A Big Upgrade for Visa

After spending more than a year locked at a mediocre three-star rank, Visa (NYSE: V  ) has impressed enough top-performing members of our 165,000-strong Motley Fool CAPS community to climb up to four stars. A total of 4,607 members have given their opinion on the payment firm, with many offering analysis and commentary to explain their recent optimism.

Shares of Visa and MasterCard (NYSE: MA  ) have come under pressure in recent months, as investors attempt to gauge the effects of financial reform efforts on their businesses. Both companies have yet to determine the effects of changing regulations on debit card payments. However, Visa's CEO recently said he doesn't expect changes to affect the growth of electronic payments in the U.S., and predicts only a modest earnings impact from the final rules.

Meanwhile, Visa put up strong numbers in its second quarter, showing domestic and international growth. Revenue jumped 23% in the quarter, while operating income grew 38%. While credit card issuers Citigroup (NYSE: C  ) , JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM  ) , and Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) have begun to show improvement in their dangerously high credit card payment delinquency rates, Visa and MasterCard have been insulated from troubled consumer debt, since they earn money from transaction fees instead of lending to consumers.

In addition to Visa's solid balance sheet, CAPS members also like Visa's growing global competitive position. The company's recent purchase of online payment provider CyberSource should help it compete with eBay's (Nasdaq: EBAY  ) PayPal, which handled about 16.5% of U.S. e-commerce transaction last year. Many investors see little threat from AT&T's and Verizon's plans to launch a mobile payment system with Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS  ) , even though mobile payments have really caught on in some regions of the world. With Visa's bullish outlook for revenue and earnings growth, most CAPS members like the direction the company is headed.

Do you think Visa deserves its elevated status? Add your thoughts in the comments box below on this page, or head over to CAPS to rate the company and check out all the information and opinions the community offers, absolutely free.

Always looking ahead, the Motley Fool Rule Breakers service is picking the next generation's big winners today. To see what other rule-breaking stocks David Gardner is recommending now, take a free 30-day trial.

Fool contributor Dave Mock loves to upgrade his ice cream with chocolate and whipped cream. He owns no shares of companies mentioned here. Discover Financial Services is an Inside Value recommendation. eBay is a Stock Advisor selection. Motley Fool Options has recommended a bull call spread position on eBay. The Fool's disclosure policy is better than the cherry on top.


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Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On August 23, 2010, at 12:49 PM, TEBuddy wrote:

    I think Visa needs to be spreading the wealth if they are doing good, or else their card issuers are going to end up beankrupt and not issuing cards for Visa to make transaction fees on.

  • Report this Comment On August 23, 2010, at 3:57 PM, Patricia013 wrote:

    They need to enter Paypal's realm in a big way. Paypal has been gathering the wealth all by itself far too long! Fast money movement is what the people want - Visa needs to give it to them! Competition is the name of the game.

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