Debit Cards to Fuel Global Payment Card Expansion

by Sarah Grotta 0

Debit card growth may be slowing here in the U.S., but globally, debit is experiencing a major upswing. A study that looks at debit’s growth, highlighted in Finextra, found the most growth to be in the MEA and Asia-Pacific regions, plus those geographies where unbanked populations are the greatest:

RBR Senior Associate Chris Herbert, who led the study, commented: “Although the growth rate in the number of cards worldwide is slowing down, there are several large markets which still have considerable potential. For example, there are comparatively low levels of bank account and card holding in India, Indonesia, Nigeria and Pakistan, and therefore huge numbers of possible new clients who have not yet entered the banking system.”

Debit cards will contribute the majority of growth. Debit cards make up 70% of payment cards globally, up from 68% in 2014. As unbanked individuals in emerging markets continue to enter the banking system, it is in the debit sector that we will see most growth, as it is debit cards that are normally issued when a person opens a current account. By 2021, debit cards are forecast to represent 72% of all payment cards.

Debit cards have been available globally for decades, so why the growth spurt now? The study suggests the continued conversion of payments to digital forms is creating the need to securely store monetary value and a way to access those funds:

Underlying this double-digit growth are financial inclusion measures, such as digitalization of salary and government benefit payments, which have yielded positive results

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

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