MasterCard Inc. on Tuesday said its first-quarter profit jumped 24 percent with more shoppers feeling comfortable enough about the economy and their jobs to reach for the plastic again.
The payment processor said Tuesday it earned $455 million, or $3.46 per share, compared with $367 million, or $2.81 per share, in the year-ago period.
Revenue climbed 13 percent to $1.31 billion, from $1.16 billion last year. MasterCard said it raised the prices it charges to merchants for processing purchases by about 5 percent during the quarter.
The results easily topped the $3.14 per share and $1.27 billion revenue expected, on average, by analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.
The healthier profits reflect 5 percent growth in the number of transactions processed, and an 11 percent increase in MasterCard's international volume. The use of credit cards in the U.S. remains sluggish.
But MasterCard saw the use of its debit cards surge everywhere. MasterCard said total debit volume using cards that draw money from bank accounts rose 18 percent worldwide, including a 7 percent jump in the U.S. and 33 percent spike abroad.
Credit card use rose 3.5 percent worldwide. In the U.S., that figure slumped 8 percent to $118 billion, which means it was around the same dollar volume of purchases made with its debit card products for the first time.
That means that even as the economy starts to recover and consumer confidence is growing, U.S. shoppers are still holding back from adding to their debt with everyday purchases.
A year ago, credit use topped debit use by more than 16 percent in the U.S.
Credit is still favored for larger purchases, however. While the dollar volume was roughly equal, the total number of debit transactions neared 2.1 billion, compared with 1.33 billion in the U.S.
In the rest of the world, use of MasterCard credit cards still exceeds debit: with total dollar volume of $289 billion in credit use, compared with $107 billion in debit.
In premarket electronic trading, MasterCard shares added $5.85, or 2.3 percent, to $256.59.
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