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Global consumer payments market dominated by North America and Western Europe

Industry Sector

Finance and Banking


21 January 2013


Matt Bodimeade

Type of News


The global consumer payments market hit a value of US$13.8 trillion in 2012, with North America and Western Europe representing the most developed regions by accounting for 56% of this value.

However, growth was slowest in these regions, along with Australasia, which all posted single-digit growth rates.

Emerging markets have outpaced developed markets in absolute volume of card payments (excluding commercial) as the unbanked enter the financial mainstream and the newly banked increase their daily card usage.

Debit and pre-paid products continue to be the fastest-growing card types, both in terms of volume and cards in circulation. These cards outpaced demand for credit cards during the economic downturn as consumers opted for non-revolving products in an attempt to maintain control over finances.

Results from the "2012 Consumer Payments Survey" found that mobile payments have more than doubled in popularity, reaching over 33% of survey respondents. Of those that had made a mobile payment, more than half used PayPal Mobile (56%), with Amazon Payments and Apple's iTunes service statistically tied at about 40%.

In addition, prepaid cards showed strong growth, particularly in the network branded and benefit submarkets.

Despite the popularity of digital downloads, such as apps and music, more respondents reported buying physical goods with their phones than online services, digital goods, or virtual currency.

Reward programs are one of the strongest areas for banks to build upon, because banks already sit between most commercial transactions, and thus have the best data of any competitor. Banks also have a long history of offering rewards on their cards, and of working with retailers on cross-promotions. With the limits on debit card interchange creating a revenue gap, targeted offers offer a replacement revenue source, and can also anchor ventures in the prepaid and mobile payments markets.

While the majority of future payment growth is expected to come from emerging markets, the potential of developed markets to contribute should not be overlooked. North America, for example, contributed an additional US$339 billion to global card payment volume in 2012, or about 29% of the total contribution from all markets combined.

For more information on the consumer payments market, see the latest research: Global Consumer Payments Market

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