Card payments firm, VISA, reports that retail sales using its cards now account for 7% of global personal consumer expenditure (PCE) and, thanks to co-branding efforts, its global sales volume exceeded US$2.3 trillion for the year ending June 30th, 2002 (an increase of 17% over the previous year).
Personal consumer expenditure represents the market value of all goods and services purchased by households and non-profit institutions, excluding house purchases. According to Visa, global PCE currently stands at US$19 trillion, and mainly consists of cash and cheque payments.
In some domestic economies, Visa reports that its share of PCE is particularly high. For example, including retail sales and cash withdrawals, 68% of PCE in Iceland is on Visa cards, and in South Korea the figure is 57%. In the UK, the figure is currently 27%. "Visa's electronic payments offer many benefits including a choice of how and when to pay, enhanced security, and global utility," explained Malcolm Williamson, CEO for Visa International.
One of the major growth areas for Visa is debit cards. Visa worldwide debit sales volume surpassed US$1 trillion for the year, representing an increase of 22% over the previous year. In the US, the number of Visa debit (cheque) card transactions exceeded Visa credit card transactions for the first time from January to June 2002. During that time, Visa USA processed some 3.04 billion retail debit card transactions, compared to 2.96 billion credit card transactions, despite the fact that the number of credit cards more than doubled that of debit cards. Worldwide, Visa debit card transactions grew at over twice the rate of Visa credit card transactions.
Another growth area is in prepaid card products, such as payroll cards, gift cards, and money transfer cards. Visa estimates that the global market opportunity for prepaid products stands at over US$2 trillion.
In the credit card market, Visa saw growth of 12% globally, with a total sales volume of US$1.24 trillion for the year. Regionally, strongest growth was in emerging markets. Asia Pacific saw a 42% increase in overall sales volume, while Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa all saw a 37% increase. Worldwide, there are currently more than 1.2 billion Visa payment cards in circulation.
According to Visa, major factors in the growth of its global sales volume during the last financial year included:
- An increase in the number of merchant outlets that accept Visa. For example, in the US, acceptance in quick service restaurants has grown by 60% while the number of merchants accepting recurring payments, such as utility bills, has increased by 25%.
- New co-branded cards, such as the Payback Visa card in Germany, and the Target Visa card in the US.
- The launch of new payroll programmes in the US and Eastern Europe.
- Usage promotions surrounding the company's sponsorship of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.