Last year, the number of card transactions grew nearly twice as fast as the number of new cards, at 15 and 9 percent, respectively, according to the new study, “Global Payment Cards Data and Forecasts to 2021,” by RBR.

The numbers — which include a total of 270 card transactions during 2015 —indicate that consumers are increasingly turning to cards to make purchases.

For example, a central bank drive to reduce cash use in Thailand was supported by marketing by banks promoting debit cards — rather than cash withdrawn from ATMs. Merchants also received incentives to increase card acceptance.

In the Czech Republic and Poland, the rapid spread of contactless cards and acceptance infrastructure has brought about a surge in card payments, the RBR study found. Contactless has stimulated additional card payments in more developed markets, such as the U.K. and France, the company said.

According to the RBR study, the number of card payments worldwide will rise by a projected 55 percent between 2015 and 2021, to 417 billion. This compares to growth of 28 percent in card numbers over the same period.

Growth in card payment volume will be strongest in the Middle East and Africa, central and eastern Europe and Asia-Pacific, RBR said.

“We are seeing strong growth in card usage in all regions,” said Chris Herbert of RBR. “Cardholders in developing markets are gradually becoming more accustomed to using cards rather than cash for payment, and this — combined with a rapidly expanding acceptance network — is creating the perfect environment for a card payments boom. In more mature markets, technology developments such as contactless, and a willingness to use cards for ever smaller payment amounts are boosting the cards sector.”


Using the internet to make payments to utility, phone, credit card, insurance and other companies saves considerable time and effort. It is also a simple and convenient way to contribute to charity either directly or sponsoring participants in money-raising activities. There are, however, risks associated with online payments and you need to take care when making them.

The Risks

  • Fraud resulting from making payments over unsecured web pages.
  • emails directing you to fake websites set up to collect your payment card details.

Safe Payments

Online payments are normally part of your arrangement with a service provider as an alternative to payment by Direct Debit or cheque. In most cases, therefore, the payee will be familiar to you, but you must take care to ensure that you are on the provider’s genuine site.

  • Remember that paying by credit card offers greater protection against fraud than with other methods.
  • Double check all details of your payment before confirming.
  • Before entering payment details on a website, ensure that the link is secure, in three ways:
    • There should be a padlock symbol in the browser window frame, which appears when you attempt to log in or register. Be sure that the padlock is not on the page itself … this will probably indicate a fraudulent site.
    • The web address should begin with ‘https://’. The ‘s’ stands for ‘secure’.
    • If using the latest version of your browser, the address bar or the name of the site owner will turn green.
  • When making a payment to an individual use a secure payment site – never transfer the money directly into their bank account.
  • Check the website’s privacy policy.
  • Always log out of sites into which you have logged in or registered details. Simply closing your browser is not enough to ensure privacy.
  • Keep receipts – electronic or otherwise.
  • Check credit card and bank statements carefully after payment to ensure that the correct amount has been debited, and also that no fraud has taken place as a result of the transaction.
  • Ensure you have effective and updated antivirus/antispyware software and firewall running before you go online.