MasterCard credit cards are seen in this illustrative photograph taken in London December 8, 2010. Hackers have crashed the website of credit card firm MasterCard in apparent retaliation for its blocking of donations to the Wikileaks website it was reported on Wednesday.   REUTERS/Jonathan Bainbridge (BRITAIN - Tags: BUSINESS IMAGES OF THE DAY)

MasterCard credit cards are seen in this illustrative photograph taken in London December 8, 2010. Hackers have crashed the website of credit card firm MasterCard in apparent retaliation for its blocking of donations to the Wikileaks website it was ... reported on Wednesday. REUTERS/Jonathan Bainbridge (BRITAIN - Tags: BUSINESS IMAGES OF THE DAY) (Reuters)

MasterCard 1Q Beats as Card Swipes Grow

By Features FOXBusiness

MasterCard (MA) reported a better-than-expected 21% increase in first-quarter profit Wednesday, as more customers used cards for transactions and the payments processor expanded its global footprint.

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The No.2 credit card operator behind Visa (V) posted net income of $682 million, or $5.36 a share, compared with a year-earlier $562 million, or $4.29.

The results were ahead of average analyst estimates of $5.30 in a Thomson Reuters poll.

Revenue for the three-month period was up 17% to $1.8 billion from $1.5 billion in 2011, beating the Street’s view of $1.73 billion. That was led by an 18% jump in cross-border volumes and gross dollar volume and a 29% improvement to 7.7 billion in processed transactions.

A 17% increase in worldwide purchase volume to $629 billion as of March 31 was partially offset by an increase in rebates and 24% jump in incentives offered to new and renewing customers.

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“We had a good start to the year with solid first quarter results driven by an increase in processed transactions, the highest quarterly growth rate since our IPO, as well as positive volume growth in all regions as consumers continue to adopt electronic payments,” MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga said in a statement.

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The company continues to expand its global presence into new emerging markets, a trend seen industry-wide. Recently, DataCash, a company MasterCard bought in 2010 for $520 million, launched a new online payment service in Japan, the world’s third largest e-commerce market.

Its $458 million purchase of e-payment provider Travelex, which it has since renamed Access Prepaid Worldwide, has also helped MasterCard grow outside the U.S. The two businesses together contributed 25% in operational increases last quarter.

In February, the credit and debit card giant inked a deal with SAP AG (SAP) subsidiary Sybase 265, Comviva and Utiba Mobility to expand its mobile payments platform in emerging markets.