Visa Inc's quarterly profit rose by 40 percent and the world's largest payment processor said it would buy back $1 billion in class A common stock shares over the next year.

For San Francisco-based Visa, the results highlight consumers' increasing reliance on debit and credit cards rather than cash or checks to make everyday purchases, even as the U.S. economic recovery remains weak.

They're getting better results as consumers are shifting from paper to plastic, said Shannon Stemm, a financial services analyst with Edward Jones.

Analysts said the company's continued profits drove the new share buyback program, following a similar $1 billion share buyback announced in April and completed in the fiscal third quarter.

The credit card payment processor on Wednesday reported fiscal third-quarter net income of $1 billion, or $1.43 per Class A common share, up from $716 million, or 97 cents per share, a year ago.

Excluding the one-time, noncash gain on its Visa Europe put option, Visa earned $883 million, or $1.26 per share.

Analysts estimated Visa would report net income of $1.23 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net operating revenue increased 14 percent to $2.3 billion from a year ago.

Total payment volumes increased 17 percent to $941 billion from $802 billion.

Visa's international business is becoming a larger portion of its quarterly results. Payments outside the U.S. -- $422 billion -- accounted for 44 percent of Visa's third quarter volume, up from 41 percent a year ago, when such payments totaled $333 billion.

Visa shares closed down 1.6 percent, or $1.45, at $87.75 on the New York Stock Exchange before results were announced.

(Reporting by Joe Rauch; Editing by Steve Orlofsky, Phil Berlowitz)