MasterCard Europe hits 500m cards milestone

Source: MasterCard

MasterCard Incorporated today announced its third quarter 2008 operating results for the Europe region.

A major milestone includes MasterCard brands (MasterCard, Maestro, or Cirrus) now appearing on more than 500 million cards across the region.

For the quarter, the European region reported double-digit growth in MasterCard gross dollar volume (16.8 %), purchase volume (17.1 %), purchase transactions (13.2 %), cash transactions (11.5 %) and cards issued (15.4 %), compared to the same period in 2007.

As of 30 September 2008, 197 million MasterCard cards (excluding Maestro and Cirrus) had been issued by MasterCard customer financial institutions across Europe. European cardholders made more than 1.6 billion purchase transactions in the third quarter of 2008 and could use their MasterCard cards at 8.2 million acceptance locations in the region.

In addition, the Maestro brand mark appeared on over 311 million cards, up 5.2 % compared to the same quarter in 2007. Consumers can now make point of sale purchases with their Maestro cards at 6.7 million acceptance locations throughout Europe.

Javier Perez, President, MasterCard Europe, said: "The third quarter has delivered strong growth for MasterCard Europe and underlined how our business model as franchisor, processor and advisor can weather challenging macroeconomic conditions. We're proud to have reached such a major milestone as having 500 million cards in the region and believe this is testament to the insight, innovation and execution we bring to our customers.

"At MasterCard, we recognise that our financial-institution customers are experiencing challenging economic times. Yet we continue to share with them the belief that there is still an enormous opportunity to replace cash and cheques with plastic and the value that this offers all stakeholders in the payment chain - from banks to merchants to consumers."

MasterCard Europe reported a number of significant business achievements for the quarter:

In Russia, the quarter saw a 52.7 % year-on-year growth in gross dollar volume on a local currency basis and a 59.0 % year-on-year growth in purchase transactions for all MasterCard credit and debit programmes compared to the same period in 2007.

In Poland, the quarter saw a 19.3 % year-on-year growth in cards issued and a 21.6 % year-on-year growth in gross dollar volume on a local currency basis for all MasterCard programmes compared to the same period in 2007.

MasterCard and Intesa Sanpaolo, Italy's largest card issuer, entered into a global partnership to issue credit and debit cards, leveraging MasterCard's tailored solutions, innovative technologies and global acceptance.

MasterCard and National Australia Group signed a long-term debit partnership agreement, under which Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank will become the first in the UK to issue Debit MasterCard from 2009, as a complementary proposition to their ongoing Maestro offering.

MasterCard and JCB recently teamed up to come to an agreement whereby JCB branded transactions acquired by MasterCard customers are optionally routed globally through the MasterCard network. The MasterCard network acts as a gateway for the servicing of these transactions for the mutual benefit of both JCB and MasterCard's customers.

Contactless payment continued to gather momentum in Europe, with the first MasterCard PayPass transaction taking place in the Russian Federation and the first Maestro PayPassTM transaction in the Netherlands; the introduction of PayPassat a national level in Portugal with SIBS and in Slovakia with VOLKSBANK; an agreement to develop contactless payments on mobile phones with Telecom Italia; and the facilitation of innovative new acceptance locations for contactless payments, including the Coke Live Festival in Krakow, Poland.

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