War on Cash making slow progress in Europe
According to the yearbook, the use of cards to withdraw cash at automated teller machines was also up – with 17.3% more ATMs issuing 2% more cash during the year.
“Growth in debit card payments is getting stronger and stronger across Europe, while credit cards are losing ground. The use of cash also continues to grow at a more than healthy pace,” Horst Förster, author of the 2012-13 edition of the yearbook. “The total growth in ATMs and cash transactions by number and by value indicates that the battle against cash is making much slower progress than intended. This bodes well for opportunities in prepaid, contactless and other online and mobile forms of electronic payment.”
In 2011 there were 41.99 billion card payments across the 33 countries, showing a growth rate of 9.1% and amounting to an average 69.7 payments per capita per year – the national figures ranged from 3.8 payments per capita per year in Bulgaria to the “exceptional” high of 327.8 in Iceland.
Card payments on the internet and on the mobile internet showed significant growth rates.
The overall regional growth in debit cards, however, was largely driven by Turkey and the UK, with seven other countries – France, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain – recording a fall in the number of debit cards issued.