Welcome to Visa’s Fiscal First Quarter 2021 Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] Today’s conference is being recorded. If you have any objections you may disconnect at this time.
I would now like to turn the conference over to your host, Mr. Mike Milotich, Senior Vice President of Investor Relations. Mr. Milotich, you may now begin.
Mike Milotich — Senior Vice President of Investor Relations
Thank you, Michelle. Good afternoon everyone and welcome to Visa’s fiscal first quarter 2021 earnings call. Joining us today are Al Kelly, Visa’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; and Vasant Prabhu, Visa’s Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer. This call is being webcast on the Investor Relations section of our website at www.investor.visa.com. The replay will be archived on our site for 30 days. The slide deck containing financial and statistical highlights will be posted on our IR website. Let me remind you that this presentation includes forward-looking statements.
These statements are not guarantees of future performance and our actual results could differ materially as a result of many factors. Additional information concerning those factors is available in our most recent reports on Forms 10-K and 10-Q, which you can find on the SEC’s website and the Investor Relations section of our website. For historical non-GAAP financial information disclosed in this call the related GAAP measures and reconciliation are available in today’s earnings release.
With that, let me turn the call over to Al.
Alfred F. Kelly, Jr. — Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Thank you, Mike, and good afternoon and thank you for joining us today. Even with vaccine proliferation on the horizon, COVID-19 infection has really continued to rise causing restrictions to be implemented in many parts of the world. Amidst the pandemic, Visa delivered strong financial results in our fiscal first quarter, and our strategy to enable money movement globally remains clear pursuing growth through consumer payments, new flows and value-added services. On our call today let me discuss our Q1 results and then provide detail on our momentum this quarter with clients and the valuable solutions they utilize to drive money movement globally. As I review our Q1 results recall, we are growing over a quarter where no one had ever heard of COVID-19.
Payments volume, processed transactions to cross-border volume all improved from Q4. Payments volume improved half a point, processing transaction growth improved a point and cross-border volume improved 8 points. Net revenues in the fiscal first quarter were $5.7 billion, a year-over-year decrease of 6%. Non-GAAP EPS was $1.42, a decrease of 3%. Through our dividends and buybacks, we returned $2.5 billion of capital to shareholders in Q1. Vasant will cover spending in great detail so I’ll only make a few high-level comments on holiday spending. U.S. holiday spending was quite different this year but had a similar overall growth for the last three years of holiday season led by strong retail growth, somewhat offset by, travel, entertainment and fuel. This year in the U.S., we generally saw a continuation of the trends that have been occurring during COVID.
Strong debit and e-commerce and weaker credit and card present. Outside the United States, holiday retail spending growth broadly accelerated with growth in Canada, the UK, Brazil and Australia, all rising by five or more points over last year. Now, let me transition to our progress with clients. We continue to win and renew business as we transfer money movement globally through consumer payments, new flows and value-added services. In consumer payments, we continue to focus on digitizing $18 trillion spend in cash and check globally by working with partners to grow endpoints and deepen customer engagement with innovation. We are growing credentials with traditional issuers, fintech’s and wallets.
Let me start with North America. We are very pleased to have renewed our longstanding partnership with Wells Fargo across consumer debit, credit, small business and commercial for the next six years. The Bank of Montreal, Canada’s fourth largest bank and the only top five Canadian bank not previously issuing with Visa announced a new partnership with us to issue two affluent lifestyle credit card products in the Canadian market. These products are digital-first targeting the affluent millennial segment and offers strong rewards and value to cardholders in a differentiated and innovative way. In our Asia-Pacific region, we won the debit business of Malaysia’s AmBank after winning the credit business just a quarter ago.
Our relationship with LINE Pay also deepened this quarter on two fronts; first in Japan, LINE Pay is now issuing a Visa virtual prepaid card; and second, Visa secured an exclusive partnership with Line BK, Thailand’s first social banking platform issuance of Visa debit cards. Within the first month Line BK issued 180,000 Visa debit credentials. In Russia, YooMoney, one of the country’s largest electronic payment services with more than a 120,000 merchants worldwide and 40 million endpoints signed on Visa credentials in their wallet and enabled Visa Direct. In Europe, we had several notable wins as we continue to increase our business on the continent. Visa has secured a business agreement with Santander Group becoming the preferred partner in credit and commercial [Indecipherable] their banks across seven countries in Continental Europe.
We also won the prepaid issuance of Mooney, the first proximity banking and payments company in Italy, which offers their services through both digital and retail channel with over 45,000 points of sale in rural and urban areas that can reach 20 million customers. Isbank, the largest private bank in Turkey, with 20 million cards has selected Visa for its consumer and commercial credit and debit portfolio. Last, we renewed two portfolios with a leading UK issuer, one for consumer credit, and one for commercial charge card. We also continue to deepen engagement with our partners to find new ways to remove friction and enhance the client experience through innovation. Just yesterday, we announced the global partnership with TransferWise and the first use case of Visa Cloud Connect, a new way to securely connect to VisaNet through the cloud.
The new platform will enable the expansion of the TransferWise’s multi-currency debit cards in Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, the UK and the U.S. and deliver a range of financial services via mobile app to their customers, including currency exchange and P2P payments all linked to a Visa card. Tap to Pay continues to expand representing almost two-thirds of all face-to-face transactions excluding the United States. In the United States, we have approximately 300 million contactless cards in place now and have high single-digit penetration of face-to-face transactions. Even at this level, the U.S. is now the fourth largest country in the number of Tap to Pay transactions. Enablement continues to grow as all 500 of Costco’s fuel locations and Chipotle and the Western stores now except Tap to Pay.
I’m also pleased to report that the New York City MTA has completed their roll out to all subways and buses. Processing is also a way to bring Visa’s innovations to market and we have made significant progress in Latin America this past quarter in Ecuador, Colombia, and Peru and now we’ve reached 100% processing penetration in Chile. As I close out the consumer payments section, I wanted to note some progress in India. We continue to grow credentials. The Amazon Pay, ICICI bank co-branded credit card in India has set a country record by issuing over a million cards in just 20 months. On the acceptance front, India now has 6.5 million acceptance points including over 1 million QR points, up almost 20 percentage points from a year ago and 65% of all terminals are Tap to Pay enabled. The Reserve Bank of India recently raised the contactless limit, which will soon cover 90% plus of all transactions in India.
Visa has entered into new partnerships with leading acquirers such as SBI Payments to large acceptance solutions such as Tap to Phone and contactless. And Visa is partnering with the largest acquirer in India, HDFC Bank in the launch and scale up of smart hub, an app solution bundling payments, banking and value-added services to help small merchants grow their businesses. We’re also contributing to India’s payment infrastructure development fund to encourage growth of physical and digital acceptance in underpenetrated geography by adding 1 million points of sale and 2 million QR points per year over the next three years. All of these efforts build on our leading credit and debit market share in India.
Now onto the second lever of growth, new flows, which represents a $185 trillion in opportunity. We are pursuing this opportunity with our traditional commercial card solutions as well as newer capabilities like Visa Direct and Visa B2B Connect. While we’re making progress across all new flows, I’ll highlight a few advancements from this quarter. In B2C, big economy payouts and earned wage access continue to grow meaningfully in the wake of COVID. This quarter with DoorDash, we launched the DasherDirect business prepaid card in the U.S., offering the over 1 million Dashers on the DoorDash platform access to daily deposits of earned wages and rich card benefits. In Canada, SkipTheDishes, the country’s largest food delivery network rolled out their Visa Direct enabled courier payouts called Fast Cash.
P2P, which represents $20 trillion of the flows was Visa Direct’s first use case and continues to grow substantially. A key area of future growth is cross-border P2P or remittance. Four of the top five global money transfer operators were on-boarded in fiscal year ’20, TransferWise, Western Union, Remitly and MoneyGram, which noted a 500% increase year-over-year in real-time transfers in December alone. Our efforts to expand remittance also extends to fintech’s and banks who can enable this capability. Zeepay, a fast growing African fintech will use Visa Direct to allow Africans to send money across European and North American corridors and soon will expand to all major corridors globally. TransferGo, a global money transfer company that supports migrant workers to send money back to their relatives without paying unnecessary bank fees has enabled Visa Direct in 55 markets and has the potential to expand to a total of 178 countries in the future with its upcoming additions such as the UK, Italy and Nigeria.
Across the globe, in the first quarter, Visa Direct transactions grew almost 60%. Now, onto B2B; cross-border Goldman Sachs transaction banking recently signed on to employ Visa B2B Connect for cross-border B2B money movement offering its corporate clients the ability to transact at over 80 markets globally. We are very pleased that our partnership with Goldman continues to deepen on multiple fronts. In the virtual card-based business, we’ve expanded our relationship with UK-based Conferma Pay to launch Visa Commercial Pay, which has three offerings: a mobile app, enabling virtual card issuance and management for business incidentals; two, a solution to manage business travel spend with enhanced data; and three, an integrated payables platform that could seamlessly send payments to suppliers.
Barclays has already launched this functionality for their commercial clients. Currently, essentially all of these new flows are transacted in traditional Fiat currencies, but there is a growing interest in digital currencies and I wanted to take a minute to talk about how Visa thinks about crypto in general and our approach. In this space, we see ways that we can add differentiated value to the ecosystem. And we believe that we are uniquely positioned to help make crypto currencies more safe, useful and applicable for payments through our global presence, our partnership approach and our trusted brand. We think of the crypto market in two segments. First, there are crypto currencies that represent new assets such as Bitcoin. Second, there are digital currencies or Stablecoins that are directly backed by existing Fiat currencies.
We see all currencies in that first segment as Digital Gold. They are predominantly held as assets that are not used as a form of payment in a significant way at this point. Our strategy here is to work with wallets and exchanges to enable users to purchase these currencies using their Visa credentials or to cash out onto a Visa credential to make a Fiat purchase at any of the 70 million merchants where Visa’s accepted globally. This is similar to our approach to connect closed loop wallets such as LINE Pay and Paytm. For the second segment, Fiat backed digital currencies including Stablecoins and Central Bank digital currencies these are an emerging payments innovation that could have the potential to be used for global commerce much like any other Fiat currency. We think of digital currencies running on public blockchains as additional networks just like RTP or ACH networks.
So we see them as part of our network of networks strategy. Across both of these segments we are the clear leader in this space today. Today, 35 of the leading digital currency platforms and wallets have already chosen to issue Visa including client based crypto.com, BlockFi, Fold and Bitpanda. These wallet relationships represent the potential for more than 50 million Visa credentials. The next leading network has a fraction of that. And it goes without saying to the extent specific digital currency becomes a recognized means of exchange, there is no reason why we cannot add it to our network, which already is supporting over 160 currencies today. Let me now turn to our third growth lever, value-added services. Here we saw revenue grow at 19% in Q1.
And let me name a few services with notable progress this quarter. As e-commerce explodes interest in Cybersource remained strong for merchants as well as from fintechs and acquirers looking to leverage our capabilities to offer to their clients. This quarter two additional leading acquirers signed to use Cybersource, KBank in Thailand and NAB in Australia. As one of the largest debit and prepaid issuer processes, we’ve been looking to expand Visa DPS globally. In that vein, we are pleased to share that we’re bringing our Visa Debit Processing System to Europe. DKB, our largest issuing bank in Germany has chosen DPS as its debit processor and recently processed Visa’s inaugural European DPS transaction via their platform. DKB will also be able to take advantage of nearly 20 value-added services through this connection. We have believed for years that installments represent an important opportunity in payments.
To enable this capability we offer our own network solution for issuers, merchants and fintech installment provided to use directly or also work with many — and we also work of many installment providers to develop new solutions. This quarter we had updates on both fronts. We signed a global deal with Afterpay extending our U.S. relationship to an additional seven countries where Afterpay will use Visa technology to accelerate its global expansion. In addition, Visa and Afterpay will test and collaborate on the application of new technologies like tokenization and Visa Direct. We announced in July, that Commerce Bank in the United States was piloting the network solution and it has now launched with about 300,000 customers live. Visa also signed Scotiabank as the first Canadian bank to launch a post-purchase installment pilot that was [Indecipherable] in December with a full market rollout slated for mid-2021.
All of these growth levers, consumer payments, new flows and value-added services are driven by our network of networks strategy, which is enabling all forms of payment, utilizing all networks and providing the value-added services you would expect from Visa as we enable money movement. In closing, a few points; domestic volumes driven by debit and e-commerce are really holding up well. Holiday spending while different in terms of categories and timing was quite good. Q1 overall was a very solid quarter and positive momentum continued albeit we are still impacted by COVID-19.
We are continuing to work very hard to balance expense management in recognition of the short-term realities and investing in an exciting set of growth opportunities as we always manage the business for the long-term. We continue to be focused on our three growth levers all of which are supported by our network of networks. And lastly, we are hopeful that as vaccines roll out and become more readily available lockdowns, travel restrictions and capacity constraints will be lessened or eliminated enabling travel, entertainment and other commerce to grow.
With that, over to the Vasant for more color on our volumes and our financials.
Vasant Prabhu — Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer
Thank you, Al. Good afternoon, everyone. During our fiscal first quarter last year COVID-19 was not yet a word in the English language. This will be the last quarter where our performance is compared to a quarter with no COVID impact whatsoever. As such our results this quarter provide a clear picture of the state of the recovery. Overall, the quarter was stronger than we expected with net revenue down 6% largely due to the cross-border business. EPS declined only 3% helped by lower expenses and a lower tax rate. Exchange rate shifts versus last year increased reported net revenue growth by less than half a point and EPS growth by less than one point. As we approach the first anniversary of the pandemic, where do we stand across our key business drivers relative to where we might have been had the pandemic never happened?
Global payments volume is four to five points short of where we might have been. Debit has outperformed helped by accelerated cash displacement and credit is still a drag. In the U.S., we are actually back to our pre-pandemic growth trajectory with debit significantly ahead offsetting credit underperformance. As you know, where we are well behind is in our cross-border business. In the first quarter of fiscal ’21 our cross-border volumes were almost 40% lower excluding Intra-Europe volumes than they might have been had the pandemic never happened, largely due to travel. Cross-border travel volume both card present and card-not-present is still down almost 70% relative to where it might have been at this point. Let’s start with the review of the key business drivers in the fiscal first quarter. Global payments volume and transaction growth rates were modestly better than the prior quarter.
The cross-border volume recovery continued even as most borders remain completely or partially closed. The trajectory of the domestic spending recovery varies across the globe. Some regions and countries are recovering fast. Others are holding steady, while some have slowed in recent weeks as a result of new restrictions. What remains consistent globally is very strong debit and e-commerce spending, which is partially offset by weaker credit and in-store spending. Although constant dollar cross-border volume excluding transactions within Europe is still down 33%, there was an 8 point improvement from last quarter. Payments volume on a constant dollar basis grew 4.5%. Debit was up 17%, 3 percentage points lower than last quarter, while credit declined 6%, up 3 percentage points from Q4.
Growth excluding China was 7%, up almost a point as Chinese domestic volumes continue to be impacted by dual branded card conversions, which have minimal revenue impact. U.S. volume growth — U.S. payments volume growth was 8%, up half a point from last quarter. Debit growth remained strong at 21%. Debit growth was 3 points lower than the fourth quarter, largely driven by a step down in unemployment benefits distributed via Visa prepaid cards. Credit spending declined 3% year-over-year, a 4 point improvement versus last quarter, driven by an acceleration in retail spending and some recovery in travel and restaurants spending. Card-not-present volume excluding travel continued to grow over 30% in the quarter, primarily driven by retail spending.
The decline in card present spending was consistent with last quarter. However, performance did deteriorate through the quarter as rising COVID cases led to further government impose restrictions in several states and cities. Card present spending slowdowns were more significant in the restaurant segment as well as during the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend across small segments. Across spend category growth was relatively consistent with the prior quarter. Categories which have been growing above their pre-COVID levels have remained elevated including food and drug stores, home Improvement and retail goods. For categories that are the hardest hit by this pandemic including travel, entertainment, fuel and restaurants spending remain depressed with year-over-year declines consistent with last quarter.
International payments volume grew 2% in Q1 or 6% excluding China, both of which are up one point versus last quarter. A few regional highlights; CEMEA remains our best performing region growing 19% in constant dollars in the quarter, a more than 4 point improvement over Q4. The easing of COVID-related restrictions, particularly in the Middle East and client wins drove the robust growth. Latin America grew 16% in constant dollars, a nearly 10 point acceleration from last quarter. This growth acceleration is fueled by limited COVID-related restrictions in most countries, elevated e-commerce spending compared to other regions and growing our market share with client wins in the few of the larger countries. Europe grew 5% in constant dollars, a 4 point slowdown versus last quarter. This deceleration was driven partially by renewed restrictions in the second half of the quarter due to rapidly rising COVID infection rates, particularly in the UK, France, Italy and Germany.
And also, as you may remember growth in Europe last quarter benefited from a non-recurring event in the UK related to purchases of higher interest bearing savings funds. Asia-Pacific declined 8% in constant dollars. Excluding China Q1 spending was flat, a 4 point improvement since last quarter. There continue to be more COVID-related restrictions in effect across Asia than other parts of the world. However, several larger markets such as New Zealand, Australia, Korea and Japan have returned to growth. Process transactions growth was 4%, up 1 point from last quarter. Growth accelerated faster than payments volume as transaction sizes continue to normalize ex-Europe. Increased COVID-related restrictions in Europe are driving higher average ticket sizes causing transactions growth to slow.
Latin America is benefiting from processing wins in several countries including Ecuador, Colombia, Peru and Chile. Visa Direct continues to perform very well with transactions growing almost 60% globally this quarter. Growth remained strong in every region as we continue to launch new use cases, further penetrate existing use cases such as earned wage access and cross-border remittance and expand existing use cases to new geographies. Constant dollar cross-border volume excluding transactions within Europe declined 33% in Q1, an 8 point improvement from the last quarter. Travel related spend declined 64%, but improved 6 points versus the fourth quarter. Card-not-present non-travel growth was 20%, up 3 points fueled by strong retail spending in November and December. Constant dollar cross-border volume including transactions within Europe declined 21% in the quarter.
Although cross-border travel performance improved steadily through the quarter the travel improvement was concentrated in only a few markets where borders were open. Travel from the U.S. to several countries in Latin America remained strong, including Mexico and the Caribbean. The UAE has been open to travelers attracting people from Europe, Russia and other Gulf countries. Also, travel across countries within the former Soviet Union has been growing. Unfortunately, the majority of borders remain closed or impose significant requirements on international travelers. The World Tourism Organization reported in December that out of 217 countries, 118 countries or 54% still had completely or partially closed their borders to foreign visitors. Of the remaining 99 countries the majority are mandating COVID tests with quarantine. Very few countries have no COVID restrictions.
Significant obstacles in crossing borders remain the single most important factor driving the slow recovery of cross-border travel. A quick review of first quarter financial results; net revenue declined 6% better than our expectations primarily due to stronger-than-expected cross-border volumes and lower client incentives. Value-added services continued to perform well growing 19%. It’s important to note that had we recognized service revenues on current quarter payments volume, it would have had minimal impact on our Q1 net revenue growth because payment volume growth was very similar across both quarters. Service revenues grew 5% roughly in line with nominal payments volume growth last quarter. Data processing grew 6% with high teens value-added services growth continuing to be partially offset by the mix shift away from higher yielding cross-border transactions.
International transaction revenues were down 28%, 4 points better than cross-border volumes excluding Intra-Europe due to favorable country mix and currency volatility benefits. Other revenues grew 5% led by value-added services but continue to be negatively impacted by declines in the usage of travel-related card benefits. Client incentives were 24.6% of gross revenues approximately one point lower than expected. This was driven by three factors. First, a few large deals expected to be signed in the first quarter were delayed to the second quarter. Second, cross-border volume was better than we expected, particularly in the month of December. As we have said in the past, client incentives are mostly tied to payments volume so outperformance in high yielding cross-border volume lowers our incentives as a percent of gross revenues.
And third, payments volume growth only improved a half point versus last quarter. As such, there was minimal impact on current quarter client incentives from current quarter volume. On the operating expense front, we continue to benefit from actions we implemented last spring. Our headcount is lower. Our spending on external services has been scaled back. Travel continues to be very restricted and some marketing spend has been curtailed. Both GAAP and non-GAAP operating expenses declined 10%, which is better than expected, partly due to timing shifts in client co-marketing, as well as certain product and technology investments to later in the year. Non-GAAP, non-operating expense was $112 million for the fiscal quarter. This was over $30 million lower than expected due to two non-recurring items. First, investment income tied to deferred compensation was higher. This is offset in personnel costs and therefore income neutral. And second, an interest expense reserve was released due to the conclusion of certain tax audits.
The non-GAAP tax rate was lower than expected at 16.6%. During the quarter the conclusion of tax audits in certain jurisdictions resulted in an $81 million benefit. In addition to this specific benefit, our tax rate is typically lower in the first quarter due to the impact of employee equity vesting. GAAP and non-GAAP EPS was $1.42, a decrease of 3%. We bought 8.7 million shares of Class A common stock at an average price of $202.30 for $1.8 billion this quarter. Our Board has authorized a new $8 billion share repurchase program bringing total funds available for repurchases to over $11 billion. Including our quarterly dividend of $0.32 per share, we returned approximately $2.5 billion of capital to shareholders in the quarter. In December, we repaid $3 billion of debt upon maturity of senior notes issued 5 years ago. Moving on to some perspectives on the second fiscal quarter starting with business driver trends through January 21; through January 21, U.S. payments volume growth was 12% with U.S. debit growing 30% and credit declining 6%.
Debit growth is 10 points higher than the November-December run rate fueled by government stimulus payments distributed right around January 1. Weekly growth trend show a sharp step up in growth in the first week of January and the step down in week three. January credit growth has slowed 3 point since December, which is more in line with the November trend. While US payments volume growth has accelerated, there are many countries where constant dollar growth is slowing due to increased restrictions as COVID infections rise. In Asia-Pacific, Japan, Australia, India and Singapore payments volume growth has slowed 4 points to 5 points versus December. In Europe countries such as the UK, Italy, Denmark and Germany all have at least 10 points slower growth in January.
So far, growth rates are relatively steady in both CEMEA and Latin America. Through January 21, processed transactions growth remained at 4% with acceleration in the U.S. offset by slowing growth including transactions within Europe on a constant dollar basis declined 33% in line with the first quarter, but below the trends we saw in December. In a fast-changing environment accurate forecasting remains difficult. How long will elevated spending driven by stimulus payments last? How long will stepped up restrictions and lockdowns persist? How will these two countervailing trends balance out country-by-country? Will cross-border travel sustain the slow recovery even as some new restrictions go into place? These are just some of the uncertainties as we look ahead to the next few months. Based on the trends to this point our best sense is that the second quarter gross revenue growth rate will recover to be flattish with last year with most of the improvement driven by international revenues.
Growth in other — in the other revenue lines is expected to have a small uptick due to easier year-over-year comparisons in the second half of March. First quarter client incentives were a point below our expectation. Second quarter client incentives could be a point above the high end of the 25.5% to 26.5% range we expect for the year. This would put first half incentives right in the middle of the range. There are several reasons for this step-up of client incentives as a percent of gross revenues in the second quarter even with continued improvement in cross-border. First, as I mentioned earlier, a few large deals moved from the first to the second quarter, one of which Wells Fargo was signed in January as Al noted. Second, as we told you in October, many clients did not meet certain volume threshold in calendar year 2020 and as such did not earn corresponding incentives.
As volume recovers in 2021, we expect clients will hit growth thresholds and earn these incentives. We accrue incentives accordingly starting with the first quarter of the new calendar year. This causes a larger increase unique to the year of the recovery. And third, the impact of renewals we had already expected in the second quarter. Due to the step up in client incentives as a percent of gross revenue, the net revenue decline in the second quarter is expected to be comparable to the decline we’re reporting in the first quarter even as the gross revenue growth rate continues to recover. Exchange rate shifts could benefit second quarter net revenue growth by less than a point.
We expect operating expenses to grow in the low to mid single digits in the second quarter as we begin to lap the expense reductions implemented last year. We still plan to grow expenses in the double digits in the second half as we step up investments on three key growth initiatives in anticipation of a return to normalcy by the end of fiscal 2021. Non-operating expense should be a $145 million approximately, which is similar to the first quarter if you exclude the two non-recurring items I mentioned earlier. There is no change in our tax rate expectations. It is still too early to predict what impact the U.S. elections will have on our taxes. As always, we will provide updates as the year progresses.
In summary, as you can see, our business remains resilient. Both debit and e-commerce growth are sustaining well above pre-COVID levels as the accelerated shift to digital payments becomes a habit. Cross-border growth is poised to recover sharply once vaccines facilitate reopening of borders and we lap last year’s steep declines. Our new flows and value-added services businesses have continued to grow robustly through the worst of the pandemic. As Al indicated, we have stayed focused on our long-term growth initiatives, and will be stepping up the level of investment in the second half in anticipation of a post-COVID world with accelerating growth.
With that, I’ll turn this back to Mike.
Mike Milotich — Senior Vice President of Investor Relations
We are now ready to take questions, Michelle.
We are still processing the Q&A portion of the conference call. We will be updating it as soon as we analyze and process the con call. Stay tuned here for more updates.