On Thursday, Visa (V -0.49%) reported the first set of quarterly results for fiscal year 2021.

The period saw the payment card giant book net revenue of $5.69 billion, which was 6% below the same period of fiscal 2020. Non-GAAP (adjusted) net income also slumped, coming in 4% lower at $3.1 billion ($1.42).

In its earnings release for Q1, Visa CEO Alfred Kelly said that the company's performance "reflected solid results and a continued positive momentum in a challenging COVID-19 environment."

"We saw sustained strength of debit and e-commerce volumes, as well as resilient domestic spending in most countries," he added.

On the other hand, cross-border volume -- a big revenue driver for the sprawling global company -- fell by 21% overall. Excluding intra-Europe commerce, that decline was a steep 33%.

Payment card being used for an in-store transaction.

Image source: Getty Images.

Also, analysts were expecting more precipitous falls. On average, they were modeling only $5.53 billion on the top line and a per-share adjusted net profit of $1.28.

Additionally, Visa said its board of directors has authorized a new stock repurchase program. The company will have $8 billion at its disposal for this purpose. Adding previous authorizations to that tally, Visa has in excess of $11 billion to spend on buybacks.

The company did not proffer any guidance due to the continuing impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which is still hurting the global economy.

Investors were clearly impressed by the top- and bottom-line beats, in spite of those headwinds. Visa stock closed 1.7% higher on Thursday, eclipsing the modest rise of the S&P 500 index.