Watch for healthier credit and debit sales volumes when Visa Inc. tomorrow reports its most recent quarterly data, with MasterCard to follow on Thursday, one analyst says.

Sanjay Sakhrani, an analyst with equities firm Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, said in a report published Jan. 25 that when the Visa reports its quarterly results, the data should show year-over-year sales-volume gains, presenting a more-favorable picture than a year earlier when the recession hammered bankcard networks’ results.

“Credit card volume trends improved on both the U.S. and international fronts, with international volume growth outperforming the U.S., likely due to the weaker U.S. dollar during the fourth quarter of 2009,” Sakhrani wrote.

Visa’s results for the quarter ended Sept. 30 (Visa reports operational performance data one quarter later than its earnings data) will show total payment volume growth in the 6% range compared with the same quarter a year earlier, Sakhrani estimates. MasterCard’s total payment volume for the quarter ended Dec. 31 will be flat compared with a year earlier, he predicted. (MasterCard reports its earnings and operational performance data simultaneously for the same quarter.)

For both card networks, “it appears that debit-volume growth continues to perform better than credit card volume,” Sakhrani wrote. 

Visa’s credit card purchase volume for the quarter ended June 30 was $192 billion, down 9.9% from $213 billion a year earlier (see story) Debit sales volume was $220 billion, up 4.8% from $210 billion. Visa’s debit card volume rose 9% from $202 the preceding quarter ended March 30, signaling the beginning of a resurgence.

For the third quarter ended Sept. 30, MasterCard’s U.S. credit card purchase volume was $121 billion, down 14.2% from $141 billion a year earlier, but up slightly (less than 1%) from $120 billion the previous quarter ended June 30 (see story) MasterCard’s debit card sales volume generally has climbed over the past several quarters, rising to $83 billion during the third quarter, up 6.4% from $78 billion during the same quarter in 2008.

Subscribe Now

Authoritative analysis and perspective for every segment of the payments industry

14-Day Free Trial

Authoritative analysis and perspective for every segment of the industry