It is hard to find a more consistent company than Visa, Inc. (V); the firm, of course, is the operator of the credit and debit card network of the same name, explains growth and income expert Douglas Gerlach, editor of Investor Advisory Service.
Payments volume grew 9% both in its fourth fiscal quarter ended September 30, 2019 and for the fiscal year. The number of processed transactions rose 11% in both the quarter and the year. The P/E isn’t low, but the consistent, high-quality growth puts Visa in the category of “expensive, but worth it.”
Visa also operates the Visa/Plus ATM Network and Interlink debit card system. Visa has more than 50% of the global volume in credit and debit cards.
Visa is more than just a company that processes credit card and debit card transactions. It works hard to contemplate a future where disruptive technologies could harm its business. It buys stakes in emerging private companies in the payments space. Others become strategic partners like PayPal (PYPL), Square (SQ), and Stripe.
Visa also innovates on its own. One example is Visa Direct, which uses the Visa payments network to allow individuals and businesses to move money between cards and bank accounts in real time.
This is a way to interrupt potential disruptors like Venmo and Zelle. The recent acquisition of Earthport will allow Visa Direct to integrate with “the vast majority” of bank accounts in the world.
It appears that there is a lot of room yet to run in the payments industry. Cash and checks are still in surprisingly wide use, especially outside of the United States. Visa also benefits from continued growth in online retailing where cash and physical checks can’t be used.
We are forecasting five-year EPS growth of 16%. At the end of five years, EPS could exceed $11.00. A repeat of the average high P/E of 31.7 could lead to a stock price of $350. Adding in a small dividend, the potential annual return could exceed 15%.