Visa transaction volumes hurt as coronavirus crisis deepens

FILE PHOTO: A Visa credit card is seen on a computer keyboard in this picture illustration taken September 6, 2017. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/Illustration

(Reuters) - Visa Inc V.N said on Monday its transaction volumes had been hit as the coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc on consumer spending, leading it to forecast mid-single-digit percentage revenue growth for the second quarter.

“As countries have imposed social distancing, shelter-in-place or total lock-down orders, domestic spending, most notably in travel, restaurants, entertainment and fuel, has sharply declined week on week,” the world’s largest payments network said in a statement.

The company said transaction volumes fell in the second half of March and there has been a rapid deterioration in cross-border travel-related spending.

The coronavirus has upended the retail industry as shoppers stay at home to avoid catching the highly contagious illness and stores remain shut.

Mastercard Inc MA.N, American Express AXP.N, and PayPal Holdings Inc PYPL.O have also warned of slowing revenue growth due to the outbreak.

Visa, which reported a 4% fall in March to date in U.S. payments volume from a year earlier, said it expects operating expense growth in high single digits and earnings per share growth in the high end of low single digits.

Analysts expect revenue of $5.83 billion and earnings per share of $1.36 in the second quarter ended March 31, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Earlier this month, Visa had already warned that its second-quarter revenue growth would be slower than its previous forecast. [nL4N2AV4YN]

Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli