BACK

Research and Statistics

Global card transactions up 12% to 135 billion in 2011

Summary

Credit, debit and prepaid card transactions have been on the rise, according to findings published by an industry analyst

The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of our partner offers may have expired. Please review our list of best credit cards, or use our CardMatch™ tool to find cards matched to your needs.

Planetarily speaking, there’s a whole lot of swiping going.

The Nilson Report’s annual Global Credit Card Brands report shows that planet-wide, transactions at merchants on the leading payment cards rose to 135.3 billion in 2011. If each of the Earth’s 7 billion people had a credit card, they would have swiped it an average of 19 times. The number of transactions worldwide represents a 12.1 percent increase from 2010 — or 14.6 billion more transactions.

The report from Nilson, an industry research publisher, measures the volume of transactions, counting debit, credit card and prepaid card transactions. It includes users of cards from American Express, Diners Club, JCB, MasterCard, UnionPay and Visa.

David Robertson, publisher of The Nilson Report, says it has to do with the changing of our preferred payment methods.

“These results reflect a continuation of the worldwide movement from cash and checks to payment cards, both debit and credit,” says Robertson in a news release.

Other global plastic payment factoids in the report include:

  • By the end of 2011, the total number of credit, debit, and prepaid cards in circulation hit 6.54 billion.
  • Of total payment cards in circulation carrying the global brands of American Express, Diners Club, JCB, MasterCard, UnionPay and Visa, most were debit cards — at 68.8 percent.
  • In 2011, Visa and MasterCard purchases made up $70 out of every $100 — down $3 since 2010.

The report also found Americans aren’t dominating the world of credit card use quite as heavily as they had in the past. United States cardholders’ share of worldwide credit card purchase volume slipped a percentage point, from 38 percent in 2010 to 37 percent in 2011.

See related:Credit cards around the world, Credit card statistics, industry facts, debt statistics

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

What’s up next?

In Research and Statistics

Poll: About 6 million in US hid bank accounts from spouse, partner

Call it financial infidelity: A CreditCards.com poll found that about 7 percent of people are hiding a credit card, checking or savings account from their partners

See more stories
Credit Card Rate Report Updated: September 16th, 2020
Business
13.91%
Airline
15.48%
Cash Back
15.94%
Reward
15.78%
Student
16.12%

Questions or comments?

Contact us

Editorial corrections policies

Learn more

Join the Discussion

We encourage an active and insightful conversation among our users. Please help us keep our community civil and respectful. For your safety, do not disclose confidential or personal information such as bank account numbers or social security numbers. Anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused.

The editorial content on CreditCards.com is not sponsored by any bank or credit card issuer. The journalists in the editorial department are separate from the company’s business operations. The comments posted below are not provided, reviewed or approved by any company mentioned in our editorial content. Additionally, any companies mentioned in the content do not assume responsibility to ensure that all posts and/or questions are answered.