LOS ANGELES – Visa Inc. returned to a profit in its fiscal third quarter, aided by strong revenue growth as it processed more charge and debit card transactions worldwide.

The results topped Wall Street estimates, and its shares rose more than 2 percent in after-hours trading on Wednesday.

The company also said its board authorized a share buyback program of $1.5 billion. And it raised its full-year adjusted earnings and revenue growth outlook.

Visa doesn’t issue cards. The company, based in Foster City, Calif., is the world’s largest processor of debit and credit-card payments, and makes money from processing card transactions. As such, it benefits from heightened consumer spending.

This year, the U.S. economy is showing more robust signs of growth, with employers having added an average 202,000 jobs the past six months, up from 180,000 in the previous six. The housing market is also gaining strength. And consumer confidence last month reached the highest level since January 2008, according to the Conference Board.