Global card purchase volume grew 5.8 percent to $20.606 trillion in 2016, according The Nilson Report. Visa, UnionPay, MasterCard, JCB, Diners Club/Discover, and American Express brand general purpose cards generated 257.17 billion purchase transactions at merchants in 2016, an increase of 13.3 percent, or 30.21 billion more than in 2015. These transactions included all commercial and consumer credit, debit, and prepaid cards.
UnionPay debit cards were the most popular payment product based on purchase volume, followed by Visa credit cards, Visa debit cards, UnionPay credit cards, MasterCard credit cards, MasterCard debit cards, American Express cards, JCB cards, and Diners Club/Discover cards.
Other key insights include:
- Visa cards generated 54.06 percent of all purchase transactions on general purpose cards worldwide. Debit cards with the Visa brand continued to account for the most purchase transactions with a share of 34.82 percent, followed by Visa credit cards with 19.23 percent.
- MasterCard debit cards had a 13.30 percent share, overtaking MasterCard credit cards, which had a 12.87 percent share.
- UnionPay credit cards had a 7.59 percent share, and UnionPay debit cards had a 7.32 percent share.
- American Express had a 2.81 percent share, followed by JCB cards with 1.15 percent, and Diners Club/Discover cards with 0.91 percent.
- Debit and prepaid cards accounted for 55.44 percent of purchase transactions, up from 54.64 percent in 2015. Visa purchase transactions were 64.42 percent debit, up from 63.91 percent. MasterCard purchase transactions were 50.82 percent debit, up from 49.99 percent. UnionPay purchase transactions were 49.08 percent debit, up from 46.90 percent.
- Credit, debit, and prepaid cards in circulation worldwide totaled 11.15 billion at the end of 2016, up 9.4 percent from 2015. Of all cards in circulation, 77.37 percent were debit, up from 75.89 percent.
- Debit cards in circulation grew by 894.8 million compared with a 67.1 million increase for credit cards. UnionPay added the largest number of cards at 683 million, an increase of 12.6 percent; JCB had the second largest increase in cards, at 9.4 million, an increase of 10.1 percent.
- Visa added 141.4 million cards (up 4.8 percent), MasterCard added 136.9 million cards (up 8.9 percent), American Express declined by 7.9 million cards (down 6.7 percent), and Diners Club/Discover declined by 1 million cards (down 1.7 percent).