Global Card Transactions Will Near 300 Billion By 2018

The number of global general purpose debit and credit card transactions, both with a card present and without, is projected to grow from 167 billion in 2012 to 289 billion in 2018, according to a report from Nilson. That works out to 73% growth, or a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10%.

Here are the key insights:

  • Asia-Pacific will see the fastest growth: Transactions are expected to grow at a CAGR of 16% over the six-year period, rising from 29 billion transactions in 2012 to 71 billion transactions in 2018.
  • Asia-Pacific will also gain a greater share of total global transactions: The region will account for a quarter of global transactions at the end of the forecast period, up from 17% in 2012.
  • Europe will fall behind Asia-Pacific: With 38 billion transactions in 2012, Europe accounted for 23% of global transactions. By 2018, Europe’s market share is forecast to drop to 20%, or 59 billion card transactions.
  • The combined Middle East and Africa region will see the second-fastest growth in transactions, but it will have a negligible effect on market share: The number of transactions in the region will grow at a CAGR of 12%, to rise from 3 billion transactions in 2012 to 6 billion in 2018. But because the number of transactions in the region is still so small, market share will remain around 2%.
  • The U.S. will continue to lead, but see its market share fall: In 2012, Nilson found that there were 76 billion card transactions in the U.S., already more than any other region will see by 2018. The number of U.S. card transactions will grow at a CAGR of 8%, to reach 120 billion transactions in 2018. Global market share will decrease from 46% in 2012 to 42% in 2018.

The forecast and data come from the January 2014 issue of the Nilson Report and includes transactions for Visa, MasterCard, UnionPay, American Express, Maestro, JCB, Discover, and other general-purpose card transactions.

Click here to download this chart in Excel.

The number of card transactions is important to merchant service providers, payments processors, and card networks like Visa and AmEx because for each card transaction that merchants accept they usually pay an assortment of flat per-transaction fees in addition to a percentage of the cost of the purchase. It’s also useful for sizing the card payment market as a whole. Our recent payments report covers how each type of company within the payments industry fits into the payments value-chain.

Here is a look at transaction share by region:

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