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PURCHASE, N.Y. – MasterCard reported a 31% surge in second quarter profits yesterday, fueled by an increase in international transactions, price increases and cost cutting.

The cards giant reported second quarter net income rose to $458 million, compared with $349 million a year ago. Revenues for the quarter rose 7% to $1.37 billion.

MasterCard said the revenue increase reflected higher cross-border volumes, higher gross dollar volume of the transactions it processed and the impact of pricing changes of approximately 4%. Total operating expenses dropped 10% to $648 million. The decrease was led by a drop in severance and compensation costs as a result of layoffs in 2009.

U.S. credit card use edged down 1.5%, continuing a two-year decline but showing the smallest drop since the third quarter of 2008. Debit card edged up less than 1%. The figures together reflect continued sluggish consumer spending in the U.S.

Worldwide, credit card use rose 10%, while debit card use leaped 29%.

For the first six months of the year revenues rose almost 10% to $2.7 billion, and net income surged 27.5% to $913 million, compared to the first half last year.

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