MasterCard Profits Pop 14% on Higher Card Usage

Fueled by a double-digit jump in global purchase volume, MasterCard (NYSE:MA) beat the Street on Thursday by reporting a 14% increase in third-quarter profits.

Shares of the world’s second-largest payment network advanced about 1% in the wake of the stronger-than-expected results.

MasterCard said it earned $879 million, or $7.27 a share, last quarter, compared with a profit of $772 million, or $6.17 a share, a year earlier. Analysts had been projecting EPS of $6.95.

Revenue jumped 16% to $2.22 billion, exceeding consensus calls for $2.13 billion.

"We had another good quarter with growth across all geographies," MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga said in a statement.

MasterCard’s growth was driven by a 15% increase in gross dollar volume to $1 trillion, on a local currency basis. Worldwide purchase volume rose 14% last quarter.

The card giant said the number of processed transactions totaled 10 billion, up 16% from the year before. Cross-border volumes soared 19%.

MasterCard said these metrics were somewhat offset by rising rebates and incentives, which are used to lure in new members and retain current ones.

Also, MasterCard reported a 14% increase in total operating expenses to $970 million amid personnel and marketing costs.

MasterCard reported buying about 575,000 shares of its Class A common stock during the third quarter at a cost of about $345 million. The company still has $912 million remaining under its current buyback program.

Shares of Purchase, N.Y.-based MasterCard ticked up 1.28% to $734.99 following the results. The gains put MasterCard on track to add to its 2013 rally of almost 48%.

Earlier this week, Visa (NYSE:V) logged a 28% drop in quarterly profits due to a tough year-earlier comparison and despite a surge in credit-card transactions.