Mastercard profit falls nearly 6% on cross-border spending slump

FILE PHOTO: Illustration photo of a Mastercard logo on a credit card
A Mastercard logo is seen on a credit card in this picture illustration August 30, 2017.
REUTERS/Thomas White/File Photo

By Reuters

Mastercard Inc reported a nearly 6% drop in first-quarter profit on Thursday, mainly driven by a steep decline in cross-border spending on its cards because of a slump in international travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Net income, excluding exceptional items, fell to $1.7 billion, or $1.74 per share, from $1.8 billion, or $1.83 per share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of $1.57 per share, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Over the past year, major card companies and payment processors have been hit by a near collapse in travel demand and spending on non-essentials during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A rebound from last year’s pandemic-fueled recession has lifted consumer spending in parts of the world, but new cross-border curbs due to a resurgence in infections are weighing on credit-card issuers’ prospects.

Mastercard’s cross-border volume, one of the key measures that track spending on its cards beyond the country of its issue, tumbled 17% on a local currency basis in the first quarter.

Net revenue declined 4% in the quarter to $4.2 billion. However, it came in ahead of estimates of $3.99 billion.