SAN FRANCISCO - Visa International reported a record holiday spending binge by consumers, driven, in part, by purchases made on-line.During the peak shopping period of Nov. 25 through Dec. 27, $74.9 billion worth of transactions were processed over the Visa network, which is a 25% increase from the year-earlier period. Each of the six Visa regions contributed to this volume. "We are seeing a huge increase in electronic commerce," said Visa spokeswoman Cheryl Heinonen.

Globally, Visa reached a peak transaction rate of 3,865 transactions per second on Dec. 24, a 26% increase over the same day in 1998. The U.S.-based processing centers hit a peak transaction rate of 3,359 transactions per second on the same day, a 24% increase over the previous year.

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