A study of the latest payment industry figures shows that card payments across Europe increased by nearly ten per cent in 2011.
The use of cards to withdraw cash at automated teller machines (ATMs) was also up - with 17.3 per cent more ATMs issuing 2 per cent more cash during the year.
Horst Förster, the author of the European Payment Cards Yearbook 2012-13, said, "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."
In 2011 there were 41.99 billion card payments across the 33 countries, showing a growth rate of 9.1 per cent 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.
Further, 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.
There's good news too for banks as the de facto completion of the migration to EMV cards has resulted in lower fraud rates.
Horst Förster added, "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."
The latest edition of the European Payment Cards Yearbook provides a detailed study of the European Payment Cards marketplace. Including more than five hundred statistical tables - a new record for the Yearbook - reveal the detail behind the trends and the accompanying analysis is designed to help companies and organisations plan their strategies and tactics to meet changing requirements in the 33 countries studied..
Included within the European Payment Cards Yearbook are reports on each of the 33 countries (European Union members, European Free Trade Association members as well as Serbia and Croatia) which show how mobile payment and contactless products are succeeding in those areas which have launched new initiatives, particularly during 2012.
Contactless cards are now issued in more than 26 countries across the region. The Yearbook also looks at the introduction by innovative European banks of display cards, cards stored on microSD cards and NFC payments during 2012.
• The European Payment Cards Yearbook, now in its 15th year, covers pan-European and more detailed country-by-country information. Comprehensive statistics, charts and commentary are available on card issuing and acquiring, the banking sector, mergers and acquisitions in this sector as well as developments in electronic and mobile commerce. Individual country profiles as well as the European Overview can be purchased separately.
• The Yearbook provides rich statistical data by country and also includes selected key performance indicators to document the growth of cards in issue and the growth of transactions by number and value. Information is also included on card brands issued and accepted, on leading issuers, acquirers and processers, as well as views on market trends and notable mobile payments initiatives.
• The Yearbook has evolved over the years to become a complete 'almanac' for payments professionals.