Visa (NYSE: V) rode rising sales volume — particularly among users of its credit cards — to strong quarterly profits.
The card network reported quarterly net income Wednesday of $1.3 billion. That was a 17% increase from the same period a year ago, after adjusting for a one-time tax benefit taken in 2012.
Visa reported earnings per share of $1.92, which beat the $1.81 consensus of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The company also revised upward its estimate of annual earnings per share growth from the high teens to around 20%.
"Visa's strong financial and operational performance reflects continued momentum across our core business during the fiscal second quarter," Chief Executive Officer Charlie Scharf said in a news release.
The firm, which is based in Foster City, Calif., reported net operating revenue of $3.0 billion, a 15% increase over the same period a year earlier. Service revenues, data processing revenues and international transaction revenues all climbed by more than 10%.
The results were for the second quarter of Visa's fiscal year, which ended March 31, 2013.
Earlier in the day, rival card network MasterCard Inc. (MA) reported quarterly net income of $766 million, up 12% from the same period a year earlier.
Purchase, N.Y.-based MasterCard reported an 8% increase in net revenue, driven partly by higher sales volumes on the company's cards, and partially offset by an increase in rebates and incentives.
Visa has been hurt by regulations that have driven some of its U.S. debit card revenues to competitors. In the quarterly results announced Wednesday, Visa said U.S. debit card volume was $381 billion, which was down 2.0% year over year.
But the company reported a 9.2% increase in U.S. credit card volume, a 10.8% increase in credit card volume throughout the rest of the world, and a 6.2% boost in debit card volume internationally.
Visa's volume growth was particularly strong in the Asia Pacific region and in Africa, the Middle East and parts of Europe, which the company treats as one region.
Overall, payments volume was up 9% year over year at $1.0 trillion.
Visa continues to invest in new technologies and channels to drive future transaction growth, the company said in its news release.