Business

Mastercard profits rise 41% on growing card use

Mastercard credit cards seen in a wallet
Image caption Mastercard said it was "cautiously optimistic" about the year ahead

A rebound in consumer spending has helped lift fourth-quarter profits at Mastercard by 41%.

The card giant said that activity in the US was particularly encouraging, with credit card spending increasing for the first time since mid-2008.

Net profits reached $415m (£255m) in the last quarter, compared with $294m in the same period a year earlier.

The firm also noted a rise in consumers using their cards abroad which benefits payment processors due to fees charged.

US caution

Mastercard chief executive Ajay Banga said that in the US, spending on necessities like groceries was above pre-recession levels.

But spending on big-ticket items such as furniture and white goods did not show much improvement.

"I'm cautiously optimistic that we'll see continued improvements in 2011," Mr Banga said.

But he added: "It's just that it's hard to see sustained growth until the housing market and unemployment improve."

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