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Visa card use up, 2Q profit slips nearly 2 pct.
May 02, 2013, 05:00 AM By Alex Veiga The Associated Press
LOS ANGELES — Visa Inc. said Wednesday that its net income slipped nearly 2 percent in the first three months of this year from the year before, when the company benefited from an adjustment to its income tax provision.

The payments processing company’s latest results still trumped Wall Street's estimates, lifting its shares 2.4 percent higher in after-hours trading.

The company, based in Forest City, Calif., said Americans rang up $255 billion using Visa-branded credit cards, an increase of 9 percent from a year earlier. But debit card use was essentially flat.

Combined credit and debit card transactions worldwide in the quarter grew 4.2 percent to $1.61 trillion.

The growth in spending by cardholders echoed the results reported earlier in the day by rival MasterCard Inc.

Sales at U.S. retailers — a key indicator of consumer spending — declined a seasonally adjusted 0.4 percent in March. That followed a 1 percent gain in February and a 0.1 percent decline in January.

Still, that didn’t slow spending by holders of credit cards from issuers American Express and Capital One Financial.

Visa doesn’t issue cards. It makes money from processing charge card transactions, so it benefits from heightened consumer spending.

For the fiscal second-quarter, Visa reported net income of $1.27 billion, or $1.92 per share. That compares with net income of $1.29 billion, or $1.91 per share, in the same period last year.

The prior-year results included a one-time non-cash adjustment of $208 million related to the company’s income tax provision.

Revenue in the latest quarter rose nearly 15 percent to $2.96 billion from $2.58 billion a year earlier.

Analysts, on average, forecast earnings of $1.81 per share, on revenue of $2.85 billion, according to FactSet.

Visa noted that its service revenue increased 10 percent to $1.4 billion, while data processing revenue climbed 25 percent to $1.2 billion.

International transaction revenues grew 13 percent to $831 million.

Visa’s client incentives declined to $567 million.

Shares ended regular trading down $2.44 at $166.02. The stock added $3.93, or 2.4 percent, to $169.95 in after-market trading.

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