One way Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc. have weathered a global slowdown in transaction volume is by trimming their legendary advertising and marketing budgets, which hovered around $1 billion each last year.

For both companies, cutting such expenditures boosts the bottom line, but there are risks to the strategy, even in a severe recession. Advertising encourages consumers to switch more of their spending from cash and checks to plastic. This increases business for the networks' card-issuing bank customers.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.