Global Non-Cash Payments: Trends and Forecasts

by Gareth Lodge, November 27, 2012
Industry Trends


In 2011, despite the economic crisis, non-cash payment volumes grew by 5.0% to 304.8 billion transactions, with debit cards now the most favored payment instrument.

In the report Global Non-Cash Payments: Trends and Forecasts, Celent summarizes payment statistics it has tracked from over 120 countries, by both payment type and region.

“Two clear trends stand out,” says Gareth Lodge, Senior Analyst with Celent’s Banking Group and author of the report. “First, debit cards saw the greatest levels of growth over the period 2008-2011, in both percentage and absolute terms. Much of this growth has come at the expense of other payment types, but particularly seen by many consumers as a direct cash substitute. Instead of using the card at an ATM and using that cash to pay, they view using the card as merely shorting that process.”

“The second key trend is checks are dying out rapidly across the world, with a 6.6% CAGR reduction across the period examined,” he adds. “While we believe the death of checks is imminent in some countries, in others it most certainly isn’t likely. For example, in 2011 the US wrote nearly 60% of all checks, globally. That’s going to be a tough habit to break.”

This report is based on Celent’s Global Payments Database. This database brings together the wealth of information Celent analysts collect during their research. While much of the data may be publicly available, the interpretation and triangulation of this data are an integral piece of the database. Having studied payment systems in over 100 countries, we understand the challenges of comparing apples with apples, particularly because the data often differs from source to source. This report also draws on data collected on many other aspects, from regulatory environment to numbers of mobile phone subscriptions to numbers of ATMs.

This 36-page report contains eight figures and seven tables.

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].

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Table of Contents

Executive Summary



The Numbers



Two Global Key Trends


Introducing the Celent Global
Payments Database



What Does the Database Contain?



What Does the Database Not Contain?



Methodologies and Approach


The Big Picture in 2001



Payments: Differently the Same?



Two Trends Stand Out


Cash Is King, and Will Be for Many Years to Come


Checks: Steady Decline Continues


Credit Transfer: Speed Becomes the Opportunity


Direct Debit: Europe at the Forefront


Debit Card: The World’s Favourite


Credit Card: In Credit, But Only Just?


Where Next for Banks






Leveraging Celent’s Expertise



Support for Financial Institutions



Support for Vendors


Related Celent Research


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