MasterCard Europe today announced its fourth quarter 2009 operating results for the Europe region. European consumers continued to use their MasterCard-branded cards during the quarter, with purchase transactions up 10.0% compared to the same period in 2008 - continuing the increased trend toward electronic payments in the region.
The region also celebrated achieving 200 million MasterCard branded cards in Europe, a growth of 2.2%.
"Innovation was central to our success in 2009 and is now an innate part of our customers' long term strategy ," said Javier Perez, president, MasterCard Europe. "As we saw in 2009, their demand for innovation resulted in new initiatives, ranging from an expanded spectrum of card programmes to value-add services that address the needs of the varied cardholder base for whom they are intended.
"Our ability to harness the best that innovation and technology can offer is made possible through our unique global structure and strong relationships with banks and merchants across Europe. We will continue to work to enable the migration from cash to electronic payments, working directly with our customers as they enhance their own leadership positions across Europe.
"This is why milestones such as one million PayPassTM cards in Turkey, the introduction of our money management inControl system, and advances in debit and contactless payments in transit are recognised as significant achievements for our customers. As we broaden the way we work and continue to diversify our customer and product base, we expect our customers' wins to continue to drive our own success in 2010."
For the fourth quarter 2009, the European region reported MasterCard gross dollar volume for Europe increased 6.9%; purchase volume grew 8.1%; purchase transactions increased 10.0%, and cash transactions increased 5.2%, compared to the fourth quarter 2008.
From 1 October until 31 December, European cardholders made more than 1.8 billion purchase transactions with their MasterCard-branded cards, including those made online.
As of 31 December 2009, 200 million MasterCard cards (excluding Maestro® and Cirrus®) had been issued by MasterCard customer financial institutions across Europe, an increase of 2.2 % compared to the same quarter in 2008. European cardholders could use their MasterCard cards at 8.8 million acceptance locations in the region and at 29.9 million acceptance locations worldwide.
In addition, the Maestro brand mark appeared on 304 million cards. Consumers can now make point of sale purchases with their Maestro cards at 7.0 million merchant locations throughout Europe and at 12.1 million merchant locations worldwide.
Concluding, Perez said, "In the quarter, we closed on a number of significant milestones - indicators that plastic continues to have increased traction with today's consumer. In Italy and Germany, we saw significant growth in the number of processed transactions, up 17.0% and 9.7% respectively compared to the same period 2008. In Turkey, we celebrated our millionth PayPass card in circulation in the country."
"There are half a billion branded MasterCard or Maestro cards in Europe, but this achievement will only be viewed as a significant milestone if these cards offer sustainable value; not only to the holder of the card but to the shopkeeper accepting it and to the organization who has chosen to issue that card with our brand. Constantly defining and refining this value and deciding how innovation can be used to best respond to the benefits now sought by today's consumer and merchant will be, once again, at the heart of our progress this year".
MasterCard Europe reported a number of critical pan-European business achievements for the quarter including:
Maestro on the Internet and PayBack Maestro
• Maestro took a further step into the virtual world of ecommerce, with a number of key initiatives developing Maestro's ability to enable debit purchases for online transactions. In Belgium, Maestro was enabled online, with the majority of Maestro cards issued in the country now accepted at over 200 leading websites, including Kinepolis and Fnac. In Italy, MasterCard finalized an agreement with the acquiring division of CartaSi and Banca Sella, enabling over 1,000 ecommerce retailers to accept Maestro online.
• In Germany, WestLB opted from the outset to offer its Payback Maestro debit cards with SecureCodeTM, enabling cardholders to immediately benefit from secure online shopping. The Payback Maestro card was awarded the Best Customer Loyalty Program with payment function in Germany by 'Focus Money'.
PayPass, MasterCard's tap&goTM technology advances in transit
• The number of MasterCard PayPass cards issued in Turkey surpassed the one million milestone in December last year. PayPass is available in credit, debit and prepaid card form as well as in key fob, watch and sticker forms. The milestone was helped by the advance of PayPass into transit, with further Turkish cities opening up their transit systems to PayPass alongside Istanbul taxis and the Istanbul Ferry Corporation. This momentum of PayPass into transit was also underlined in the UK where Transport for London (TfL) is planning to accept PayPass/payWave cards on their transport system. In November in Liverpool Stagecoach's 200 strong bus network launched tap&go for those on the move in and around Merseyside, the first application of contactless outside of London.