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Estimate of credit card and debit card numbers in 37 countries in Europe 2019

The number of debit cards in 37 European countries outweighed those for credit cards in 2019, with highest figures found in Russia, Turkey and Germany. Approximately 25 percent of payment cards in Germany, for example, were credit cards, reaching a total of roughly 37 million in 2019. Debit cards were found more often in the country, as there there were around 116 million of these cards. Note that the numbers provided here are estimates, based on both figures central banks have to supply as well as domestic sources. There are large differences in reporting this data within Europe, which sometimes can lead to gaps. Additionally, ownership of a payment card does not immediately indicate it gets used often, as there are also large differences within Europe when it comes to the use of certain payment methods.

Estimate of total number of credit cards and debit cards in 37 countries in Europe in 2019

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Sources

Release date

November 2020

Region

Europe

Survey time period

2019

Supplementary notes

The numbers shown are estimates based on the following indicators:

1. Credit cards

  • Number of cards with a delayed debit function;
  • Number of cards with a credit / delayed debit function;
  • Number of cards with a credit function.

2. Debit cards
  • Number of cards with a debit function;
  • Number of cards with a debit / delayed debit function.

All figures provided concern cards issued by resident PSPs. Numbers exclude cards with an e-money function.

* Between 2018 and 2019, the number of debit cards issued in Belgium grew by nearly 70 percent. This figure was checked several times, to make sure it was not a mistake. No explanation was given for this sudden increase.

** The high number of credit cards for Luxembourg is not explicitly explained, although it was mentioned that e-money figures were heavily influenced by company, not private, use. It could be that this is the same for credit card numbers. Another interpretation could be that numbers are high due to people who commute from neighboring countries into the Grand Duchy. *** In the case of Turkey, number of cards includes cards issued only by banks and what the source describes as "a limited number" of e-money institutions. This implies a (small) influence from e-money cards in these numbers, unlike other figures from Europe.

**** The numbers for Ukraine are extrapolated, as the country only reported debit and credit cards for "active cards" (cards that were used at least once in the previous three months). To make the data somewhat comparable, numbers were multiplied by the difference between "total active cards" and "total cards in circulation".

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