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Visa’s payments networks recover, driven by debit card spending

Robert Armstrong in New York

Spending on Visa’s payments networks has recovered in recent weeks, the company said as it reported its results for the March quarter.

Spending by Visa customers bottomed in the last week of March, when it fell almost 30 per cent from a year earlier. But in the week ended April 28, the decline was just over 10 per cent.

The recovery has been driven by debit card spending, which is now up slightly from a year earlier. Spending on credit cards remains deeply depressed.

The company also reported a surge in online payments. Transactions completed without a physical card, excluding travel, were up almost 30 per cent in recent weeks.

The spending patterns match those reported by Visa’s competitor Mastercard earlier in the week. Mastercard’s results spurred a sharp rally in the shares of credit card lenders.

Revenues and earnings at the company, at $5.9bn and $1.38 a share, rose 7 per cent and 6 per cent, respectively in the first three months of the year, as much of the quarter’s activity was not affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Both figures were slightly ahead of Wall Street’s estimates.

Visa’s shares fell one per cent in after-market trading. They are up 16 per cent in the past month.

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