MasterCard Europe today announced its first quarter 2009 operating results for the Europe region.
Despite challenging economic circumstances at the close of 2008, a focus on innovation and customer service has helped to deliver growth for MasterCard Europe.
Javier Perez, president, MasterCard Europe said: "2009 is set to be another eventful year as the world continues to chart its course through a challenging and shifting financial landscape. The emergence of the 'new European consumer' - for whom a card programme is an important gateway to money management, requires participants in the payments and retailing industry to focus on the new consumers' key watchwords: Security, stability, value for money.
"Our first quarter activity has underscored this approach. Innovation continues to be key - especially technology-led innovation, such as mobile payments, contactless payments and secure online payments with further adoption of PayPass and mobile payments across the region.
"In April, we also reached an arrangement with the European Commission on interim interchange fees for cross-border consumer payments within the European Economic Area (EEA). The Commission acknowledges the legitimacy of interchange fees in open four-party payment systems, and provides a degree of clarity for our customers while we pursue our appeal of the Commission's decision on these interchange fees."
For the first quarter 2009, the European region reported sustainable growth in MasterCard gross euro volume (3.9%), purchase volume (4.2%), purchase transactions (6.4%) and cash transactions (4.3%), compared to the first quarter 2008. In the first three months of 2009 European cardholders made over 1.5 billion purchase transactions with their MasterCard cards, including e-commerce.
As of 31 March 2009, 195 million MasterCard cards (excluding Maestro and Cirrus) had been issued by MasterCard customer financial institutions across Europe, up 7.0 %. European cardholders could use their MasterCard cards at 8.4 million acceptance locations in the region.
In addition, the Maestro brand mark appeared on 312 million cards, up 4.4% compared to the same quarter in 2008. Consumers can now make point of sale purchases with their Maestro cards at over 7.1 million merchant locations throughout Europe.
MasterCard Europe reported a number of significant pan-European business achievements for the quarter including:
- In January, MasterCard and global retail leader Carrefour announced the launch of the PASS MasterCard card, the result of a partnership designed to offer French consumers the very latest in 'best-in-class' card payments. The new card was rolled-out in France in February by Carrefour's financial services' subsidiary, Société des Paiements PASS.
- In February, MasterCard Europe and Accor Services announced a strategic alliance resulting in the creation of a new company, PrePay Solutions. The joint venture makes Accor Services the majority shareholder at 67 percent, while MasterCard Europe holds a 33 percent stake in the new company, which is designed to combine the prepaid and electronic payments expertise of both organisations for business players looking to benefit from the fast growing European prepaid opportunity.
- In March, Barclaycard and Orange announced a strategic partnership to enable customers to use their mobile phones to pay for goods and services at retailers using contactless technology, by simply waving their handset against a reader. Targeting a customer base of 28 million UK consumers, both companies will be looking to expand the partnership to include other contactless services within ticketing, transport and rewards. MasterCard will provide the payment capabilities for the transactions.
- In March, ING Bank Slaski in Poland announced their implementation of MasterCard® PayPassTM, further helping Polish consumers to experience Tap & Go in a country which was one of the first in Europe to adopt the contactless technology. Meanwhile, advances in Turkey, the first country to implement Tap & Go payments in Europe, saw the launch of the country's first transport contactless payments project. The major public transport implementation includes the local bus schemes of six cities (Ayvalik, Balikesir, Canakkale, Eskisehir, Kahramanmaras and Samsun), the Istanbul Ferry Corporation and taxis in Istanbul.