Purchase volume on Visa Inc. debit and credit cards surged 20.8% to $745 billion in its fiscal second quarter ending March 31, the San Francisco payments company reported Wednesday.

In the U.S., volume grew 12.7% over the year-ago quarter, to $427 billion.

Net income jumped 33%, to $713 billion.

The healthy results prompted Visa to reiterate its bullish revenue projection of 11% to 15% growth for the fiscal year.

Joseph Saunders, Visa's chairman and chief executive, said higher payments volume has made him "increasingly optimistic that the worst of the recession is behind us."

However, the company remains "watchful of the longer-term sustainability of growth in the world economy."

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