MasterCard Inc., the second-biggest U.S. payments network, posted fourth-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates as customers made more purchases.

Net income increased to $605 million, or $4.86 a share, from $514 million, or $4.03, a year earlier, the Purchase, New York-based company said today in a statement. The average estimate of 33 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was $4.80 a share.

Chief Executive Officer Ajay Banga is fending off competitors Visa Inc. and Shanghai-based China UnionPay as he seeks a larger share of the electronic payments processing market. Banga is targeting developing countries such as Myanmar, Ghana, Nigeria and Angola for growth amid a global consumer shift from cash to plastic.

“We are gaining traction in our U.S. credit business with some recent wins, continuing to experience momentum in our mobile initiatives around the world, and securing important business in emerging markets like Africa and Brazil,” Banga, 53, said in the statement.

Consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy, expanded at a 2.2 percent annual rate in the final three months of 2012. The pace followed a 1.6 percent advance in the third quarter and was the fastest since January through March, according to U.S. Commerce Department figures released yesterday.

MasterCard gained 8.8 percent in the quarter, outpacing the 70-company Standard & Poor’s 500 Information Technology Index, which fell 6.2 percent. The shares jumped 32 percent in 2012, more than doubling the index’s 13 percent return.

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