RBR Report Says 2021 Will See Big Jump in Card-Based Payments

September 26, 2016         By: Steven Anderson

A strange new development recently emerged from RBR, who released a report that said card-based transactions were significantly on the rise between 2015 and 2016.

While that’s not so outlandish, what it suggested would follow is perhaps more surprising: card-based payments would rise through 2021 worldwide.

While the number of new cards released increased fully nine percent in that time frame, the number of card transactions were up 15 percent, or nearly double the rate of new cards issued, showing that it’s not just new cards accounting for more transactions, but more transactions taking place throughout the system.

Consumers are, essentially, turning to card-based systems more often than others.

Sometimes this is due to direct government intervention; a central bank in Thailand reportedly set off on an active effort to reduce cash use in the region, promoting debit cards with marketing support over the use of automatic teller machines (ATMs) to reduce the total amount of cash used.

There were even reports of merchants getting direct incentives from said bank to bring more card acceptance measures into place.

Meanwhile, more organically, Poland and the Czech Republic were seeing more card payments come around thanks to a growing number of contactless card payment systems in place. Contactless also had a bit of a gain from established markets like France and Great Britain thanks to the contactless card system.

This growth is expected to continue through the 2021 time frame, yielding 55 percent growth in the field to reach 417 billion total card payments.

Even mobile payments might have something to do with this; many mobile payments systems like Apple Pay require some kind of payment card to serve as a base, or at least the details from a payment card account.

Add all of these together, along with an increasing seeming hostility to the notion of cash and the end result is a lot more cards being put to use.

It’s kind of a surprise, especially given that Generation Z shoppers have been seen to prefer cash, but with Gen Z still waiting in the wings and the millennials and Gen X pretty much in the driver’s seat for now, cards may rule for some time to come. Cash won’t be out of the picture, but it may be much less of the picture than anyone expected.