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MasterCard Worldwide and Visa Inc. could increase their earnings per share by at least 20% annually over the next two years because of their sizeable market share in a transaction-processing industry with high barriers to entry. So says the report "MasterCard and Visa: Profitable Toll Takers" by analysts with Berwyn, Pa.-based investment company Turner Investment Partners. Combined, the two card brands have approximately 80% market share compared with American Express Co. at 17% and Discover Financial Services with 4%. "So they are relatively free to raise fees and earn superior profits," the report states. New entrants would need "deep pockets" to build their own processing networks on a scale large enough to compete, the report adds. The analysts also note the highest growth rate in credit card use is in Latin America at 27%, compared with 13% in the United States, and that such developing countries as Brazil and China may hold the most promise for MasterCard and Visa's growth.

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