Our takeaways from Visa’s and Mastercard’s strong year-end earnings

By the numbers: Visa and Mastercard reported strong end-of-year earnings buoyed by holiday sales, but both noted that the spike in COVID-19 cases caused by the omicron variant led to uneven global growth in the quarter.

  • Visa’s payments volume increased 20% year over year (YoY) in its fiscal Q1 2022 (ended December 31). Growth outpaced the previous quarter, its fiscal Q1 2021, and fiscal Q1 2020. Card-present transactions, which increased 25% YoY in the US, helped fuel overall payments volume.
  • Mastercard’s gross dollar volume (GDV) grew 23% YoY in Q4 2021. Growth in the quarter mirrored Q3 and outpaced both Q4 2020 and Q4 2019. Cross-border volume was one of the firm’s key performance drivers in the quarter, with 53% YoY growth.

What’s next? Here’s what Visa’s and Mastercard’s CEOs had to say about the year ahead:

New issuer deals and rising cryptocurrency use position Visa for growth.

  • CEO Al Kelly said the company expanded acceptance in Latin America by 30% last year. Kelly also called out recent partnerships in the region, like with Santander in Chile and Banco XP in Brazil. The latter—which is one of Brazil’s largest neobanks—brought 3 million customers into Visa’s network. Latin America is expected to undergo rapid digital growth in the coming years as cash use declines.
  • Kelly added that Visa credentials and crypto wallets surpassed $2.5 billion in volume in the quarter. And new services should help Visa forge new tie-ups, which can further increase volume. Visa is developing an interoperable crypto system and an advisory group focused on digital currencies—both of which should help Visa capitalize on crypto payments growth.

Mastercard is prioritizing new payments products and services.

  • On the earnings call, CEO Michael Miebach highlighted JPMorgan's anticipated Instacart co-brand card, which will be Mastercard-branded. And like Visa, Mastercard is ramping up crypto support. It’s working with three platforms to launch crypto cards in Asia.
  • Mastercard is also scaling its B2B payments efforts: It recently launched Mastercard Track Instant Pay, a virtual B2B card solution that uses machine learning (powered by AI company Previse) to enable faster supplier payments. This solution can help Mastercard gain a stronger foothold in the B2B payments sector, which is expected to hit $28.611 trillion in the US this year, per Insider Intelligence forecasts.

Related content: Check out our coverage of Visa’s and Mastercard’s previous earnings.

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