Debit cards have started to outnumber credit cards in most countries across the world, in many cases irrespective of the area and related economic development. However, when compared to credit cards, the real convenience of issuing debit cards, from the bank's perspective, may not be straightforward. Credit cards, as a type of loan, have always proved much more attractive because structural features allow issuers to generate high margins. A quick comparison of the internet space devoted to debit cards, and to credit cards, shows how the former has been overwhelmed by its credit counterparts.
Amongst the most relevant examples from different areas of the globe, Germany, as a cash-based society, stands out with an almost total absence of credit cards if compared to the number of debit cards in issue - 3.7 million credit cards vs. 102 million debit cards in circulation in 2010. Russia boasts an even more striking gap, with 127.8 million debit cards vs. 10 million credit cards in issue. A similar picture is apparent elsewhere, with data in 2010 showing India has 227.8 million debit cards against 18 million credit cards, or China where the high number of debit cards - 2.2 billion - makes 229.6 million credit cards pale into insignificance. Even in countries where credit cards still dominate, the card market has experienced an outstanding growth of debit-related payment instruments as in the case of Canada where the number of debit cards witnessed a consistent growth. The pattern is replicated in countries like Indonesia, Australia, Philippines and Brazil.
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