against that.
And also supporting the economy is the small business sector, that's growing at 30 percent year over year, and that's really showing the small businesspeople are in the market, and pushing very hard. And...
CAVUTO: So who's right on the economy? The president saying it's improving, or John Kerry saying it's stumbling?
PASCARELLA: I believe it's improving. I really do. Every indication that we see in terms of the way people are spending, how they're spending, a lot of it is on our check card, as I mentioned, with people accessing their checks, and checking accounts, through a Visa card.
CAVUTO: The charging part is only half your business then.
PASCARELLA: That's right and that's very important.
CAVUTO: All right.
PASCARELLA: And the other side that's important to us, too, is the fact that small business, we're going to be No. 1 in that market, come first part of 2005, surpassing American Express in what used to be one of their bastions of power.
CAVUTO: Do you have an American Express card?
PASCARELLA: I do not.
CAVUTO: You do not. I didn't think you did.
PASCARELLA: I don't need it.
CAVUTO: All right. Carl Pascarella, the man who runs Visa USA, good seeing you again.
PASCARELLA: Thank you, Neil.
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