Expenses declined 13 percent to $722 million, excluding special items, as the company trimmed advertising and marketing spending by 36 percent and reduced personnel and administrative costs.
It is a question of cost control, said Robert Dodd, an analyst at Morgan, Keegan & Co. Marketing and advertising expenses were much lower than I expected. The better-than-expected earnings are the catalyst of the stock rise.
Second-quarter net income was $349 million, or $2.67 per share, compared with a loss of $747 million, or $5.70 per share, a year earlier.
Excluding special items, earnings were $2.67 a share, topping analysts' average forecast of $2.43, according to Reuters Estimates.
Net revenue rose 2.7 percent to $1.3 billion, boosted by higher fees and increased use of credit cards by consumers. Those gains were partially offset by the appreciation of the U.S. dollar, in particular against the euro and the Brazilian real.
The company's bigger rival, Visa Inc
MasterCard's processed transactions grew 7.9 percent in the quarter to 5.6 billion.
But gross dollar volume fell 0.6 percent to $595 billion on a local-currency basis, reflecting a decrease in the United States and a slowdown in Europe, Canada, Asia and Latin America.
MasterCard shares rose 6.5 percent to $200.73 in premarket trade.
(Reporting by Juan Lagorio; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and John Wallace)