Buoyed by the improving global economy and strong growth in processed transactions, MasterCard Worldwide on Feb. 2 reported fourth quarter net revenue of $1.73 billion, up 20.1% compared with $1.44 billion the same period a year earlier.

Net income for the quarter ended Dec. 31 was $19 million, down 95.4% from $415 million, due to a $770 million pretax special charge for litigation. The charge represents the company’s financial portion of a potential settlement with merchants who claim Visa Inc. and MasterCard conspired to suppress competition by banning merchants from steering customers to cheaper forms of payment.

The two companies agreed last year to settle similar antitrust charges brought by the Department of Justice.

The company reported $863 billion in gross card sales volume, up 14.8% from $752 billion a year earlier.

“We are pleased with our strong fourth quarter results as we are seeing sustained momentum driven by new deals and the ongoing shift away from paper-based payments,” Ajay Banga, MasterCard chairman and CEO, said in a press release.

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