Visa Profit Up 21% as Credit, Debit Card Use Rises

Visa, the top payments processor, rode higher credit and debit card usage to a fiscal first-quarter profit 21 percent above a year earlier, showing some resilience to new limits on “swipe fees” mandated by Wall Street reform.
Net income for the three months ended Dec. 31 rose to $1.03 billion, or $1.49 a share, from $884 million, or $1.23, a year earlier, Visa said in a statement. The increase beat most analysts’ expectations.
Visa reported a 10 percent increase in U.S. credit card use, while debit card use climbed just 6 percent, the slowest debit card growth rate in more than a year.
The earnings period covered new rules set by U.S. regulators that capped so-called “swipe fees,” that Visa and MasterCard charge merchants for debit-card purchases.
“Consumers’ desire to use our products is evident in the strong growth we see outside the U.S. and the resiliency we are seeing in the U.S. in the wake of debit regulation, said Joe Saunders, Visa chairman and chief executive officer.  “We are in the midst of executing on our strategy to address the new landscape in the United States and we are pleased with the early results of our efforts.”
Cross-border volume, which records spending by consumers outside their home countries, increased 13 percent.
Processed transactions worldwide jumped 8 percent to 13.6 billion, with consumers continuing to shift from cash and checks to electronic payments.

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