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SAN FRANCISCO — Although much remains uncertain about the deal, which is subject to the vagaries of financial markets and legal settlements, credit unions that issue Visa cards stand to gain a possibly substantial financial windfall from Visa Inc’s initial public offering of stock expected later this year.

The major card brand’s IPO is the final step in its transformation from an association of financial institutions that issue Visa cards to an incorporated company able to raise money in the financial markets. As part of that move, the brand will issue stock to its financial institution issuers that could be worth tens of millions of dollars on the open market. But it will also use some of the stock, including stock from issuers, to settle long-standing legal claims from American Express and other organizations over the association’s previous acceptance policies.

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