Mastercard’s bet on fintech pays off with higher card spending

Photo credit: Karlis Dambrans https://www.flickr.com/photos/janitors/16537029848

Mastercard Inc.’s new initiative to team up with more startups on credit cards is starting to pay off.

  • The company has been starting card programs for fintechs including Brex Inc., Revolut Technologies Inc. and TransferWise Inc., and has unveiled programs designed to make it easier for startups to join Mastercard’s network. That helped boost customers’ spending on the firm’s cards to $1.28 trillion in the quarter, in line with analysts’ estimates.

Key Insights

  • Mastercard also has been setting aside more money to entice banks and retailers to route spending over its network. Rebates and incentives totaled $2.31 billion in the last three months of the year, a 17% increase from a year earlier and more than analysts expected.
  • The company has been investing in ways to make it easier for consumers to pay for purchases online. That contributed to a 11% increase in expenses, which was roughly in line with analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
  • Mastercard said that adjusted net revenue will climb by a percentage in the “low teens” this year, while operating expenses will increase by a percentage at the “high end of high single digits,” according to a presentation Wednesday. That’s in line with analysts’ expectations.

Market Reaction

  • Mastercard shares rose 1.2% to $324 at 8:06 a.m. in early New York trading. The firm’s shares have climbed 60% in the past year, more than the 49% gain for the 71-company S&P 500 Information Technology Index.

Get More

  • “Our focus on the customer and delivering against their goals continues to drive core growth,” Chief Executive Officer Ajay Banga said in a statement.
  • See the statement announcing fourth-quarter results.

— Jenny Surane (Bloomberg)