MasterCard Inc's fourth-quarter profit soared 41 percent, beating expectations, as consumers around the world spent more money using credit and debit cards.

The world's second-largest credit and debit card processing network on Thursday reported a quarterly profit of $415 million, or $3.16 per share. That compared with a year-ago profit of $294 million, or $2.24 per share.

Analysts on average had expected $3.04 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue rose almost 11 percent to $1.43 billion, slightly above expectations. Chief Executive Ajay Banga said revenue growth showed quarter-over-quarter improvement in all regions.

MasterCard and its larger rival Visa Inc are increasingly looking abroad for growth. The U.S. market is relatively saturated, as most people already use credit or debit cards, and new U.S. regulations are expected to limit the card industry's revenue.

MasterCard's cross-border volumes, which indicate that people are traveling more and using their cards in foreign countries, grew almost 19 percent in the fourth quarter.

On Wednesday Visa reported a 16 percent increase in quarterly profit, to $884 million or $1.23 per share.

MasterCard shares were fractionally lower in premarket trading.

(Reporting by Maria Aspan, editing by Maureen Bavdek and John Wallace)