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Who Reigns EU’s Biz Card Market: Visa, MasterCard or Amex?

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The fleet card is becoming a rare breed among commercial card products in Europe, finds a new report on the industry.

According to “Commercial Cards in Europe 2015,” an examination of the continent’s corporate card space, just 4 percent of payment cards in Europe are commercial cards. Fleet cards make up the majority of these products, accounting for 38 percent of corporate card products by the end of 2014.

But researchers also see dwindling numbers for this product, as the number of fleet cards in Europe is slated to decrease by 10 percent by the end of the decade. The introduction of internationally branded cards, the report concluded, is likely to blame for this trend as businesses seek out cards that have a wider range of services other than fueling and fleet.

That shift doesn’t mean commercial cards are decreasing in popularity in Europe, however.

The report found that the number of corporate card products will reach 57 million by 2020, up from the 45 million in use by the end of 2014.

Recent regulations may also help to fuel the rise of commercial cards. The European Commission recently introduced interchange fee caps for payment cards used in the EU, but those regulations don’t apply to commercial cards, instead allowing individual Member States to decide whether commercial cards should also see the swipe fee limit.

Researchers suggested that card issuers may promote commercial cards as a result, while card companies look to increase revenue as profits from interchange fees begin to plateau.

The report also pointed to other trends in the commercial card segment for Europe. For example, the U.K. and France represent the largest markets for corporate card products. Visa surpasses rivals MasterCard and American Express in terms of the number of commercial cards it has issued across the EU. However, MasterCard ranks in the top spot for popularity of commercial cards across more EU Member States than Visa.

Another report released last month on the EU commercial card industry, published by Mercator Advisory Group, found increasing prevalence in the single-use account/virtual card space for corporate payers.

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