MasterCard’s gross dollar volume for Europe increased more than 16% during the fourth quarter to $68.8 billion while GDV for all of 2002 rose almost 15.0% to US$242.6 billion. For 4Q/02 MasterCard processed 852 million purchase transactions and 177 million cash advance transactions, up 16% and 9% over 4Q/01, respectively. At the end of the year, MasterCard had 77.2 million accounts representing 87 million cardholders, according to The RAM Report ([www.ramreport.com]). Europe is the largest cardholder base for MasterCard’s PIN-based debit, “Maestro,” with 226.1 million cards. Merchant acceptance in the European region was flat during 2002 at 5.9 million merchants. MasterCard noted that a key milestone last year was the completion of the merger with Europay International to form a unified, shareholder-owned, global payments company. Europay is now MasterCard’s Europe region. In connection with the merger, MasterCard launched two “Centers of Excellence” in Waterloo, Belgium, one for debit and one for chip and mobile commerce.