MasterCard cards
Use of MasterCard credit cards exceeded Wall Street's highest estimates in the third quarter, boosted by international growth Reuters

MasterCard Incorporated (NYSE:MA) reported third-quarter earnings of $5.63 per share on revenues of $1.81 billion, blowing past analysts estimates that had expected the company to report earnings of 4.82 per share and revenues in the vicinity of 1.71 billion. The company’s results exceeded year-ago quarterly earnings and revenue by 42.89 percent and 27.31 percent, respectively.

“We are pleased with our strong results this quarter, which were driven by several factors including double-digit increases in volumes and processed transactions in most regions across the globe,” said Ajay Banga, MasterCard president and chief executive officer.

Indeed, worldwide volume in orders processed was up 17.2% worldwide, when compared to the same quarter a year ago. Growth was particularly strong in the Asia, Pacific and Middle East region. The area reflected a 35 percent increase in transaction volume when accounting for positive currency movements. When not adjusting for currency fluctuations, credit card holders in Latin America drove the largest spike in transaction volume, up 29.1 percent from a year ago.

MasterCard’s impressive results complete the trifecta of global credit card issuers who have reported surprisingly good quarterly earnings for the current period. On October 26, Visa Inc. (NYSE:V) beat analyst estimates for quarterly earnings by 2 cents, reporting a 12.6 increase in year-over-year revenue. Earlier in the month, American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) topped expectations by 9 cents, showing an increase in quarterly revenue of 8.6 percent.

During their earnings conference calls, Visa executives noted affluent customers were stepping up spending on credit cards at a rate faster than debit cards. While there is a long-term trend that keeps favoring plastic over paper, Visa explained then, new U.S. government limits on the fees banks can collect for debit transactions have provided incentives for financial institutions to promote credit card use.

MasterCard Incorporated, after setting both 52-week and historical highs earlier in the session, was selling for $362.16 per share during early-morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange, up $27.86 or 8.33 percent from the previous day’s close. Visa Inc. was also up, trading at $92.93, some $2.90 or 3.22 percent higher than the previous day’s close. American Express Company was up $1.31 or 2.67 percent, to $50.30 a share. All were outperforming the wider S&P 500 Index, which was up 1.37 percent.

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