LOS ANGELES (AP) — Shoppers hit stores for the holidays in the final months of 2012 and it seems many of them were armed with credit and debit cards using the Visa network.
The payments processing company said Wednesday that its profit jumped 25 percent in the last three months of 2012, as consumers used their credit cards and debit cards more often.
Visa's revenue from data processing, international transactions and service all rose from a year earlier in the October-December quarter, when consumers ramp up spending for the holidays.
All told, transactions processed over the Visa network totaled $14.2 billion during the quarter, an increase of 4 percent from a year earlier. While U.S. debit transactions fell 4 percent, debit and credit card transactions overseas jumped 21 percent.
Visa, which is based in Foster City, Calif., makes money by processing card transactions. Its results provide insight into how consumers are spending.
CEO Charles Scharf, hosting his first conference call with Wall Street analysts since taking over for former CEO Joseph Saunders on Nov. 1, laid out several strategic priorities for the company. Those include extending Visa's reach into the electronic payments market, as well as pressing for more growth overseas, particularly emerging markets.
"I am more bullish today about the opportunities that we have than the day I joined," Scharf said.
Visa and rival MasterCard Inc. are facing increased competition from alternative payment processing services, such as PayPal, which have begun making inroads beyond online storefronts to brick-and-mortar retailers.
Visa is hoping to expand its reach into the payments processing business with new products, such as an electronic wallet dubbed "V.me."
Scharf noted that the electronic wallet was being used at 31 merchant sites as of the end of 2012, and said the company has added another 122 merchants through Tuesday.
Among issuers signed up to use the electronic wallet so far are 12 of the top 25 U.S. banks, including Bank of America, and 51 U.S. regional banks, he said.
For the three months ended Dec. 31, Visa reported net income of $1.3 billion, or $1.93 per share. That compares with net income of $1.03 billion, or $1.49 per share, a year earlier.
These company's latest results included a tax benefit representing 11 cents per share.
Revenue rose nearly 12 percent to $2.85 billion.
Analysts polled by FactSet had forecast earnings of $1.79 per share on revenue of $2.82 billion.
Continue reading this story on the...