Visa, Mastercard Expectations High But Maybe Not High Enough

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Clearly, Visa is a believer that grass doesn’t grow on a rolling stone. It’s harder to stay at the top than it is to get there.

A recent article lauded Visa but wondered if it wasn’t being overvalued. We report but don’t comment here on the stock market or individual stock performance but we are a big fan of the card brands and would like to compile the reasons Visa has a bright future.

Already the largest payment network, Visa has been busy this past year—making a deal with an enemy, PayPal; replacing American Express at Costco; and buying Visa Europe. Visa expects Visa Europe to add 2%-3% to earnings in fiscal 2017.

“There are very few companies that stand to disintermediate a card brand and the fact that PayPal and Visa have a done a deal definitely neutralizes a big one,” says Double Diamond Group president Todd Ablowitz.

The world is steadily moving towards 100 percent Internet connectivity, which benefits electronic payments, and cash is dying a slow death. The No. 2 card brand, Mastercard, stands to benefit from this future as well, as it strives to double its merchant base by targeting developing regions that have the most growth opportunity in connectivity and electronic payment adoption.

“Even though Mastercard is number two, they’re a very strong number two,” Ablowitz says.

Visa stock hit a 52-week high last week and everyone who does such things has graded the stock a buy.

Ablowitz speaks for both brands when he says, “They have a lot of pricing leverage in most countries where the government isn’t regulating interchange. They have a valuable offering that people really want.”

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