The number of merchants accepting card payments around the world grew by 13 percent in 2017, to 69.2 million, according to a report.
RBR, a research and consulting firm for banking and retail, released a forecast of payment card data through 2023, and found that card payment acceptance is growing at a fast rate.
The two regions with the most growth were also the two least developed: Asia-Pacific and Central and Eastern Europe. The growth was partly driven by new regulations; India was helped along by the government placing caps on terminal charges and also pressuring banks to recruit more merchants.
Czechia also saw an increase due to merchants now being required to keep electronic records of sales and to allow customers to use cards at electronic funds transfer at point of sale (EFTPOS) terminals.
New regulations on interchange fees have also made a difference in merchant service charges. In the European Union, interchange fees were capped in 2015, and in Brazil, caps were announced in March of 2018.
RBR expects the acceptance of cards to grow 8 percent between the end of 2017 and 2023, to 111.7 million. The Middle East and Africa are expected to make some gains, and the company pointed out that tourism also plays a factor. In Japan, for example, card acceptance should go up because of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, with the government making it easier for tourists to spend money.
“Merchants across the world are being persuaded of the benefits of accepting cards, even for low-value payments,” said Daniel Dawson, who led the study. “As consumers increasingly expect to be able to pay by card, the number of outlets where they can do so will continue to grow.”