China Union Pay surpasses Visa as world’s most used debit card

unionpay

Purchases for goods and services from merchants worldwide in 2013 grew by USD2.786tn or 22.0% to USD15.422tn according to the Nilson Report.

The most popular payment method based on purchase volume were UnionPay debit cards, which for the first time surpassed Visa credit cards and Visa debit cards, according to the annual report, Global Cards, published in the current issue of The Nilson Report. UnionPay, established in 2002, is the national bankcard association in China.

When comparing credit card purchase volume only, Visa’s market share of 39.22% was down 262 basis points. MasterCard’s share dropped 158 basis points to 26.08%. UnionPay’s share grew by 534 basis points to 20.39%. American Express’s share fell 109 basis points to 11.79%. JCB’s share improved by 3 basis points to 2.21%, and Diners Club’s share declined 8 basis points to 0.32%.

When comparing debit card purchase volume only, UnionPay’s share increased 738 basis points to 47.19%. This gain made UnionPay the largest general purpose debit card issuer based on purchase volume. Visa’s share fell 605 basis points to 40.62%, and MasterCard’s share declined by 133 basis points to 12.20%.

Credit, debit, and prepaid cards in circulation totaled 8.33 billion at the end of 2013, up 13.3% or 975.0 million cards over year-end 2012.

Visa brand credit, debit and prepaid cards initiated more than 101 billion payments at merchants last year, more than twice as many transactions as MasterCard, its nearest competitor.

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