The economic downturn has an upside when it comes to payment preferences, where consumers are clearly turning to debit cards. Interchange regulation however will make future expansion models more complicated, especially in the US, where interchange revenue streams have fueled most of the benefits consumers who use debit cards have enjoyed.
Debit card market in the US continues to register steady growth even during adverse economic conditions, largely due to consumer preference for debit as well as growing acceptance of small ticket debit transactions among the merchant community. The economic downturn has compelled consumers to re-evaluate their spending patterns, and seek convenient modes of payments for purchases. The cautious approach adopted by credit card issuers is also contributing to the growing use of debit cards. US consumers are increasingly exhibiting preference for PIN debit rather than signature debit, due to the enhanced security offered in such payments and the relatively ease of managing such transactions. Signature debit card programs generate higher interchange revenue for financial institutions as compared to the online/PIN-based debit card initiatives. As a result, card issuers focus on promoting offline card programs.
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