|By Shelly Palmer||
|June 11, 2014 10:56 PM EDT||
MasterCard, the world’s second-largest debit and credit card company, sees business booming from selling data to retailers, banks and governments on spending patterns found in the payments it processes, a top executive told Reuters. MasterCard, which handles payments for 2 billion cardholders and tens of millions of merchants, uses that information to generate real-time data on consumer trends, available more quickly that regular government statistics. “It is an incredibly fast growing area for us,” Ann Cairns, who heads MasterCard’s business outside North America, said in an interview, stressing that the company respects cardholder privacy, using anonymous data rather than personal information. MasterCard does not give figures for its information services products but “other revenues”, which include the sale of data, grew 22 percent in the first quarter of 2014 to $341 million, outpacing the growth of total revenue dominated by payments processing, which rose 14 percent to $2.177 billion.