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Payment card use grows worldwide

The number of card payments worldwide increased 14 percent in 2016, to 310 billion, though card numbers grew at a significantly slower rate of 8 percent.

This indicates that consumers worldwide are increasingly choosing cards to make purchases, according to RBR, publisher of Global Payment Cards Data and Forecasts to 2022.

RBR found that while growth in the number of card payments outpaced growth in the number of cards in virtually all markets, local factors were at play in specific fast-growing markets.

For example, RBR said:

  • In India, demonetization drove a rapid rise in card use.
  • In Iran, high inflation and wider card acceptance contributed to an increase.
  • In Russia, increased card acceptance by SMEs and microenterprises — plus the introduction of debit card loyalty programs — contributed to growth.
  • In mature markets, the increasing availability and frequency of contactless payments, especially for low-value purchases, are encouraging card payments.

Additionally, banks and the government in France have actively pushed contactless technology to depress cash use, while in the U.K., increasing merchant acceptance and cardholder confidence have popularized the technology.