Visa (V) - Get Report has been on a roll lately, with shares up about 14% over the past month. The credit card giant is fast approaching a market value of $200 billion and continues to implement new innovations that put it ahead of rivals. Here are three reasons why you should buy the stock now, before the holiday shopping season gets into full swing and boosts the stock further.

(Conversely, this group of 29 dangerous stocks is a terrible place for your money today.)

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V data by YCharts

1. Consistently robust earnings and revenue performance.

Visa boasts five-year average revenue growth of 13% and earnings per share growth of 33.4%. Further, the company boasts net margins of nearly 43%, a 21% return on equity and a free cash flow that has exceeded net income in the last 12 months.

In all these parameters, Visa is mostly ahead or in line with its peers such as American Express and MasterCard.

By being one of the early movers in the digital payment space, Visa has also shown innovation and is geared to utilize various technologies to process payments in this new landscape.

2) Smart dealmaking.

Visa has been successful lately in poaching big customers from rivals.

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The The United Services Automobile Association, one of the nation's largest issuers of debit and credit cards, is switching to Visa as its primary card network, breaking a 30-year relationship with MasterCard.

Visa also bagged the Costco account, as the retailer left longtime partner American Express.

As the world moves to a more digital payment environment, Visa has already put solutions in the marketplace such as Visa Checkout, and other mobile and digital solutions that make the most of this opportunity.

Visa also has allowed others to access Visa services in a way that positions them at the frontier of this revolution. As billions of Visa cards (as well as those of its rivals) are slowly phased out or merged with the mobile-app macrocosm, it's important for investors to appreciate Visa's long-term strategy to embrace smartphones and online payments.

This is what makes Visa an excellent investment choice, because it is not only firmly entrenched in the present but also prepared for the high-tech era of bill paying preferred by younger shoppers.

3) Increasing efficiency.

In last five years, Visa has generated nearly $14 billion in free cash flows. This positive metric largely stems from Visa's business model and how it manages to stay ahead of the competition. With almost no debt and nearly $5 billion in cash on the books, it can target small and big acquisitions without breaking a sweat.

Visa's rock-solid balance sheet, effective business model and proven history of adding shareholder value makes it a must buy before the holiday cash registers start to ring.

On the flip side, these extremely dangerous (but all-too-popular) stocks are a must sell.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.