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Global use of payment cards in 2013 - there were more than 200 bn card payments

Retail Bank Research’s into payment cards world-wide, Global Payment Cards Data and Forecasts: 2013-2019, shows that there were 10.8 bn cards in circulation by the end of 2013, a rise of 11% from 2012.

The continued rapid growth in the Chinese market has led UnionPay’s global share to increase further to represent 38% of cards world-wide, far exceeding MasterCard’s and Visa’s:

Source & Copyright©2014 - Retail bank Research

Domestic cards

Some domestic schemes made significant progress in 2013, notably RuPay in India and ELO in Brazil. Other schemes that have continued to grow include CMI in Morocco and DinaCard in Serbia - both of which have benefited from low transaction fees, Verve in Nigeria and Carnet in Mexico.

Types of card

Debit, pay-now cards, and pre-payment cards continue to increase their share of the global card base at expense of pay-later (credit and charge) cards. The share of cards varies significantly between regions with pay-later cards making up 60% of card base in North America, 54% in Latin Americ, 41% in Europe, 17% in Asia-Pacific, 14% in CEE and 9% in Middle East.

Over the next five years debit cards are forecast to increase their share slightly. 

Payment card expenditure

A total of 205 bn card payments was made world-wide in 2013, a 13% rise on 2012. Other features of card expenditure:

  • increase was highest in CEE, Middle East and Africa, and Asia-Pacific
  • cards in Europe and North America are still used twice as frequently (these two regions together account for 63% of global volume, compared to 25% of cards)
  • e-commerce, is rising more rapidly than face-to-face payments
  • half of cashless payments are card purchases (regions: 38% in Asia-Pacific and 64% in North America).

Future growth

RBR predicts that the future is bright for payment cards, particularly given the low usage of cards for purchases in some of the most populous countries, including China and India. At point of sale - on-line and over the counter payment cards (or the schemes ) are expected to continue to dominate.

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