Consumers Using More Plastic Currency

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MasterCard and Visa earnings soared in the first three months of 2012 as cardholders spent more money. The world's largest card processing networks reported a 47 percent jump in net profit to $1.29 billion, compared with $881 million for the same period a year ago.

Visa expects the upward trend to continue, increasing its full-year earnings per share growth forecast from "high teens" three months ago to "high teens to low twenties."

MasterCard transactions rose 14 percent in the United States compared to a 20 percent jump internationally. Visa reported international transactions soared 17 percent year-on-year, compared with 12 percent in the United States.