MasterCard Earnings Rise on Increased Card Processing Transactions

MasterCard said that quarterly earnings soared nearly 70%, as it processed more credit and debit card transactions globally.

The results trounced analysts' average expectations, and sent the company's shares up as much as $13 or 11%.

Economists are increasingly concerned about the health of consumer spending, which in March grew at its slowest rate in five months. Sales of homes and U.S. autos are declining, and the overall economy grew at a paltry annualized rate of 1.3% in the first quarter.

But MasterCard's total dollar volume of transactions increased 16.4%, and the number of transactions processed rose 19.4% during the first quarter, as the number of MasterCard credit and debit cards grew 11.3%.

MasterCard Chief Executive Robert Selander told CNBC, “We had a great quarter.”

He pointed to “spending on our cards around the world,” which rose 16% in Latin America and 47% in the combined market of Africa, South Asia and the Middle East. Then, he cited transaction processing for merchants, which garners “click fees” for each transaction. Selander said more than 4 billion transactions were processed in the quarter.

MasterCard said first-quarter earnings rose to $214.9 million, or $1.57 a share, from $126.7 million, or 94 cents a share a year earlier.

Analysts had on average expected $1.16 a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Revenue rose 24% to $915 million during the quarter.

Advertising and market development expenses decreased to $178.5 million from $182.7 million a year earlier.

MasterCard went public in May 2006 at $39 a share.