Corrects headline to show the company reported its fiscal third quarter results, not second quarter results

NEW YORK - Visa Inc reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings on Wednesday, as the world's largest credit card network cut expenses and credit-strapped consumers used their debit cards more.

Net income rose 73 percent to $729 million, or 97 cents per diluted class A share, for the third quarter ended June 30.

On an adjusted basis, reflecting a normalized tax rate, restructuring and purchase amortizations, quarterly net income rose percent to $744 million, or 98 cents per diluted class A common share.

Excluding the impact from the sale of the company's stake in VisaNet do Brasil, adjusted quarterly net income was $507 million, or 67 cents per share. On that basis, analysts expected earnings of 64 cents, according to Reuters Estimates.

Net operating revenue rose 2 percent to $1.6 billion, while adjusted operating expenses fell 9 percent to $804 million.

Total processed transactions -- which represent transactions processed by VisaNet -- increased 8 percent to 10.3 billion, but payments volume fell 5 percent for the quarter ended March 31, which translates to revenue in the following quarter.

As we look forward to the remainder of our fiscal 2009 year and beyond, we will remain focused on leveraging our inherent operating scale, maintaining strong financial performance and expense control, Chief Executive Joseph Saunders said in a statement.

The company adjusted its estimate of capital expenses for 2009 to around $300 million from a range of $300 million to $350 million.

Visa is partially insulated from the credit crisis because it processes transactions rather than lends funds. However, the company has seen a slowdown in the growth of revenue and transaction volumes as battered consumers used their credit cards less.

Visa also said it created a joint venture with U.S. Bancorp called Syncada to provide network services to corporations and governments to process and track invoices, and make and receive payments.

The credit card network made an unspecified capital investment in Syncada, while U.S. Bancorp contributed with the technology platform and personnel.

Visa reiterated its forecast of annual net revenue growth of high single digits in 2009 and at the lower end of the 11 to 15 percent range in 2010.

The company also affirmed its annual adjusted diluted class A common stock earnings per share will grow over 20 percent.

Visa's shares were down 1.4 percent at $65.85 in after-hours trade. The stock is up 30 percent in 2009.

(Reporting by Juan Lagorio; editing by Leslie Gevirtz, Bernard Orr)