In terms of payment card volume, Latin America is MasterCard’s fastest growing region with an annual growth rate of nearly 30%. During the first quarter, the region posted gross dollar volume of US$8.1 billion, according to The RAM Report ([www.ramreport.com]). Purchase volume, which makes up 62% of total volume, was up 22%, while cash advance volume soared by 44%. The number of cards issued in the region increased 14% over the same period in 2002, to 44.5 million. With 34.1 million “Maestro” cards in circulation, the growth for first quarter was close to 21% over the same period in 2002, and the number of merchant terminals in the region increased close to 22%. MasterCard has 1.4 million merchant locations in Latin America.