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CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Mastercard profit falls nearly 6% on cross-border spending slump

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(Corrects last paragraph to say revenue rose 4%, not fell)

April 29 (Reuters) - Mastercard Inc reported a nearly 6% drop in first-quarter profit on Thursday, mainly driven by a steep decline in cross-border spending on its cards because of a slump in international travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Net income, excluding exceptional items, fell to $1.7 billion, or $1.74 per share, from $1.8 billion, or $1.83 per share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of $1.57 per share, according to Refinitiv IBES data.

Over the past year, major card companies and payment processors have been hit by a near collapse in travel demand and spending on non-essentials during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A rebound from last year's pandemic-fueled recession has lifted consumer spending in parts of the world, but new cross-border curbs due to a resurgence in infections are weighing on credit-card issuers' prospects.

Mastercard's cross-border volume, one of the key measures that track spending on its cards beyond the country of its issue, tumbled 17% on a local currency basis in the first quarter.

Net revenue rose 4% in the quarter to $4.2 billion, coming in ahead of estimates of $3.99 billion. (Reporting by Sohini Podder in Bengaluru; editing by Tomasz Janowski and Sriraj Kalluvila)