Source: Flickr / Sean MacEntee.

Shareholders of Visa (NYSE:V) were quite happy with the company's performance last year, as its share price moved more than 43% last year, from $155 per share to more than $222 per share.

Even with this growth, there are still plenty of tailwinds for future growth at the company. Over 85% of the world's payment transactions are still completing in cash. The company has positioned themselves better than any other company to capitalize this market share. Internationally, it has promising growth opportunities in Asian markets like China and India.

Emerging opportunities
Visa has shown a great interest in increasing their point-of-sale presence in many emerging countries. Its goal is to achieve more than 50% of its total revenue from international markets by 2015.

In the U.S., only 25% of on-site payments in the U.S. are done with cash and less than 7% from checks. In developing markets like India and Russia, nearly 60% of all payment transactions are made with cash or check. As a result, Visa is presented with a huge growth opportunity if they are fully focused on expanding into emerging markets. 

Focus on what's working
In particular, India is among the fastest growing markets for Visa.

India is the fourth-largest country in terms of the number of resident high net worth individuals (HNWIs). The number of HNWIs in the country is expected to increase by almost 90%, from 290 thousand in 2012 to almost 550,000 in 2016. To benefit from this profitable segment, banks and card issuers have increased their focus on this group, as HNWIs traditionally show a greater willingness to use credit, debit and prepaid cards.

The opportunity is not just limited to the rich, too. According to Visa's estimates, 400 million consumers in the country currently don't have access to a bank account -- an enormous "stuck" population that represents a huge opportunity.

China will also be the next growth market for Visa in the coming years. China has shown promising signs of issuing foreign credit cards, allowing for Visa to become an even bigger international player. About 60% of the company's global payments come from debit cards. And in China, growth of debit card payments is faster than that of credit cards.

A strong position
As the global payments industry continues to undergo dynamic change, Visa may face increasing competition from emerging players in the payment space such as PayPal, Google Wallet and Isis. Although, these competitors do compete directly in many cases, it also presents Visa the opportunity to partner with these companies and expand through them.

Alfa Beta has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends American Express, MasterCard, and Visa. The Motley Fool owns shares of MasterCard and Visa. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.