Correction: Adds merchant acceptance data on MasterCard and Visa from the Nilson Report in the seventh paragraph. Neither credit card company publicly reports acceptance data.
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Are investors getting caught up in the new world of digital payment methods, such as Apple's (AAPL) Apple Pay and eBay's (EBAY) PayPal? Some may be but not famed investor Warren Buffett.
While some may believe that credit card use will end with the digital wallet, quite the opposite is seen for these two companies, said TheStreet's Jack Mohr.
Visa and MasterCard are partnered with Apple on the company's Apple Pay venture, and stand to "profit handsomely" on the transactions, he explained. The modern wallet is far from dead, as Apple Pay simply stores the same credit card information on the user's phone.
The secular shift remains strong as more and more consumers ditch checks and cash for credit and debit cards. Buffett realizes this trend will continue for some time, which is likely one of his reasons for boosting his stake.
According to the most recent Nilson Report published in February 38.1 million merchants globally accepted MasterCard while and the same number accepted Visa. The companies' global payment network is part of what makes them so successful and the number of merchants is expected to increase.
Shares of both MasterCard and Visa traded poorly for most of the year until reporting third-quarter earnings. Both companies surprised analysts by beating on top and bottom lines ahead of the lucrative fourth quarter.
"Visa and MasterCard are incredibly consistent payment processors riding a long-term theme," Mohr concluded.
-- Written by Bret Kenwell