Visa's 2Q Profits Rise 24% on Card Usage

Visa Inc. (NYSE:V) said Thursday its quarterly earnings rose 24% as cardholders spent more freely and used their cards more often.

Visa also announced a $1 billion share buyback program.

The largest credit card processing company said it earned $881 million, or $1.23 per share, compared with $713 million, or 96 cents per share, during the same period a year ago.

The earnings-per-share beat Wall Street's expectations by 3 cents.

“Visa delivered a solid financial performance in our fiscal second quarter with double-digit growth in payments volume, cross border volume and Visa-processed transactions from across the globe,” Joseph Saunders, Visa’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

Revenues were $2.25 billion for the quarter, compared with $2 billion a year ago.

Payments volume growth, on a constant dollar basis, for the three months ended March 31, 2011, was a positive 13% over the prior year at $861 billion.

Cross-border volume growth, on a constant dollar basis, was a positive 13% for the three months ended March 31, 2011.

Visa said it processed a total of 12 billion transactions during the quarter, a 13% increase over last year. Service revenues came to $1.1 billion, a 24% increase over 2010.

In other areas, data processing revenues rose 13% to $823 million. International transaction revenues, which are driven by cross border payments volume, grew 14% over the prior year to $624 million.

Total operating expenses were $862 million for the quarter, a 3% increase over the same period last year.

Visa shares fell 1.3% to $78.70 on Thursday and dipped further in after-hours trading.