The Future of Consumer Card Payments

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3 November 2006


San Francisco, CA, USA November 3, 2006

Celent examines trends and outcomes in the credit, debit, and prepaid industries.

Payment cards have come a long way since they emerged in the 1950s. Credit cards are no longer an exclusive product for the elite, but a commodity for the average American. Debit cards have evolved from a means to withdraw money at an ATM to a device used to make daily purchases at a nearby merchant location; and prepaid cards continue to modernize many inefficient paper-based systems.

In a new report by Ariana-Michele Moore, , Celent details the evolution of these devices and how they have impacted the US payments economy. Not only have they provided a convenient and easier way for consumers to spend money, they have also helped shift US consumers from a paper-based economy to an electronic one. Today, consumers spend just as much with card as they do with paper, and the use of paper continues to decline.

"Concurrent with the increase in card use has been the shift in consumer purchasing behavior. Cards are being used for more than luxury and emergency purchases. They are increasingly capturing the many buckets of consumers payments," says Alenka Grealish, manager of the Banking group at Celent. Such purchases include emergency items, luxury goods and other large ticket items, gifts, utilities, groceries, and everyday expenditures. In addition, they are not only being used at merchants but also to pay bills, donate money, receive pay checks, and send money.

This report provides a look at the future of cards, as well as an overview of the challenges issuers will face and thoughts on strategies to overcome those challenges.

The 40-page report contains 14 figures and three tables. A table of contents is available online.