A stupid question, but I need help

Short background about myself: First year finance student (in Germany), who’s a bit confused. As far as I was aware EBITDA is the result of stripping away “non operational” expenses. I agree … or agreed on this, until I thought about companies like American Express, MasterCard etc. where I assume interest can be seen as an operational expense. How is this being viewed by professionals? Am I overseeing something? Or over complicating? Do you view the EBITDA of those companies who earn a significant amount of money from interest the same as when you look at other industries?

EBITDA is typically only used for non-financial companies. When you have a company with interest earned as part of their normal operations, you typically focus on just net income or pre-tax income.

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Financials don’t use EBITDA

It amazes me how widespread the use of EBITDA has become. People try to dress up financial statements with it.
We won’t buy into companies where someone’s talking about EBITDA. If you look at all companies, and split them into companies that use EBITDA as a metric and those that don’t, I suspect you’ll find a lot more fraud in the former group. Look at companies like Wal-Mart, GE and Microsoft – they’ll never use EBITDA in their annual report.
People who use EBITDA are either trying to con you or they’re conning themselves. Telecoms, for example, spend every dime that’s coming in. Interest and taxes are real costs."