China is fast catching up with the US and Europe as a growth market for non-cash transactions, according to the latest edition of the annual World Payments Report from The Royal Bank of Scotland, Capgemini and Efma.
The US is the leading market for non-cash payments, accounting for over 40% of transactions, with Europe accounting for 21% of this emerging global market. Developing economies accounted for the rest, with China emerging as a leading growth market with nine percent of transactions.
Non-cash payment volumes increased by 8.6% globally to 250 billion transactions in 2008, with 100 billion transaction conducted in the US.
The use of cards was the single strongest factor behind the rise in global non-cash volumes, with credit and debit cards growing by 14.5% in 2007 and 11.6% in 2008.
While the Western economies lead the way in traditional volume terms, Asian markets are cited as an important reference source for future innovations in payments. The Asian market offers valuable insights on the success factors for developing different payment tools, says the report, and the opportunities for banks to generate new revenues from emerging payment instruments.
Bertrand Lavayssière, managing director Global Financial Services, Capgemini, says: “Emerging payment methods like m-payments, contactless payments, e-payments and biometric authentication can help banks to attract and retain new clients, reduce the use of cash, create new offers, reach unbanked markets and decrease operational costs."
Based on data gathered through 2007 and into 2008 the report highlights the state of the payments industry right before the financial crash of 2008.
Although the majority of the data in the WPR 2009 was gathered in 2007, research also included conversations with banks and corporates in 2009. As a result of that late research, Global Transaction Services (GTS) is cited as a stable and profitable source of revenue for financial institutions in the current economic climate. GTS accounted for 5-20% of group revenues at major banks, despite some divisions suffering from a downturn in market conditions and reduced business volumes in the first quarter of 2009.
Part of the research for the WPR 2009 was conducted via interviews with 16 banks and 20 corporate clients. Those include Daimler, France Telecom, ANZ, Barclays, BNP Paribas, ING Bank and Citi, among others.