Visa profits rise 27% as pandemic wanes and economies open up | Economic news

By KEN SWEET, AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Visa’s fiscal first-quarter earnings rose 27% as improving economies around the world, along with more people using digital payments, helped improve fortunes of the company.

The San Francisco-based company said on Thursday it earned $3.96 billion, or $1.81 per share, in the final three months of 2021, compared to earnings of $3.13 billion, or $1.42 $ per share, at the same period a year ago. The results easily exceeded Wall Street forecasts.

Visa generated just over $7 billion in revenue during the quarter, a record for the company.

Most of the revenue jump came from a sharp 17% increase in the amount of money spent on its payments network last quarter to a record $3.63 trillion. Visa takes a commission on every payment that crosses its network, either on traditional credit and debit cards or in digital payments.

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Like other businesses during the pandemic, Visa has seen more and more people around the world shift their routine purchases to online stores and merchants. This was good for Visa’s bottom line and helped offset the loss of travel-related expenses that typically account for a good chunk of money spent on its network.

“As we look to the future, we do not believe the current outbreak of the pandemic will hold back the recovery,” Visa CEO Al Kelly said in a statement. “We see economies around the world continuing to improve and as restrictions are lifted, cross-border travel will continue to recover.”

Although still not at pre-pandemic levels, travel recovered significantly in the quarter. The company saw a 50% increase in cross-border payment volume, she said.

Visa shares rose 5% in extended trading after the earnings report was released.

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