MasterCard's first-quarter profit rose 25 percent on a big spike in card use overseas.
The Purchase, N.Y.-based payments processor said Wednesday that its net income was $682 million, or $5.36 per share, on revenue of $1.8 billion. That exceeded Wall Street's expectations of a profit of $5.29 per share, on revenue of $1.73 billion.
Purchase volume, the amount people spent on debit and credit cards with MasterCard logos, rose 17 percent worldwide. Ajay Banga, MasterCard's chief executive officer, said it was the company's highest quarterly growth rate since its IPO.
In the last couple of years, MasterCard Inc. has focused on expanding its international business by acquiring an international card processing system called DataCash and a global prepaid travel card manager called Access Prepaid Worldwide.
Both of those acquisitions have paid off in the quarter, contributing to 25 percent profit growth, said Banga.
During the first quarter of 2012, MasterCard repurchased 652,500 shares at a cost of approximately $248 million. The company said it is authorized to repurchase another $556 million worth of stock.
Mastercard Inc. says it increased rebates and incentives, a common practice in the industry where processors offer banks and other issuers breaks to persuade them to switch the logos on the cards they offer their customers.
In the quarter costs related to such incentives grew 24 percent, taking a bite out of the company's quarterly revenue. Analysts don't like to see too much of an increase in these costs because it weakens results.
In pre-market trading, MasterCard's stock fell just under 1 percent to $452.
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