Credit cards and cryptos might be a match well made.
In its latest quarterly report, Mastercard showed strength in cross-border volumes, up double digits at 22 percent. One point of that growth was buoyed — at least in part — by cardholders buying cryptocurrencies with their payment cards, Bloomberg reported.
Of course, what goes up must come down.
In a recent conference call with analysts discussing results, Mastercard CFO Martina Hund-Mejean said clients were spending on cryptos, and also on traveling in Europe.
“We don’t really plan on any of this continuing in any big way,” Hund-Mejean said, commenting on the crypto-focused side of spending. “Just last week — as some of the prices came down — you already saw the trend slowing.”
At the same time, Mastercard has undertaken a limited program through which crypto firms are able to offer the payment processing company's branded prepaid debit card.
“We should always look at every new area and that’s what we’re doing, but it’s more in a very small, extremely controlled pilot phase,” Hund-Mejean said, with an eye on the consumer “rather than having them stomach some of this unbelievable volatility that’s going on in cryptocurrency values.”
That volatility has led some issuers to curb their customers’ ability to buy into those digital currencies, possibly dragging on Mastercard’s cross-border trends. In examples of those limitations, some firms flat out do not allow crypto transactions at all. Discover Financial Services and Capital One prohibit such transactions, and Citigroup and Bank of America are examining the issue.
As was reported earlier today, Mastercard’s earnings topped the Street as holiday spending gained ground amid a steady U.S. economy and strength in areas abroad. Those areas included the Asia Pacific, Middle East and African regions.
The company's earnings per share of $1.14 was two pennies better than Wall Street predictions.