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MasterCard's net income climbed 14 percent in the first quarter, as more spending by cardholders worldwide lifted the company's results.

Net income rose to $870 million, or 73 cents per share, in the three months ending March 31, the company said Thursday. That compares with net income of $766 million, or 62 cents per share, in the same three months of last year.

MasterCard, which runs the world's second-largest payment network behind Visa, said revenue increased 14 percent to $2.18 billion, up from $1.91 billion the year before.

Analysts, on average, expected earnings of 72 cents per share on $2.14 billion in revenue in the latest quarter, according to the data provider FactSet.

MasterCard said its revenue climbed partly because it handled 9.8 billion transactions, a 14 percent increase over the same period last year. The volume of purchases tallied $759 billion, a 13 percent increase. Of that amount, $268 billion came from the United States.

The stronger revenue, however, was partly offset by a rise in rebates and incentives that the company offered.

"We kicked off the year with a strong quarter, despite a mixed global economy," said Ajay Banga, MasterCard's CEO, in a statement accompanying the release.

In pre-market trading, MasterCard's stock rose $1.56, or 2 percent, to $75.11 following the release of the earnings. MasterCard has climbed as high as $84.75 and sunk as low as $53.38 over the past year.