Mastercard and Visa see improving trend

Created: June 15th 2020

Mastercard and Visa have published trading updates showing some signs of improvement in payments volume, as Covid-19 lockdowns begin to be eased.

Visa’s US payments volume fell by 5% in the month of May compared to 18% in April according to its SEC filing, while its quarter-to-date was down by 11%. Company’s cross-border volume (excluding intra-Europe) showed a year-on-year decline of 45% in May compared with 51% in April.

Mastercard’s cross-border volume showed a 44% year-on-year decline in May compared to 50% in April, suggesting some signs of a revival in May. The company said in its 8-K filing that the improvement in switched volume numbers is due to relaxation of social distancing norms in several markets around the world and the impact of the US fiscal stimulus. In April, switched volume was down by 23% but in May it was just 8% down.

Neither update provided a breakdown of commercial versus consumer card volume. In its last quarterly filing, Visa reported that commercial cards accounted for 12% of global nominal payments volume.

“It’s a little early to say how exactly Covid is going to impact the B2B space, certainly T&E has been hit substantially and we aren’t expecting any return to normal in corporate T&E until likely there’s a vaccine and even with one,” said Jack Forestell, Chief Product Officer at Visa Inc during Bank of America Securities 2020 Global Technology Conference.

Travel related cross-border volumes declined by 78% in May for Visa while its cross-border e-commerce which excludes travel grew up by 18%. Meanwhile, for Mastercard, cross-border volume continued to be impacted by the decline in travel and remains essentially unchanged, according to the filings by the company.