Consumer spend on payment cards tops $20T in 2014

Migration away from cash and checks helped boost worldwide card spend in 2014 to $20 trillion, which translates to year-over-year growth of 15 percent, according to “Global Payment Cards Data and Forecasts to 2020,” a new report by RBR.

Strong growth in Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa helped to drive up the number of payment cards in circulation worldwide to 12 billion, a year-over-year increase of 11 percent.

This represents a dramatic rise from 2010, when the number of cards stood at approximately 7.9 billion, RBR said in a news release.

Market share by brand

UnionPay boasts the world’s largest scheme in terms of card numbers, with 4.8 billion cards in issue at the end of 2014. This number represents 40 percent the global card base, with Visa and MasterCard trailing at 23 percent and 18 percent, respectively.

In terms of payment value, Visa remains on top with a 34 percent share of the card spend in 2014, ahead of UnionPay (32 percent) and MasterCard (21 percent).

Travel and entertainment card schemes such as American Express, JCB and Diners Club make up 6 percent of card expenditures worldwide, RBR found.

The number of cards worldwide is projected to reach 17 billion by the end of 2020, corresponding to a CAGR of 6 percent.

The debit card market will account for 80 percent of this growth, which will be concentrated in emerging markets with large unbanked populations, RBR said.

The share of debit cards is forecast to increase from 68 percent in 2014 to 72 percent by the end of 2020.

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