MasterCardorporated Class A Earnings Call Nuggets: Increasing Intra-EU Activity and Network Economics

MasterCard Incorporated Class A (NYSE:MA) recently reported its fourth quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call.

Increasing Intra-EU Activity

Craig Maurer – CLSA: Regarding your comments on European cross-boarders seeing increasing activity intra-EU. Is this a trend you expect to continue through ’13 and should we see the applicable yield also decline with that?

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Ajay Banga – President and CEO: Greg, tough to say. This has happened over the two years a couple of times when if you go back through our earnings calls you’ll find there were quarters when Europeans tended to travel within Europe. I think a lot depends on that feeling of confidence. My sense is you look at January, most of the cross-border growth that we’ve talked about, Martina was very careful to say, it’s come from Asia Pacific, Middle East, Africa and Latin America, because this European issue hasn’t really completely changed in January. So I don’t know yet, but I’d say that that it kind of goes through its ups and downs; probably a fair question, which I don’t have a good answer for.

Network Economics

Jason Kupferberg – Jefferies: Just wanted to ask a question here in the U.S. with the EMV, the first EMV milestone coming up quickly in April for the acquirers, then of course the liability shift planned for October 15 there seem to be some outstanding questions regarding how EMV will be made compatible with the multiple debit network provisions of Durbin. So, curious if you think the April deadline will hold and then could that have any impact on the October 15 target timelines as well. Obviously, the banks and merchants still have a lot of work to do to become EMV compliant and we’ve seen in other countries planned timelines, obviously, shift to the right? And then can you just also in conjunction with that comment on whether or not there will be any material difference in your network economics in the U.S. once EMV and chip and PIN, if it goes chip and PIN actually becomes reality?

Ajay Banga – President and CEO: So, the second one first. I’ll repeat that from past time. We do not expect a material impact to our economics just because that hasn’t happened elsewhere the EMV exists and that’s kind of what have we been saying through times, and my thinking on that hasn’t changed. The first one when we started this whole EMV journey, I think, I have many times over that it is possible that they won’t meet their deadlines, but we put these deadlines together – together, meaning through a consultative process that involve acquirers, issuers, merchants and us and that’s how we did it differently from some of the other forces out there. And I think we therefore feel that we are in it together, we are working with them. We recently announced that we are willing to do an open ATI on our EMV so that the regional debit networks can also be allowed to be enabled, to participate without having to build all their own technologies which may take a long time. So, we are trying our very best to be flexible and thoughtful and take all the ecosystem players along. But you know that’s how we are planning for it. I have no way of saying will October become December or will some of the trend move. But I got to tell you our discussions are pretty productive and the announcement that open ATI was greeted with enthusiasm by a number of the players because it gives them the chance to meet deadlines and schedules and be a player in the game.

A Closer Look: MasterCardorporated Earnings Cheat Sheet>>