MasterCard 1Q profits rise 17 percent on higher charge volume

Credit and debit card payment processor MasterCard said its profit rose 17 percent in the first quarter, as consumers across the globe spent more on their MasterCards.

The Purchase, New York-based company reported net income of $1.02 billion, up from $870 million a year earlier. On a per-share basis, MasterCard earned 89 cents versus 73 cents a year earlier. Net revenue was $2.23 billion.

MasterCard's profits beat expectations but the company's revenue fell slightly short. Analysts surveyed by FactSet were looking for MasterCard to earn 80 cents per share on $2.28 billion in revenue.

MasterCard showed strong growth on purchase volume, or the amount of money customers spent on their MasterCards. Purchase volume was $783 billion in the first quarter, up roughly 12 percent from a year earlier. Payment processors like MasterCard take a small percentage of each transaction as a fee for using their network.

MasterCard President and CEO Ajay Banga, in a conference call with investors, said one headwind the company faces is lower oil prices. Lower oil prices have meant consumers are spending less money overall on gas, and Banga said consumers are transferring those savings into paying off debt or savings accounts instead of spending on goods.

Banga also said that, like other global companies, MasterCard's results were hurt by the strong U.S. dollar. Total net revenue was up 3 percent from a year earlier, but would have been up 8 percent removing the impact of the dollar.

MasterCard shares rose $1.93, or 2.1 percent, to $92.16 in morning trading Wednesday.