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Card spending lifts Visa's 1Q above expectations

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 30, 2014 at 9:58 am •  Published: January 30, 2014

FOSTER CITY, Calif. (AP) — Visa's fiscal first-quarter net income increased 9 percent, as higher card spending which boosted the number of payments it processed. Its performance beat analysts' expectations.

Foster City, Calif.-based Visa Inc. is the world's largest processor of debit and credit card payments. As such, it benefits from heightened consumer spending and its results are closely watched because they can be a window into the buying habits and financial health of consumers.The holiday shopping season ended on a lackluster note, with U.S. retail sales rising only 0.2 percent in December, according to the Commerce Department. Even so, Visa, along with card issuers American Express Co. and Discover Financial Services, reported stronger cardholder spending and borrowing during the holiday season.

All told, Visa processed 16 billion transactions during last three months of 2013, up 13 percent from a year earlier.

Shares rose $3.82, or nearly 2 percent, to $220.94 in morning trading, touching $226.00 shortly after the opening bell. The stock has risen 42 percent in the past 12 months and hit a 52-week high of $235.50 last week.

Referencing the latest hacks into systems at Target and Neiman Marcus, Visa said it continues to push toward adopting new chip technology to better safeguard card payments.

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