Analysts have confirmed an exponential increase in non-cash payments in all parts of the world. A fresh report shows that the picture is heterogeneous when it comes to industry innovation, however.
Non-cash payments, including electronic and mobile transactions, continue to be on the rise globally, the 2012 World Payments report indicated on Tuesday. The survey was jointly compiled by consulting firm Capgemini, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and the banking association Efma.
The report said there were an estimated 28.3 billion electronic and mobile payment transactions globally throughout 2011. Already in the previous year, more than one in three non-cash payments was made using a debit card.
"As more and more consumers move to mobile and other electronic payments, we'll continue to see the exponential growth of innovative payment solutions," said Kevin Brown from RBS' International Banking Department. He said the potential was huge, given that currently only 2.1 percent of mobile phone owners used their devices for non-cash payments.
The report praised payment innovators with a "granular understanding of the needs of their target customer segments", making specific mention of Japanese telecommunications group NTT Docomo which had succeeded in quickly creating a critical mass of 35 million users of its "Mobile Wallet". That is a payment gadget for mobile phones enabling a wide range of services such as electronic money transfers and non-cash transport ticketing.
The World Payments Report said non-cash transactions had generally remained concentrated in developed markets, with North America, Europe and parts of the Asia-Pacific together accounting for 79.5 percent.
But the survey also highlighted an exponential growth in the sector in Brazil which it said had become the second-largest individual payment country in the world, after the US. In 2012, Brazil logged 20 billion non-cash transactions, meaning that volumes there were larger than in any single European nation.
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