Visa (V) beat the Street late Wednesday by logging third-quarter earnings growth of 89%, prompting the card giant to unveil a new $1.5 billion share buyback program.

Shares of the San Francisco-based company rallied about 1.5% in the wake of the better-than-expected results.

Visa said it earned $1.7 billion, or $2.47 a share, last quarter, compared with a profit of $880 million, or $1.28 a share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items, it earned $1.54, besting estimates from analysts by four cents.

Net operating revenue climbed 15% to $2.7 billion, narrowly topping the Street’s view of $2.68 billion.

Payment volumes increased 6% to $978 billion, while cross-border volume jumped 10% on a constant dollar basis. Total processed transactions grew 2% to 14 billion.

“Visa delivered strong financial performance for the fourth quarter and full year, a result of our focus on growing our core business, accelerating expansion of our business outside the U.S and investing in next-generation technologies that will define the future of payments," CEO Joseph Saunders said in a statement.

Visa said operating expenses increased 18% to $1.2 billion.

Meanwhile, Visa's board of directors has signed off on a new plan to buy back $1.5 billion of Class A shares through October 2013.

Looking ahead, Visa projected annual net revenue growth for 2013 in the low double digits and adjusted EPS growth in the high teens.

Shares of Visa increased 1.59% to $140.96 in extended trading, putting them on pace to build on their 2012 rally of 36%.

Last week Visa announced plans to boost its dividend by 50% and tapped long-time J.P. Morgan Chase (JPM) exec Charles Scharf as its incoming CEO effective on Thursday.

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