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Visa extends its profit growth though 4Q as digital payments become more commonplace worldwide

FILE - This Aug. 11, 2019, file photo shows a Visa logo on a credit card in New Orleans. Visa reports earnings on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2023. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Payments processing giant Visa Inc. posted an 18% rise in its fiscal fourth-quarter profits Tuesday, as the company continues to benefit from the growing use of credit and debit cards globally.

The San Francisco-based company said it earned $4.82 billion in the quarter, or $2.33 a share after one-time adjustments. That's compared to a profit of $4.09 billion, or $1.93 a share, in the same period a year ago. Visa beat analysts' forecasts, according to FactSet.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Visa has benefitted from a fundamental change in consumer behavior that has led to the broad acceptance of digital payments in places where traditionally cash was king, as well as from the growth in online shopping. The acceptance of digital payments goes straight to the bottom line of Visa and its competitor Mastercard, which take a fee from every transaction that is run on their networks.

Visa reported a 9% rise in payments volume on its network and a 10% rise in the number of transactions on its network. Consumers spent $3.196 trillion on Visa's network globally last quarter, with the company posting a healthy 6% growth in spending in the U.S., the company's largest market. For the full year, Visa saw $12.338 trillion spent on its network compared to 2022. For comparison, that's twice the entire U.S. government's annual budget.

"I am confident in our ability to deliver against a backdrop of geopolitical and economic uncertainty," said Ryan McInerney, the company's CEO, said in a prepared statement. "There is tremendous opportunity ahead and I am as optimistic as ever about Visa’s role in the future of payments.”

Visa's stock rose about 1% in after-hours trading following the release of the earnings report.