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

Credit cards were found relatively less often in Europe in 2019 than debit cards, with the exception of Luxembourg and Iceland. For all remaining 35 countries in this comparison, debit card penetration outweighed the credit 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 credit cards and debit cards per capita in 37 countries Europe in 2019

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Sources

Release date

November 2020

Region

Europe

Survey time period

2019

Age group

15 years and older

Special properties

country population

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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