RBR, a strategic research and consulting firm, which specialise in tracking the development of payment cards usage, reported today that in Europe:
- Card issuers are upgrading their Maestro and Electron debit cards to full function Mastercard and Visa payment cards because switching to Mastercard and Visa main schemes increases usage. This is because it increases the number of merchant outlets in which their cards can be used – particularly for online payments – and therefore usage and revenue grows. This is also popular with their customers, who increasingly expect to pay by card. The number of Maestro and Visa Electron cards fell by 2% and 10% respectively in 2016, while Mastercard and Visa grew by 9% and 6%.
- Nine in ten European cards carry a Mastercard or Visa brand: The number of payment cards in Europe grew by 2% in 2016 to reach 1.5 billion. The number of Mastercard-branded cards (including Maestro and Mastercard Electronic) grew to 691 million; a share of 45%. The Visa family of cards (which includes Visa Electron and V PAY) accounted for 44%, thus giving the two international schemes a collective share of 89% of all European payment cards. Aside from the big two international schemes, private label cards held a share of 6% at the end of 2016, while domestic cards represented 4% of the total.
- Domestic schemes in decline: RBR’s research shows that, unlike in most other regions, domestic schemes are in decline in Europe. Where they do exist, they are commonly present on the same card as an international scheme. Domestic schemes accounted for 25% of all card payments in Europe in 2016, and 28% of the value of such payments. These domestic brands have increasingly tried to keep up with international schemes in recent years by enhancing the ways in which the cards can be used. Country developments:
- Germany and Denmark, contactless functionality has been added to the domestic brand, and in other cases, steps have been taken to add e‑commerce capability.
- the rapid issuance of Mir cards in Russia and the emergence of TROY in Turkey should serve to bolster the number of domestic cards in these markets.
- Serbia meanwhile, the situation is very different with, the number of DinaCard cards has been declining for several years, and looks set to continue doing so.
- Chinese card scheme, UnionPay, doubled its presence in Europe last year.
CTMfile take: Payment cards are still essential in today’s e-commerce and business transactions.
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