Bancontact, VISA/MasterCard and Maestro/V-Pay transactions in Belgium 2010-2018

Is MasterCard or VISA the most used payment card in Belgium? According to the number of processed payment transactions, neither is. In 2018, approximately 1.48 billion transactions were made using Bancontact. This payment scheme, which only exists in Belgium and uses debit cards from the country’s banks (such as the big banks BNP Paribas Fortis, Belfius and KBC) to pay for goods purchased either online or in a brick-and-mortar store, made up the majority of all processed payment transactions in the country. Bancontact also ranked as the country’s most used digital payment method in 2018.

Credit cards lead the way online…

Compared to the EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) region, Belgian customers made relatively more use of credit cards for e-commerce payments. A potential explanation for this could be that Belgian customers are more likely to buy something online from outside their country than other European customers. Cross-border purchases sometimes might require credit card payments, although some Dutch webshops (such as and Coolblue) have started to add the Bancontact payment option to make their platforms more attractive for a Belgian audience.

… with debit cards being popular at retail points of sale.

In 2017, there were around 16.4 million payment cards issued with a debit function in Belgium. (ID 664879). This number is a decline in comparison to the previous year, for reasons that were not mentioned. These payments, however, were not likely to be contactless: in 2018, only four percent of POS payment transactions in Belgium were contactless. This was considerably less than the market shares of contactless payments in other European countries and the combined European average of 48 percent.

Total number of offline and online processed card payment transactions in Belgium from 2010 to 2018, by payment scheme

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Release date

June 2019



Survey time period

2010 to 2018

Supplementary notes

The data corresponds to code 0418.547.872 of the database.

Figures have been rounded.

The figures have been taken from several publications.

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