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Fed report: Credit, debit card volume continues to rise

The Federal Reserve System has released early results from its 2017 annual update of the Federal Reserve Payments Study, which contains new estimates of trends for selected core payment instruments (excluding cash) from 2015 to 2016.

The results are based on survey data collected from depository and financial institutions, general-purpose card networks and processors, and issuers of various private-label payment instruments, a Fed press release said.

Here are selected preliminary findings:

  • Total card payments grew from a volume of 103.5 billion with a value of $5.65 trillion in 2015 to a volume of 111.1 billion with a value of $5.98 trillion in 2016.
  • Credit card payments registered the highest growth rate by number (10.2 percent) among the core payment types from 2015 to 2016, up from a growth rate of 8.1 percent from 2012 to 2015.
  • Debit card payments registered the second highest growth rate by number (6.0 percent) from 2015 to 2016, but this rate was down from a growth rate of 7.2 percent from 2012 to 2015.
  • Compared with growth in the number of payments, growth in the value for credit and debit card payments was slower, rising at rates of 6.3 and 5.3 percent, respectively, from 2015 to 2016, down from growth rates of 6.6 and 6.9 percent, respectively, from 2012 to 2015.
  • By value, remote payments represented a much larger 44.0 percent of all general-purpose card payments, up 1.1 percentage points from an estimated 42.9 percent in 2015.
  • In 2016, 19.1 percent of all in-person general-purpose card payments were made using chip cards (26.9 percent by value), compared with only 2.0 percent (3.4 percent by value) in 2015.
  • By value, the balance of general-purpose payment card fraud shifted from in-person fraud toward remote fraud over the 2015–16 period. The value of in-person fraud using these cards held the largest share in 2015, at 53.8 percent, while the value of remote fraud held the largest share in 2016, at 58.5 percent.