Internet sales help Visa grow in weak market

Tim Wallace
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SPENDING on Visa debit cards jumped sharply through 2012 to hit a new record of €1.3 trillion (£1.08 trillion), Visa Europe announced yesterday, as soaring internet sales helped the firm thrive despite the weak overall economic outlook.

The firm saw an annual spending rise of 8.8 per cent, driven by a 16 per cent jump in e-commerce activity.

That takes online spending to €202bn, another record high and 20 per cent of total activity.

Spending on Visa cards amounts to €1 of every €6.75 spent in Europe, the firm said, with that rising to £1 in every £3 in the UK.

But although it is more dominant in Britain, growth is slower.

Total spending rose 6.1 per cent to £407bn, with debit card spending up 7.1 per cent to £360bn. British internet spending jumped 11.5 per cent to £96bn, almost a quarter of total spending on cards.

The firm’s revenues rose from €1bn to €1.1bn on the year, hitting a pre-tax surplus of €260m.

“Visa Europe has performed strongly in the past year despite tough economic conditions, demonstrating the continued resilience of our business,” said chief executive Peter Ayliffe.

“As we continue to see the explosive adoption of mobile devices, our priority in 2013 is to give consumers faster, safer mobile ways to pay.”

The firm hopes to roll out a new integrated digital wallet in the coming years, with banks representing 80 per cent of UK consumers already signed up.

By 2020 it hopes one third of European consumers will use the new technology.