U.S. shoppers kept on using their MasterCards in July even as uncertainty about the economy increased. Spending with credit and debit cards bearing the company’s logo rose about 12 percent in the U.S. compared with July 2010, Chief Financial Officer Martina Hund-Mejean of Mastercard Inc. said Wednesday. About 2 points of that increase came from gas prices, which averaged about $1 per gallon higher than a year ago. Inflation also played a part in higher clothing and food costs, and more expensive luxury items due to record prices for gold and silver, she said.
The July data follows a strong quarter for MasterCard in which its profit rose 33 percent as card holders kept reaching for their plastic during the spring months. The results beat Wall Street expectations, and its shares rose $39.98, or 13.4 percent, to close at $338.47, after earlier touching a 52-week high of $340.42. The payment processing company said net income rose to $608 million, or $4.76 per share, for the three months ended June 30, up from $458 million, or $3.49 per share, in the year-ago quarter. The number of outstanding shares fell by more than 2 percent, which had the effect of increasing earnings per share. MasterCard said the number of transactions it handled rose 17 percent during the quarter. On a dollar basis, total transactions reached $811 billion, versus $656 billion last year. Both credit and debit card use rose around the world.