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Friday, February 5, 2010

Card brands' financials remain positive

The financial results are in for the card brands: transaction volume and net income continue to increase for Visa Inc., MasterCard Worldwide and American Express Co. Big revenue contributors included cross-border volume growth (MasterCard); currency fluctuations driven by the movement of the euro relative to the dollar (AmEx); and data processing and international transaction revenues (Visa).

Visa reported that its net income for the fiscal first quarter 2010 (which ended Dec. 31, 2009) was $763 million, compared with $574 million for the same period in 2009. Revenues from transactions processed through VisaNet totaled $10.9 billion – a 12 percent increase over the first quarter for fiscal year 2009. During that same period, data processing revenues rose to $765 million, up 38 percent, Visa said.

Visa's fiscal first quarter was a "strong start to the new year as we continued to execute well against our business plan," said Joseph Saunders, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for Visa. "We were able to capitalize on the secular trend to digital currency and grow revenues as we expanded our payments network and processing capabilities to drive transaction growth…."

Bottom-line growth

MasterCard's net revenue for the fourth quarter 2009 was $1.3 billion, a 6 percent increase over the fourth quarter of 2008. Worldwide purchase volume also rose to $510 billion, 5.7 percent above the prior year. Net revenue for full-year 2009 was $5.1 billion, 2.1 percent higher than in 2008, MasterCard reported.

"In 2009 we took important steps to maintain MasterCard's bottom-line growth and, as a result, delivered another quarter and year of solid financial results," said Robert W. Selander, MasterCard's CEO. "We remained focused on the needs of our customers and continued to add value amid a challenging economic environment."

Selander added that MasterCard improved its expense management and realigned its organization for growth opportunities geographically and in terms of product development.

Spending up

AmEx reported net revenues from the fourth quarter 2009 were $710 million, up 132 percent from the $306 million generated for the same period in 2008. Net income totaled $716 million, up 198 percent from 2008's total of $240 million.

"We ended the year on a positive note with card member spending up 8 percent and credit indicators showing further signs of improvement," said Kenneth I. Chenault, Chairman and CEO at AmEx. "Fourth quarter results reflected the diversity of our business model that includes issuing cards, building business for merchants, operating a global payments network and delivering high-value services to our customers."

Chenault said that AmEx stayed consistently profitable through 2009 and built a more liquid funding base.

"At the same time, we will focus on creating a more efficient cost structure and delivering superior service that strengthens our relationships with card members, merchants and business partners," Chenault said. "We continue to see opportunities to extend our market leadership and distinguish American Express from its competitors." end of article

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