This morning, Mastercard announced its financial results for the first quarter of 2018. Our teams delivered a strong start to the year, with net revenue growing 27 percent on a currency-neutral basis. Our underlying fundamentals were also solid, with volumes up double-digits in most markets and cross-border volume growing 21 percent.
During our investor call, we shared some perspective on the opportunities ahead and the impact our teams are making in delivering against our strategy. Our prepared remarks and the Q&A session highlighted how we are executing and investing with an eye on continued growth. Among some of the themes that stood out were:
Strengthening Relationships – In the U.S., our high-value credit, debit and co-brand programs are helping our customers attract and retain key customer segments. We also continue to deepen our position across all markets – from an expanded relationship with Santander Group in the U.K and Spain to new programs with Bank of Baroda in India and HSBC in Mexico. These programs reinforce our ability to combine core payments functionality with the best capabilities across data analytics, digital and fraud management solutions.
Powering All Payments – We are building on our core business to help banks and credit unions meet the increased payment needs of their customers. We’re expanding the delivery of P2P and B2C payments through Mastercard Send, while our partnership with M-KOPA in South Africa illustrates how we are developing new ways to pay and be paid through QR codes.
And, in Thailand, Vocalink’s PromptPay system is making a difference in how that country’s citizens are increasingly maximizing every opportunity. As of April, 40 million of the country’s 69 million people have enrolled, generating more than 170 million transactions since launch.
Driving the Digital Future – We recently announced our support of EMVCo standards around online checkout. As we deployed and learned from our Masterpass activities in 53 markets, it was clear that a consistent, secure, low-friction experience is what consumers want every time they shop. In the physical world, we have a single terminal for all brands.
We believe the same should exist in the digital world – through one common checkout button. It will make it easier for merchants to accept secure electronic payments, while delivering on the consumer expectation. The standards will enable each network to compete for consumer and merchant affection by focusing on what matters – value, features, services and rewards. This will be a huge step forward for the industry and we need to execute flawlessly.
Looking ahead to the rest of the year, we recently marked the one-year anniversary of the close of the Vocalink acquisition. This milestone gives me an opportunity to reflect on the talented teams we have across our entire business – including product, services, technology and security – that drive us toward the goal of being the best partner for all card and account-based payment needs.
While the year has started off strong, you can expect that we won’t take this performance for granted. We’ll continue to stay focused on our strategy and pursue the opportunities that differentiate us from others while positioning us for long-term growth.