Card expenditure continues to rise with customers increasingly expecting to be able to use their cards, even for low-value payments as convenience and speed drive increasing card usage for lower value payments

Payment cards were used for purchases with a value of $25.1 trillion worldwide in 2017, an increase of 13% on the year before, according to RBR in its recent Global Payment Cards Data and Forecasts to 2023 research report. Although card expenditure is growing strongly, it is being outpaced by growth in the number of payments, as cards are increasingly being used for lower-value payments, often displacing cash in smaller retailers for goods such as drinks and snacks.

RBR forecasts global card expenditure will grow at an average of 10% per year between 2017 and 2023 to reach $45.2 trillion. The average value of a payment, however, will fall from $67 to $62 over the same period as the influence of contactless cards grows – the latter are typically used for the lowest-value payments, and particularly those which would previously have been made with cash. Both customers and merchants appreciate the convenience of contactless payments, partly because the need to enter a PIN is removed, but also because transactions are much quicker.

According to RBR’s research, Asia-Pacific accounts for 50% of global card expenditure, which is much higher than its 28% share of the number of payments. The main reason for this is that in China, cards tend to be used for cash withdrawals rather than payments, and when they are used at POS, it is typically for high-value purchases such as property deposits and vehicles.

Average card payment value will fall as paying by card increasingly becomes the norm

RBR’s report shows that debit cards account for 55% of spending on cards worldwide, some way below their share of the number of payments. This is because debit cards are most commonly used for low-value purchases, whereas credit cards are usually used for more expensive items. As the influence of contactless grows, debit cards’ share of global card expenditure will continue to fall.

The value of card payments worldwide will doubtless continue to rise, but the average value of a payment will keep falling. Daniel Dawson, who led RBR’s research project, said: “Consumers worldwide are becoming more comfortable with using their cards for inexpensive goods, especially as contactless cards become commonplace. As they increasingly expect to be able to use contactless cards across the board, the average value of a payment will continue to fall”.

These figures and insights are based on RBR’s study, Global Payment Cards Data and Forecasts to 2023. For more information about this report or to discuss the findings in more detail please email Daniel Dawson (daniel.dawson@rbrlondon.com) or call +44 20 8831 7310.

RBR is a strategic research and consulting firm with three decades of experience in banking and retail automation, cards and payments. It assists its clients by providing independent advice and intelligence through published reports, consulting, newsletters and events.

The information and data within this press release are the copyright of RBR, and may only be quoted with appropriate attribution to RBR. The information is provided free of charge and may not be resold.

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by Bill Boyle
IBS Intelligence Senior Editor
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