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Visa profit jumps, lower cross-border volume weighs on shares

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Visa Inc reported higher expenses and lower spending by people using its cards abroad on Wednesday even as increased overall consumer spending drove quarterly profit 14 per cent higher.

[BENGALURU] Visa Inc reported higher expenses and lower spending by people using its cards abroad on Wednesday even as increased overall consumer spending drove quarterly profit 14 per cent higher.

Shares of the company were trading lower after the bell as investors worried over a slide in cross-border volume growth, which measures the value of transactions made on a Visa card outside a customer's home country.

The company and its rival Mastercard had recently come under fire for charging high fees on tourist cards in the European Union.

The payment processors have now offered to cap the fees to stave off regulatory fines and end an EU antitrust investigation into their practices.

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Excluding the impact of currency fluctuations, growth in cross-border volume shrank to four per cent from 11 per cent a year earlier.

Total transaction volumes in Europe fell to US$536 billion in the reported quarter from US$558 billion a year earlier.

The company also spent more on rewards and incentives such as airport lounge access, roadside assistance programs and travel insurance, which pushed up operating expenses by seven per cent.

However, overall revenue rose eight per cent to US$5.49 billion, beating analysts' average estimate of US$5.47 billion, largely helped by higher transaction volume in the United States, its largest market.

Growth in the United States for the world's biggest payment processor was spurred by higher wages, which led more consumers to swipe their credit and debit-cards on the company's extensive network.

The company said payments volume, which represents the dollar amount of purchases made with cards carrying Visa's branding, were strong across all regions on a constant-currency basis. In the United States, payments volume rose 7.9 per cent.

Visa's net income rose to US$2.98 billion, or US$1.31 per Class A share, in the second quarter ended March 31, from US$2.61 billion, or US$1.11 per Class A share, a year earlier.

The company raised its full-year earnings per share outlook range and reaffirmed its 2019 guidance for net revenue and operating expense growth.

"We're comforted by the fact that the company reiterated guidance on the top-line as we think this was a fear post first-quarter 2019 earnings," Sanjay Sakhrani, an analyst with KBW, wrote in a note.

BETTING ON EUROPE, INDIA

Despite a decline in Europe, Visa, which is heavily focused in the UK and Ireland, said it sees long-term growth as it expands to newer markets in the region.

The company said there are 12 other markets in Europe and that it was "well positioned in some and have plenty of room to grow in others".

In India, Visa said it has partnered with the country's fastest growing fintech company, Paytm Payments Bank, to offer debit credential solutions.

REUTERS