Payment card acceptance growth strong in developing countries

contactless card is being held over an NFC terminal

Expansion into rural areas is they key driver of the impressive card acceptance growth happening in developing markets, finds new research from RBR.

According to the research firm’s report, Global Payment Cards Data and Forecasts to 2021, the number of card-accepting merchant outlets worldwide rose by over 7 million in 2015 to 54 million. The Asia-Pacific, and Middle East and Africa (MEA) regions that showed the strongest growth.

In fact, in the Asia-Pacific region, the amount of merchant outlets that accept customers’ payment cards has increased by 29% in 2015. In terms of specific high-performing countries within the region, RBR’s research points to China as coming out on top. It alone accounted for 4.7 million new card-accepting outlets during 2015. Unsurprisingly really, with the Singles Day performance yet again emphasising the country’s fintech influence and significance.

“Chinese merchants are racing to keep up with demand from the country’s vast population, especially in underserved rural areas.” RBR said in a statement.

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Regulation, Regulation, Regulation

RBR’s research highlights the ever-increasing importance of regulation with examples such as Malaysia’s interchange fees reform encouraging more merchants to start accepting cards. In the EU, likewise, the Commission’s cap on interchange fees, which came into effect in December last year, has made a the business case for EU merchants to accept card payments “stronger”.

Just as important as regulation is innovation as technological advances change the payment and payment processing experience. markets. Contactless appeals to merchants that handle low-value payments and they appreciate the reduced transaction times that the technology can offer. Meanwhile, mPOS devices are increasing the ways merchants on the go, or mobile merchants, such as taxis and tradespeople. A prime example is London’s iconic Black Cabs accepting card and contactless payments as of last month.

RBR’s Chris Herbert remarked: “Whether card acceptance is coming to an area for the first time, moving to lower value payments, or penetrating smaller merchants, the acquiring sector has a remarkable ability to find new opportunities for expansion.”

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