The Future of Debit Cards: A Global Perspective

July 1, 2004


New York, NY, USA July 1, 2004

In a new report, " " Celent looks at banks’ key opportunities and challenges across the globe. The report is based on interviews with over 40 banks, networks, and regulators across 20 countries from Latin America, North America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific, and Africa.

Despite significant market disparities across the world, Celent points out that there is considerable room for growth for regular debit and pre-paid debit card products in both developed and developing countries. The report also discusses the recurring challenges faced by banks, including the need to end subsidizing debit cards in a number of countries, to drive customers away from the ATM, and to resist merchants and regulators assaults against the interchange fees.

Among the future trends anticipated, Celent expects further consolidation among regional and domestic debit networks, with Visa and MasterCard benefiting from the trend. Meanwhile, the rising clout of Visa and MasterCard will face an increasing amount of resistance from merchants and regulators. "What Visa and MasterCard debit products may achieve defies the imagination, from helping to bank large segments of the global population currently unbanked, to improving the fate of cash-based economies. However, defending and strengthening the interchange fees will be paramount to achieving these goals" comments

Gwenn Bézard, a Senior Analyst at Celent and author of the report.

Celent expects more merchants to support the development of their own debit networks, the resilience of signature debit in the U.S., and a migration of fraud at the point-of-sale from EMV-compliant countries to magnetic-stripe signature-based debit card markets such as the U.S.

The 29-page report contains 20 figures.


Table of contents is available online.

of Celent Communications' Retail Banking research service can download the report electronically by clicking on the icon to the left.  Non-members should contact for more information.


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Celent is a research and advisory firm dedicated to helping financial institutions formulate comprehensive business and technology strategies. Celent publishes reports identifying trends and best practices in financial services technology and conducts consulting engagements for financial institutions looking to use technology to enhance existing business processes or launch new business strategies. With a team of internationally based analysts, Celent is uniquely positioned to offer strategic advice and market insights on a global basis. Celent is a member of the Oliver Wyman Group, which is a wholly-owned operating unit of Marsh & McLennan Companies [NYSE: MMC].

Media Contacts

North America
Michele Pace
Tel: +1 212 345 1366

Europe (London)
Chris Williams
Tel: +44 (0)782 448 3336

Asia (Tokyo)
Yumi Nagaoka
Tel.: +81 3 3500 3023

Table of Contents


New York, NY, USA July 1, 2004

The Future of Debit Cards

Return to report Abstract


  The Fastest Growing Payment Method 6
  Growth Drivers 7
  Growth Opportunity 9
  Beyond Subsidization 12
  From ATM to POs 13
  Merchants' Backlash 14
  Regulation 16
  Demise of Bank-Backed Domestic Networks 17
  Winning Back the Hearts of Merchants 17
  Merchant-Backed Networks 18
  Defending the Franchise 18
  USA: Signature Debit to Hold on 19
  Fraud Migration 20

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