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The Nilson Report on Global Credit, Debit, and Prepaid Cards 2016

Darren Beck Event News Leave a Comment

By David Robertson, Publisher, The Nilson Report

Our annual report on commercial and consumer global credit, debit, and prepaid cards shows Visa, UnionPay, Mastercard, JCB, Diners Club/Discover, and American Express brand general purpose cards generated 257.17 billion purchase transactions at merchants in 2016 — 30.21 billion more than in 2015. Debit figures shown above include prepaid cards. Visa cards include Visa Inc. and Visa Europe, which became a single company in June 2016.

Visa cards generated 54.06% of all purchase transactions worldwide on global brand general purpose cards last year. Visa brand debit cards accounted for 34.82% and Visa credit cards accounted for 19.23%. Mastercard debit cards had a 13.30% share, overtaking Mastercard credit cards, which had a 12.87% share. UnionPay credit cards had a 7.59% share, and UnionPay debit cards had a 7.32% share. American Express had a 2.81% share, followed by JCB cards with 1.15% and Diners Club/Discover cards with 0.91%.

UnionPay cards had the largest percentage increase in purchase transactions. 

Combined, UnionPay credit and debit card purchase transactions at merchants grew by 32.0% in 2016.

Debit and prepaid cards accounted for 55.44% of purchase transactions, up from 54.64% in 2015. Visa purchase transactions were 64.42% debit, up from 63.91%. Mastercard purchase transactions were 50.82% debit, up from 49.99%. UnionPay purchase transactions were 49.08% debit, up from 46.90%.

Purchase volume for goods and services was $20.606 trillion, up 5.8%

UnionPay debit cards accounted for more total volume last year than any product from the other brands with $6.416 trillion. However, some of these UnionPay cards are used for consumer and commercial real estate and other large-volume transactions as well as for purchases on online wholesale marketplaces.

UnionPay debit cards generated the most purchase volume, followed by Visa credit cards, Visa debit cards, UnionPay credit cards, Mastercard credit cards, Mastercard debit cards, American Express cards, JCB cards, and Diners Club/Discover cards.

UnionPay accounted for 54.93% of global brand cards in circulation

Credit, debit, and prepaid cards in circulation totaled 11.15 billion at the end of 2016, up 9.4% over year-end 2015. UnionPay added the most cards (683.0 million), an increase of 12.6%, while JCB had the second highest percentage increase in cards (up 10.1%), adding 9.4 million cards. Visa added 141.4 million cards (up 4.8%), Mastercard added 136.9 million cards (up 8.9%), American Express had a reduction of 7.9 million cards (down 6.7%), and Diners Club/Discover declined by 1.0 million cards (down 1.7%).

UnionPay accounted for 54.93% of global brand cards in circulation, up from 53.41%, followed by Visa with 27.68%, down from 28.91%, Mastercard with 14.97%, down from 15.04%, American Express with 0.99%, down from 1.16%, JCB with 0.93%, up from 0.92%, and Diners Club/Discover with 0.51%, down from 0.57%.

Of the total cards in circulation, 77.37% were debit, up from 75.89%. Debit cards in circulation grew by 894.8 million compared to a 67.1 million increase for credit cards.

Debit cards accounted for 92.41% of the UnionPay card base, up from 92.06%. For Visa, 67.36% of its cards were debit, up from 66.25% For Mastercard, 53.20% of its cards were debit, up from 50.33%.


About The Nilson Report

The Nilson Report is the most respected source of news and analysis of the global card and mobile payments industries. It carries no advertisements of any kind, no articles written by vendors, and no sponsored content. Now in its 46th year, the by-subscription-only newsletter provides statistics on issuers and acquirers of credit, debit, and prepaid cards not found in any other trade journal. It also presents concise news and updates on technology, personnel, and products.

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