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Mastercard wins new partnerships without big boost to incentives

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Mastercard Inc is winning new deals with banks and merchants even without sweetening its incentives as much as analysts expected, helping the world's second-largest payments network post profit that topped estimates in the third quarter.

[NEW YORK] Mastercard Inc is winning new deals with banks and merchants even without sweetening its incentives as much as analysts expected, helping the world's second-largest payments network post profit that topped estimates in the third quarter.

Mastercard offered its partners US$1.73 billion in rebates, an 18 per cent increase from a year earlier but still below the US$1.84 billion average estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The network has said it was boosting incentives in its bid to ink card deals.

Fees from cross-border transactions, or money spent abroad, rose 16 per cent to US$1.34 billion, just below the US$1.35 billion estimate. Mastercard has warned that business would be crimped as fewer consumers are able to buy cryptocurrency using a credit card.

Spending on the firm's network climbed 11 per cent to US$1.08 trillion, missing the US$1.11 trillion average of five analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The company's larger rival, Visa Inc, also posted a smaller jump in spending than analysts expected.

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While some analysts predicted the firm would change its forecast for this year's adjusted net revenue, the company said Tuesday it still expects the figure to climb by a percentage in the "high teens." Operating expenses are also still forecast to rise in the "mid-teens" range previously set.

Mastercard shares, which surged 26 per cent this year through Monday, jumped 2.3 per cent in early trading to US$195.50. This year's advance outpaced the 6.1 per cent gain of the 66-company S&P 500 Information Technology Index.

"Our business wins and new partnerships, strengthened by our differentiated services offerings, are helping drive our global momentum," Ajay Banga, Mastercard's chief executive officer, said in a statement announcing third-quarter results.

BLOOMBERG