Mastercard profit beats estimates as lower costs soften spending hit

MASTERCARD Inc’s quarterly profit beat analyst estimates on Thursday as lower costs helped dull the blow from fewer people using the payment processor’s cards during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The outbreak has hit large parts of the global retail industry as stores remain shut and shoppers stay at home to avoid catching the highly contagious illness.

Travel bans around the world have taken a toll on payment processors, with Mastercard reporting a 45% drop in cross-border volume on a local currency basis in the quarter.

Gross dollar volume – the dollar value of transactions processed – fell 10% to US$1.4 tril (RM5.94 tril).

The decline in cross-border volume has continued since the quarter ended, even as the number of transactions increased within the United States.

In the third week of July, the value of cross-border volume was down 40% from a year earlier, according to a presentation for investors. US transactions were up 5% while transactions outside of the US were down 3%.

Net income fell about 31% to US$1.42 bil in the second quarter ended June 30. Excluding items, profit was US$1.36 per share, beating estimates for US$1.16, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Mastercard’s shares rose 1.41% in premarket trade.

Total operating expenses fell 5% to US$1.6 bil in the quarter.

Rival Visa Inc’s results also topped analysts’ estimates on Tuesday as lower-than-expected expenses helped protect against lower consumer spending due to a coronavirus-driven surge in unemployment.

The US government reported earlier this month that retail sales rebounded in May and June from a sharp drop in April, and ended down 8% for the quarter from a year earlier. – July 30, 2020, Reuters

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