How to Cut Spending – Stick it All on Visa

The Japanese government should do away with bureaucratic form filling and simply issue its army of administrators Visa cards to buy everything from pens to airplane parts, an executive from the credit card giant told the Nikkei.

Visa Card
Visa Card

Visa is attempting to catch a ride on the country's recent wave of austerity and get the thousands of purchases made by Japanese officials put through its accounts, the report said.

Japan's current system for buying is complex and uses a lot of paper work as planned purchases have to be written up and then approved, the report pointed out.

With the plans, the departments of government agencies would be allowed to make purchases, under their own discretion, for anything up to 300,000 yen ($3,318), Bruce Sullivan, head of government services at Visa, told the Nikkei.

The transactions would then be easily traceable and supervisors could check for wasteful or inappropriate spending, the report said.

If successful, the new system would also save on the acres of paper work needed to process the invoices the Japanese government currently uses, the Nikkei said. And the government could cut the number of workers needed to process their payments, Sullivan told the Nikkei.

The U.S. federal government has had a similar system in place since the 1990s and Washington currently saves about $1.5 billion a year because of it, the report claimed.

Sullivan plans to visit Japan again to promote the card-based system, the report added.