MasterCard's First Quarter Profit Up 24 Percent, Beating Expectations

05/03/2011 09:30 am ET | Updated Jul 03, 2011

NEW YORK (Maria Aspan) - MasterCard Inc's first-quarter profit rose 24 percent, beating expectations, as consumers spent more money on their credit and debit cards.

The world's second-largest card processing network on Tuesday reported a profit of $562 million, or $4.29 per share. That compares with $455 million, or $3.46 per share, in the year-ago period.

Analysts on average had expected MasterCard to earn $4.10 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue rose 14.8 percent from a year earlier, to $1.5 billion, slightly above expectations, as more people around the world used their MasterCards. The company said that worldwide purchase volume during the quarter rose 12.9 percent on a local currency basis.

Chief Executive Officer Ajay Banga in an earnings release cited MasterCard's "solid volume and processed transaction growth," and said the company continues "to launch new products, enter new geographies and open new acceptance channels."

Banga, who took over the company last year, is increasingly turning MasterCard abroad for growth, in the face of U.S. regulation and rival Visa's dominance of the U.S. debit card processing market. The payments industry is hoping to find new sources of revenue through processing mobile or ecommerce payments in developing countries, where most consumers do not already use credit or debit cards.

(Reporting by Maria Aspan; editing by John Wallace, Dave Zimmerman)

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