Voice of the Industry

Debit and credit cards: size of the market and latest developments

Thursday 6 October 2022 09:00 CET | Editor: Raluca Ochiana | Voice of the industry

The Paypers presents the latest development in debit and credit cards from levelling card fees to the stint in crypto payments.

Size of the market

Debit and credit cards are the de facto backbone of the global payment methods ecosystem. They may vary in popularity or market share compared to other methods, but as cash loses ground, the first ones to have something to gain are cards – with FT estimating in 2021 a 35% reduction in global cash payments during the pandemic. 

The global debit card market size is expected to grow from USD 90.49 billion in 2021 to USD 93.23 billion in 2022 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3%. The global debit cards market size is expected to grow to USD 96.84 billion in 2026 at a CAGR of 1%.

According to ResearchandMarkets.com, the credit and debit card market size varies from West to East. While the APAC region has been the largest market for credit cards in 2021, Western Europe held the top spot in debit card usage in the past year.

Credit cards are still the bread and butter of the US payments ecosystem, and even with a dip at the beginning of last year, the situation turned by late 2021. Cited by Insider Intelligence, according to JPMorgan Chase, the US credit card market registered a 19.8% growth across the two years ending in Q3 2021, while Wells Fargo’s credit card POS volume rose 29.9% over the same period. The Financial Brand issued a detailed study on the American market revealing that American Express has the highest customer credit card satisfaction score, followed by Discover and Capital One.

In Latin America, domestic and international credit cards together account for more than one-half of online retail payments in the region, driven by their high shares in the three largest B2C ecommerce markets – Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina.

Latest developments

Regulation and levelling card fees

Credit cards have had a hard time keeping up with the lower fees of instant payment rails and the promise of A2A payments as a whole. The three biggest complaints customers had with credit cards were collection issues (32.95%), billing problems (19.38%), and the payoff process (6.04%), according to WalletHub, cited by the Financial Brand. In the US, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau signalled a crackdown on late fees charged by credit card companies, as inflation threatens to increase those so-called ‘junk’ fees levied on consumers, as per CNBC

Across the ocean, UK-based Payment Systems Regulator has set to launch two separate market reviews of the fees charged by Visa and Mastercard. The watchdog alleged that the fees paid by acquirers increased significantly over the period 2014 to 2018, but that ‘a substantial proportion of these increases are not explained by changes in the volume, value or mix of transactions’.

In May 2022, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) announced it started legal proceedings against Mastercard Asia Pacific and Mastercard Australia for alleged anti-competitive conduct. According to the allegations, the global card issuer substantially lessened competition in the supply of debit card acceptance services between November 2017 and November 2020.

Visa, Mastercard, and the stint in crypto payments

Cryptocurrency debit cards are a new trend in the cards industry. Visa launched its first crypto cards in Latin America – and will debut its new products in Brazil and Argentina via several new partner firms, as per an announcement from June 2022.

In turn, Mastercard has announced it will be expanding its payments network to Web3 and NFTs. The payments system will allow people to use their Mastercard cards for NFT purchases, whether that’s on the marketplaces of Immutable X, Candy Digital, The Sandbox, Mintable, Spring, Nifty Gateway, or using their crypto services.

Innovations and product launches

In July 2022, three of the ‘Big Four’ Australian banks – NAB, ANZ, and Westpac – have turned to the dynamic card verification value (CVV) functionality to combat online payment fraud and boost digital consumer protections. CBA is the only remaining ‘Big Four’ bank that is yet to introduce a version of a dynamic CVV.

In the same month, Visa partnered with Spain-based fintech Pecunpay to launch a new solution, Visa Direct. With Visa’s global network and Pecunpay’s licence, customers will be able to use the new Visa Direct both in Spain and throughout the European Economic Area (EEA).

Bigtechs are also diving into the card world, with Google announcing in May 2022 that its Chrome browser offers users the ability to use a virtual credit card in online payment forms. These virtual card numbers allow people to keep their ‘real’ credit card number safe when buying something online since they can be easily revoked if a merchant’s systems get hacked.


This article was first published in Payment Methods Report 2022, the most updated overview of trends and developments in the payment methods space and the innovative technologies that these methods work upon, emerging consumers habits, and strategies on how to win at conversion and retention.

About Alexandra Constantinovici

Alexandra is Senior News Editor at The Paypers. A passionate writer, Alexandra has an extensive background in journalism – as a graduate of Journalism and Communication studies –, as well as editing, publishing, and marketing. She coordinates the news coverage at The Paypers and, together with the team of editors, she strives to bring forward the latest trends for our readers, while investigating and sharing with our community the upcoming innovative industry shifts.

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Keywords: payment methods, debit card, credit card, cryptocurrency, payments ecosystem, regulation, bigtech
Categories: Payments & Commerce
Countries: World
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Payments & Commerce

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