Visa reports surge in small payment volumes

Visa reports surge in small payment volumes

Visa USA says its volume on purchases less than $25 totalled $27.3bn in the first six months of the year, an increase of 17% over the same period in 2005, indicating that payment cards are increasingly being used instead of cash and cheques to pay for small ticket items.

According to the survey of 1154 payment cardholders, more than half (55%) of respondents use their plastic to pay for items less than $25 and they cite several reasons for doing so including convenience (86%), ease of use (62%), speed (45%) and expense management (35%).

Visa says its small ticket strategy has helped accelerate card acceptance and usage at cash-heavy merchants. The company's 'no signature required' programme has made low value payments more convenient for merchants and customers, it says, by waiving the signature requirement for qualifying transactions less than $25. Visa's service also offers acquirers decreased credit and debit interchange rates on card transactions of $15 or less in 14 merchant categories.

Commenting on the survey, Niki Manby, senior vice president, product innovation, Visa, says the significant increase in Visa usage demonstrates consumers' desire to make more small purchases, from coffee to transit and even laundry, on their payment cards

"We're meeting this demand by giving them more and more places to use their cards. At the same time, we're helping merchants with traditionally cash-heavy businesses increase sales, enhance their customers' experiences and improve throughput," says Manby.

The research also found that consumers aged between 18 and 25 are leading the trend, with 60% preferring to use payment cards for purchases less than $25, particularly in new and emerging segments such as digital content, vending machines, public transport, parking and newspapers.

This age group is also at the forefront of the growth in micropayments, says Visa, with 70% willing to use payment cards for purchases less than $2, compared to only 26% of consumers aged 45 and older. In the past three months alone, one in three survey respondents (35%) aged 18-25 have purchased a cup of coffee or tea using a payment card and one in five (22%) have purchased digital content.

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