Tags: visa | profit | credit-card | spending

Visa Profit Jumps 25% as Credit-Card Spending Rises

Wednesday, 25 July 2012 04:40 PM

Visa Inc., the world’s biggest bank-card network, posted a fiscal third-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates as credit- and debit-card spending rose.

Adjusted net income for the three months ended June 30 climbed 25 percent to $1.1 billion, or $1.56 a share, the San Francisco-based company said Wednesday in a statement. The average estimate of 34 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was $1.45 a share.

“It’s no secret the U.S. economy has been slowing,” Jason Kupferberg, an analyst at Jefferies & Co. in New York, wrote in a July 20 report. “However, we think underlying payment volume on a global basis continues to hold up well.”

Visa, led by Chief Executive Officer Joseph W. Saunders, 66, has benefitted from a consumer shift from cash to electronic payments that shows no signs of abating, while parrying challenges to its business model. Visa, MasterCard Inc. and some of the biggest U.S. banks agreed this month to settle a U.S. antitrust lawsuit brought by merchants who accused the financial firms of rigging credit-card fees.

The accord includes $6.6 billion in payments to retailers and a temporary cut in fees that banks earn on each transaction. Visa’s $4.4 billion share of the settlement would be covered by an escrow account established in cooperation with U.S. banks that owned the company before its 2008 initial public offering. Purchase, New York-based MasterCard, which reports results next week, said the settlement would cost it $790 million.

Debit Rules

Visa fell 0.4 percent to $122.20 at 4 p.m. in New York. The shares have climbed 37 percent in the past 12 months, the third- best performance in the 71-company Standard & Poor’s 500 Information Technology Index after Seagate Technology Plc and Apple Inc. MasterCard’s 30 percent gain ranks fourth.

Saunders also overhauled Visa’s fee structure on debit cards after new U.S. rules took effect in October. The limits on debt-card fees and processing, mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act, may have helped MasterCard wrest market share from Visa, which handled about triple the amount of such purchases than its smaller rival in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30.

The U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust division issued a civil investigative demand on March 13 asking Visa for information about the new strategy, Saunders said in May.

Saunders has said he intends to generate more than half of Visa’s revenue from outside the U.S. by 2015, up from 44 percent in fiscal 2011.

Visa’s share of worldwide purchase transactions on 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 0.5 percentage point to 25.57 percent, according to the Nilson Report, an industry newsletter based in Carpinteria, California.

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Wednesday, 25 July 2012 04:40 PM
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