Mastercard sees progress on spending as U.S. eases crisis rules

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Mastercard Inc. is starting to see signs of improvement in U.S. consumer spending as cities and states ease restrictions on social distancing.

So-called switched volume -- payments that the company authorizes, clears and settles -- declined 6% in the week ended May 7 from the same period a year ago, Mastercard said Wednesday in a statement. That’s an improvement from the 22% decline in the week ended April 7.

The company has been tracking the pandemic and its impact on consumer spending through what it calls four distinct phases: containment, stabilization, normalization and growth.

“We are starting to see the transition from the stabilization phase to the normalization phase in some markets, although it is very early days,” Mastercard said. The “normalization” phase occurs when social-distancing restrictions are relaxed, the company said.

Cross-border spending has remained muted as consumers around the world abandon travel plans and companies suspend business trips. Such spending is key for Mastercard and rival Visa Inc. because overseas transactions are among their most profitable.

Bloomberg News
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