Noncash Payments: Global Trends and Forecasts, 2014 Edition

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3 December 2014
Gareth Lodge


Celent estimates that there were 345.7 billion noncash transactions in 2013, and the number is expected to rise to 411.2 billion by 2017. Checks continue their downward cycle, and debit cards are consolidating their position as second only to cash.

In the report Noncash Payments: Global Trends and Forecasts, Celent summarizes the payment statistics it tracks from over 120 countries, by both payment type and region.

“Two clear trends stand out,” says Gareth Lodge, a senior analyst with Celent’s Banking group and author of the report. “First, debit cards are by far the most popular payment type. Their numbers are even increasing. Remember, many of the so-called competitor products such as Apple Pay or PayPal actually initiate a debit card transaction. Rather than cannibalizing growth as some predicted, they look to be contributing to it.”

“The second key trend is that checks are dying out rapidly across the world, with an 11.2% CAGR reduction across the period examined,” Lodge adds. “We believe the death of checks is imminent in some countries, but in others it isn’t likely. For example, in 2013 the US wrote nearly 60% of all checks. That’s proving to be a tough habit to break.”

The report also shows that there is a third trend: emerging markets are growing at an amazing pace. For example, the BRIC countries alone accounted for nearly 15% of all growth in volume between 2012 and 2013. The report expects these countries, in addition to the Asia-Pacific region in general, to be the markets to watch in terms of growth.

This report is based on Celent’s Global Payments Database, which combines original research by Celent analysts and some publicly available data (which often differs from source to source). The data is then analyzed and interpreted by Celent to create a unique, rich resource. Having studied payment systems in over 100 countries, we understand the challenges of comparing apples with apples. The Global Payments Database also includes data on many other aspects of payments, from the regulatory environment to numbers of mobile phone subscriptions to numbers of ATMs.

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Industry Trends