Visa U.S.A. said its U.S. credit and debit card volume was up by 32.8% in the first quarter to $78.25 billion, the highest growth rate in 11 years.

The San Francisco-based association said that for each of the last seven quarters volume has increased more than 20% on a year-to-year basis.

Visa said the number of credit and debit cards rose 21.4% to 213.4 million cards, compared to 175.8 million in the first quarter of 1994.

Carl F. Pascarella, president and chief executive of Visa U.S.A., said, "preliminary numbers show the most significant market share shift against our competitors than we've had in a long time for a quarter."

MasterCard International said it will report U.S. volume numbers, included in international numbers, in a few weeks.

Sales volume for credit cards rose 31% to $72.2 billion, Visa said, citing the expansion of Visa Gold programs, which account for 41.6% of its total credit card volume.

Volume in Visa commercial card products, which account for nearly 3% of the total for credit cards, rose 53.9% to $2.1 billion.

At the same time, volume for Visa Check - the off-line debit card - jumped 60%, to $6 billion. Visa said it represents the sixth consecutive quarter that Visa Check card volume growth has exceeded 50%.

Sales volume for Interlink, Visa's on-line debit service, grew 23% to $967 million, compared to $788 million a year earlier.

Mr. Pascarella attributed significant growth in all products to member support of the brand and growth in nontraditional markets, such as supermarkets and health care.

"In an economic environment where personal consumption overall is stagnant," he said, "Visa continues to gain market share and displace the use of cash and checks, and that fact is significant."

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