A Growth Spurt for Debit

by Sarah Grotta 0


Bloomberg, reporting on financial disclosures from Visa this week, reported some very strong growth in debit card transactions during the last quarter.  So strong, in fact, that the growth in debit card transactions was greater than that of credit cards.  This is great news for financial institutions given the close tie that debit card use has to maintaining consumers’ core deposit relationships:

Spending on Visa Inc. debit cards — the favored plastic of the younger set — continues to grow at a faster clip than on credit. Spending on the firm’s debit cards jumped 16.3 percent in this year’s first three months, helping the firm raise its financial outlook for 2018. Credit-card spending rose 13.7 percent.

Every aspect of the debit business looked very good this quarter,” Chief Financial Officer Vasant Prabhu said on a conference call with analysts. It “attests to a pretty strong consumer profile in terms of propensity to spend.” 

Visa attributes much of the growth to the millennial segment of consumer debit users:

Younger consumers prefer to pay with debit cards or cash after cultivating an aversion to credit while coming of age during the financial crisis. They also don’t typically qualify for top credit cards until becoming older. 

Mercator Advisory Group also finds that earnings is a key driver to debit card use versus credit card use.  Those with more modest earnings are more included to use debit, regardless of their age.

Mercator will also look to define in an upcoming report if the total debit card market is experiencing transaction growth that mirrors Visa’s experience, or if the market seeing a shift of transactions away from other networks, including the EFT networks towards the Visa brand.

Overview by Sarah Grotta, Director, Debit and Alternative Products Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group

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