MasterCard Inc reported sharply higher third-quarter profits on Wednesday, easily beating Wall Street estimates on double-digit increases in volumes.

The company's chief executive also said on a conference call with analysts that consumers were still spending despite economic uncertainty, though growth comparisons will start to get harder from this month.

Shares were up 8.8 percent at $363.65 in morning trading. With those gains, the stock is up 61 percent for the year, against a 32 percent gain for competitor Visa and a 2 percent decline for the S&P 500 Index <.SPX>.

The company has increased efforts to poach U.S. business from Visa, just as Visa is expanding its international business.

Within the last year, MasterCard has signed contracts with banks including SunTrust Banks Inc to process card transactions, gaining clients that once worked with Visa.

MasterCard said on Wednesday it is also having some success internationally, with growth in transaction processing in Brazil and the Netherlands contributing to results and an expansion in Italy on the horizon.

We have really not seen any significant impact in Europe, given what's going on there, from an economic point of view, Chief Financial Officer Martina Hund-Mejean said on the conference call.

The Purchase, New York-based card processing company reported net income of $716 million, or $5.63 per share, up from $519 million or $3.94 per share a year before. Net income attributable to the company was $717 million, versus $518 million a year earlier.

Revenue rose more than 27 percent to $1.8 billion.

Analysts had estimated MasterCard would earn $4.82 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. It was the company's biggest earnings beat in the last two years, according to Thomson Reuters data.

MasterCard said gross dollar volume rose 18.1 percent, while transactions processed rose 20.5 percent.

For the rest of the year, MasterCard said its outlook is consistent with the guidance it gave at its investor day in September. It also maintained its long-term targets.

The company said it bought back $77 million worth of stock in the third quarter and has bought back another $3 million already in the current quarter, leaving $879 million left under its current program.

(Reporting by Joe Rauch in Charlotte, N.C., and Ben Berkowitz in New York, editing by Gerald E. McCormick, Dave Zimmerman and Matthew Lewis)