MasterCard Inc reported a quarterly profit that handily topped market estimates as more people, particularly in Asia, opted to use credit and debit cards instead of cash.
The No. 2 credit and debit card network's third-quarter profit was helped by higher consumer spending in the United States. But growth in U.S. purchase volumes was the lowest in a year, at 7.4 percent compared with 13.7 percent a year earlier.
Purchase volume growth, excluding the United States, came in at a more robust 14.5 percent, with purchase volumes in Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Asia growing at 19.5 percent.
MasterCard has been boosting its presence outside the United States, cashing in on higher-growth markets in Asia and the Nordic countries.
MasterCard signed an exclusive partnership with Sweden's Nordea Bank during the quarter, doubling its share of cards with the lender.
"We think we can double our market share in the Nordic and Baltic regions for the next three years, further extending our presence in these markets that are actually doing relatively well," Chief Executive Ajay Banga said on a post-earnings conference call.
In India, MasterCard signed deals with travel company Thomas Cook to provide foreign exchange prepaid cards, and with ICICI Bank and Western Union Co, for a reloadable prepaid card.
MasterCard's customers, including banks and prepaid card companies across the world, had issued 1.9 billion of the company's cards as of September 30.
CONSUMER SPENDING BOOSTS PROFIT
Increased consumer spending worldwide raised MasterCard's third-quarter profit. Net income rose 8 percent to $772 million, or $6.17 per share, from $717 million, or $5.63 per share, a year earlier.
Analysts on average were expecting earnings of $5.92 per share, excluding one-time items, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Revenue rose 5 percent to $1.92 billion, but fell short of the $1.94 billion analysts had expected.
MasterCard continues to expect second-half revenue growth to be lower than the levels it saw in the second quarter due to the timing of deals and global economic uncertainty, Chief Financial Officer Martina Hund-Mejean said on the call.
Shares of the Purchase, New York-based payment network, which has a market value of about $56 billion, were up 1.2 percent at $458.36 on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday morning.
MasterCard's results bode well for top payment network Visa Inc, which is scheduled to report later in the day.
Visa shares were up 1 percent at $139.73.
(Reporting by Jochelle Mendonca in Bangalore; Editing by Sreejiraj Eluvangal, Supriya Kurane)