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Market Research Report

Cards and Payments Throughout Europe

Published by Timetric Product code 242086
Published Content info 78 Pages
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Cards and Payments Throughout Europe
Published: April 30, 2012 Content info: 78 Pages

This publication has been discontinued on February 2, 2017.



  • More people across Europe are using their debit cards to live within their means rather than borrowing to fund their lifestyles. The debit card is becoming the payment method of choice throughout Europe
  • This VRL report investigates cards and payments throughout the key economies in Europe
  • It provides analysis of the main market trends in the UK, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Portugal
  • It examines the impact of Europe-wide initiatives that are impacting on the financial services sector


There is a war on cash in Europe. Used for 6 out of 7 payment transactions in Europe, cash is disliked by governments and financial services organisations alike as it is expensive to manufacture, administer and keep secure. Cash is also the currency of the black economy in Europe and costs governments billions in unpaid taxes alone. This is a particular problem in some of the economically-troubled southern European countries. In Greece, Italy and Spain, for example, tax evasion is estimated to amount to 30%, 25% and 20% of the overall economy, respectively. As these countries and others in Europe attempt to clear budget deficits, governments will be keen for consumers to migrate towards more formal and traceable payments systems such as cards, credit transfers and direct debits. Cash tends to be a more popular payment method in southern European countries, where it accounts for more than 70% of retail sales payments. In the majority of northern European countries, non-cash payments account for the majority of retail sales transactions, with 30% or less being made using cash.


  • This report provides an analysis of the cards and payments systems of key countries within the proposed SEPA area, with a particular focus on the main markets in Western Europe
  • It also provides an assessment of the progress that different types of payment cards have made in light of the progress to full European EMV implementation
  • The progress that contactless payments are making on the European payments market is also considered
  • Likewise the growth of e-commerce in the region

Reasons To Buy

  • There is scope for replacing the reliance on cash and cheques by encouraging the update and use of plastic cards, electronic transfers and new innovations in payments
  • Consider why it is that stakeholders in financial systems (including governments and financial service organisations) are keen to migrate consumers from the use of cash to more formal and traceable payment methods
  • Find out about the trials involving contactless cards and mobile handsets in Spain, Italy and the UK
  • Compare the popularity of various payment methods throughout Europe and realise just how fragmented the market has become
Table of Contents
Product Code: VR0816MR

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

List of Figures

List of Tables

1. Introduction to Cards and Payments in Europe

  • 1.1. Non-cash payments in Europe
  • 1.2. Cash is still king in Europe
  • 1.3. Progress towards SEPA is off target
  • 1.4. Noticeable Efforts - but SEPA'S implementation is far from finished
  • 1.5. SEPA Compliant transfers still lack depth
  • 1.6. Banks and corporate initiatives to migrate to SEPA
  • 1.7. Size and complexity of the European financial sector
  • 1.8. Interchange fees differ by European country
  • 1.9. Contactless payments - the rhetoric and the reality
  • 1.10. Debit cards are reducing the share of other payment methods in some markets
  • 1.11. Consumer confidence is inhibiting consumer spending on cards
  • 1.12. Low consumer confidence will affect spending on cards
  • 1.13. E Commerce and the growth of new payment systems
  • 1.14. PayPal and Payfair are growing their market share
  • 1.15. Non-traditional challengers are beginning to emerge in the European payments market
  • 1.16. EMV migration has reduced the value of fraud losses
  • 1.17. Summary

2. Making inroads into cash reduction in the US

  • 2.1. Cards account for over half of non-cash payments in the UK
  • 2.2. The decline of cash
  • 2.3. The proportion of banked consumers is at an all-time high in the UK
  • 2.4. Debit cards are growing at the expense of cash, cheques and credit cards
  • 2.5. Credit cards take a hit as consumers consolidate cards
  • 2.6. Charge card volumes have remained flat for a decade
  • 2.7. POS and ATM transactions reflect UK market trends
  • 2.8. UK banks cancel 2018 cheque phasing deadline
  • 2.9. Contactless payments are growing
  • 2.10. Contactless payments trials and roll-outs
  • 2.11. Barclaycard converts UK corporate cards portfolio into contactless cards
  • 2.12. Interchange fees have been lowered to encourage merchant participation
  • 2.13. Mobile devices will become the new wallet
  • 2.14. Summary

3. Cash is still king in Germany

  • 3.1. Debit cards dominate the German cards market
  • 3.2. Zentraler Kreditausschuss (ZKA) Scheme
  • 3.3. Credit cards are unpopular with German consumers
  • 3.4. Charge cards have become increasingly popular in Germany
  • 3.5. Prepaid Credit Cards in Germany
  • 3.6. Key issuers in Germany
  • 3.7. Landesbank Berlin
  • 3.8. Barclaycard Germany
  • 3.9. Credit Mutuel-CIC, Targobank
  • 3.10. Visa interchange fees for selected Germany payment methods
  • 3.11. Contactless payments in Germany
  • 3.12. Contactless prepaid card pilot
  • 3.13. Contactless mobile travel in Germany
  • 3.14. German consumers want the banks to manage mobile payments
  • 3.15. Convenience payments dominate mobile payment preferences in Germany
  • 3.16. PayWave and PayPass in Germany
  • 3.17. Over half of German consumers bank online
  • 3.18. Mobile banking is yet to gain popularity in Germany
  • 3.19. Summary

4. The war on cash in Italy

  • 4.1. Prepaid cards in Italy
  • 4.2. Contactless payments in Italy
  • 4.3. Vodafone, CartaSi launches prepaid contactless card
  • 4.4. Contactless payments trials are Milan-centric
  • 4.5. Transport paves the way for NFC payments
  • 4.6. Plastic cards in Italy
  • 4.7. Debit cards provide an opportunity for cash replacement in Italy
  • 4.8. Credit cards in Italy
  • 4.9. POS and ATM terminals
  • 4.10. Overall lending is down from previous years
  • 4.11. Tighter lending criteria provide opportunities for organised crime
  • 4.12. Progress towards EMV migration in Italy
  • 4.13. Internet banking has room for significant growth
  • 4.14. Visa interchange fees for selected Italy payment methods
  • 4.15. Summary

5. Cards and Payments in France

  • 5.1. Plastic cards in France
  • 5.2. Debit cards continue to show steady growth
  • 5.3. Credit cards have also seen slight growth
  • 5.4. Interchange fees by payment method
  • 5.5. Launch of the MasterCard Display Card in France
  • 5.6. Charge cards in France
  • 5.7. Credit Agricole rolls out contactless cards in France
  • 5.8. Morpho partners with Moneo to launch contactless card in France
  • 5.9. Credit Agricole launches kwixo payments service
  • 5.10. Visa launched contactless pilot in Strasbourg
  • 5.11. Prepaid cards: the PCS MasterCard
  • 5.12. Cheques are in decline but still significant in France
  • 5.13. Summary

6. Spain

  • 6.1. Contactless payments in Spain
  • 6.2. Contactless mobile payments - the Siteges experience
  • 6.3. Definition of the economic model for contactless payments is required
  • 6.4. Debit cards decline in volume
  • 6.5. Room for growth in Credit cards
  • 6.6. BBVA - increasing cardholder value through consumer focus and product rationalisation
  • 6.7. BBVA consumers want simplicity and security
  • 6.8. Rationalisation of the product portfolio to meet consumer needs
  • 6.9. Internet banking in Spain
  • 6.10. Telefonica partners with RIM to launch mobile wallet in Spain
  • 6.11. Issuers
  • 6.12. Extensive ATM network
  • 6.13. Summary

7. The need for product innovation in smaller european countries

  • 7.1. Cards are the non-cash payment method of choice in Portugal
  • 7.2. Portuguese consumers favour pay now cards in times of austerity
  • 7.3. Debit cards dominate the Portuguese cards market
  • 7.4. Interchange fees in Portugal
  • 7.5. Cash still dominates the Greek payments market
  • 7.6. Debit card volumes significantly outstrip credit cards
  • 7.7. Contactless payments - a long way off for Greek consumers
  • 7.8. Interchange fees in Greece
  • 7.9. Internet banking has not yet gained momentum in Greece
  • 7.10. Non-cash payment growth will be concentrated in the conurbations in Ireland
  • 7.11. Debit cards are increasingly popular in Ireland
  • 7.12. Prepaid cards offer a growth opportunity in Ireland
  • 7.13. Interchange fees in Ireland
  • 7.14. Contactless payments in Ireland
  • 7.15. Poland
  • 7.16. Debit cards dominates the Poland market
  • 7.17. First Data supports Raiffeisen Bank with the implementation of contactless card programme
  • 7.18. Visa interchange fees in Poland 2012
  • 7.19. Bulgaria
  • 7.20. Debit cards accounts for 86% of total card market in Bulgaria
  • 7.21. Interchange fees by payment method
  • 7.22. Summary

8. Cards and payments in Europe - Conclusions

  • 8.1. Cash reduction is a key objective in most European countries
  • 8.2. The decline of credit cards in Europe
  • 8.3. The decline of cheques throughout Europe
  • 8.4. Contactless cards are a long way off mass market adoption
  • 8.5. Mobile wallets are even further from mass adoption than cards
  • 8.6. Payment innovations will enable access to new market segments
  • 8.7. The development of SEPA will continue to raise challenges
  • 8.8. Summary

List of Tables

  • Table 1: Cards and payments in Europe
  • Table 2: Card Payments in the EU (2010)
  • Table 3: Visa Europe interchange fees for consumer payments 2012
  • Table 4: Number and Value of transactions -Debit cards
  • Table 5: Number and Value of transactions -Credit cards
  • Table 6: Number and Value of transactions - Charge cards
  • Table 7: Growth in number of transactions
  • Table 8: Visa interchange fees for selected UK payment methods
  • Table 9: Proportion of non-cash payments (in volume) in Germany
  • Table 10: Number and Value of transactions - Credit cards
  • Table 11: Number and Value of transactions -Charge cards
  • Table 12: Visa interchange fees in Germany 2012
  • Table 13: Proportion of non-cash payments (in volume) by payment type in Italy
  • Table 14: Number and Value of transactions -Debit cards
  • Table 15: Number and Value of transactions - Credit cards
  • Table 16: Number and Value of transactions - Credit cards
  • Table 17: Visa interchange fees in Italy 2012
  • Table 18: Proportion of non-cash payments (in volume) by payment type in Italy
  • Table 19: Visa interchange fees in France 2012
  • Table 20: MasterCard Maestro interchange fees in France 2012
  • Table 21: Number and Value of transactions - Debit cards
  • Table 22: Proportion of non-cash payments (in volume) by payment type in Portugal
  • Table 23: Visa interchange fees in Portugal 2012
  • Table 24: Proportion of non-cash payments (in volume) by payment type in Greece
  • Table 25: Visa interchange fees in Greece 2012
  • Table 26: Proportion of non-cash payments (in volume) by payment type in Ireland
  • Table 27: Visa interchange fees in Ireland 2012
  • Table 28: Visa interchange fees in Poland 2012
  • Table 29: Visa interchange fees in Bulgaria 2012
  • Table 30: Corruption index for selected European countries
  • Table 31: UK sub-prime lending products

List of Figures

  • Figure 1: Payment trends across the European Union
  • Figure 2: Cross border comparison by number of debit cards
  • Figure 3: Cross border comparison by number of credit cards
  • Figure 4: Number of MFIs by country in the EU
  • Figure 5: Consumer confidence across Europe, Q4 2011
  • Figure 6: PayPal growth in Europe 2011 - 2017
  • Figure 7: Deployment of EMV cards in Europe
  • Figure 8: Proportion of non-cash payments (by volume) by payment type in the UK
  • Figure 9: UK payment trends
  • Figure 10: Debit cards in the UK
  • Figure 11: Credit cards in the UK
  • Figure 12: Charge card volumes in the UK
  • Figure 13: Number of ATMs and POS terminals in the UK (2006 - 2010)
  • Figure 14: Debit cards in Germany (2007 - 2010)
  • Figure 15: Credit cards in Germany
  • Figure 16: Charge card in Germany
  • Figure 17: Internet banking and usage in Germany 2010
  • Figure 18: Smart phones by EU country (in '000)
  • Figure 19: Vodafone Smart Pass
  • Figure 20: Debit cards in Italy
  • Figure 21: Credit cards in Italy
  • Figure 22: Credit card - Volume of transactions in Italy
  • Figure 23: Number of POS and ATM terminals in Italy
  • Figure 24: Debit cards in France
  • Figure 25: Credit cards in France
  • Figure 26: MasterCard OTP cards
  • Figure 27: Charge cards in France
  • Figure 28: Proportion of non cash payments in 2010 - Spain
  • Figure 29: Debit card volumes in Spain
  • Figure 30: Credit cards in Spain
  • Figure 31: The growth of Internet banking in Spain
  • Figure 32: Payment card trends in Portugal 2006 - 2010
  • Figure 33: Payment cards in Greece
  • Figure 34: Debit and credit card volumes in Ireland
  • Figure 35: Debit, credit and Charge card volumes in Poland
  • Figure 36: Debit and credit card volumes in Bulgaria
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