Visa Inc., the biggest payments network, said fiscal second-quarter profit surged 47 percent as customer spending on credit and debit cards rose.
Net income for the three months ended March 31 was $1.29 billion, or $1.91 a share, up from $881 million, or $1.23, a year earlier, the San Francisco-based company said today in a statement. The average estimate of 32 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for adjusted earnings per share of $1.51.
“Our strong financial performance this quarter was fueled by continued growth of U.S. credit products, strong cross-border spending and expansion of Visa’s core business in international markets,” Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Joseph W. Saunders said in the statement. “Visa’s business continues to expand at a healthy pace.”
Saunders, 66, adjusted the network’s fee structure to defend Visa’s leading market share after new U.S. rules on debit-card transactions took effect in October. The firm, which got 56 percent of revenue from the U.S. in fiscal 2011, has said it intends to generate more than half from abroad by 2015.
Visa fell 0.7 percent to $122.19 at 4:02 p.m. in New York. The shares have gained 20 percent this year.
Visa and MasterCard Inc., the No. 2 network, are boosting profits amid a shift by consumers worldwide from cash and checks to electronic payments. Visa raised its quarterly dividend 47 percent last year to 22 cents a share. MasterCard said earlier today that first-quarter profit increased 21 percent to $682 million, beating Wall Street estimates, as spending rose and the firm gained market share.
The limits on debit-card transaction fees and processing, mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act, may have helped Purchase, New York-based MasterCard wrest market share from Visa, which handled more than triple the amount of such purchases than its smaller rival in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30.
MasterCard has been winning deals to handle processing of debit transactions, bolstering financial results, Chief Financial Officer Martina Hund-Mejean said today in a conference call with analysts.
“In every quarter we’re going after business very surgically and opportunistically,” she said. “You can see those results in our numbers.”
One lender that switched to MasterCard is Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America Corp., the biggest U.S. debit- card issuer by purchases, Tien-tsin Huang, a JPMorgan Chase & Co. analyst, said yesterday in a research note.
Visa changed its fees in April, creating incentives for merchants to route more transactions on the company’s network. The fees, which had been variable, were broken into three components, including a fixed fee and an incentive portion that gives credit to merchants for using the network more, CFO Byron Pollitt said in a March 13 presentation.
Visa’s share of worldwide purchase transactions on both credit and debit cards, including those processed by Visa Europe Ltd., fell 1.1 percentage points last year to 64.67 percent as MasterCard’s share grew by almost half of a percentage point to 25.57 percent, according to the Nilson Report, an industry newsletter based in Carpinteria, California.
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