Thanks in part to new regulations and an increase in financial literacy, RBR projects that payment card acceptance will jump 40 percent to 85 million outlets around the globe by 2022.
In a press release highlighting the results of its latest forecast, RBR said that regulations and increases in financial literacy are driving the card acceptance around the world. The growth potential is both in the mature markets as well in areas that have high cash usage rates.
In its latest cards research, Global Payment Cards Data and Forecasts to 2022, RBR said the number of card-accepting merchants increased by 7 million in 2016 to 61 million. Asia-Pacific, Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East and Africa saw double-digit growth in 2016 – but even with that growth, RBR said the regions are still underserved in terms of card acceptance. As a result, they are expected to be the drivers of global growth going forward.
RBR noted that regulatory factors are playing a big role in the expansion of card acceptance networks, citing Kazakhstan as one example. The country is requiring all merchants to accept card payments, which played a role in the 50 percent growth in the number of outlets accepting it as a payment method. In India, in another example, growth in card-accepting merchants increased 45 percent thanks to the caps on EFTPOS terminal charges and the removal of terminal taxes by the government.
Regulation is expected to increase over the coming years, which will drive growth. What's more, RBR said that it expects new regulation to lower fees in less developed markets, such as Argentina and Malaysia, which will serve to expand card acceptance.
“The recent strong growth in card acceptance looks set to continue, fueled by a combination of falling merchant fees and rising consumer demand,” said Chris Herbert, card and payments expert at RBR. “In addition to rapid growth in developing regions, healthy market conditions in more mature countries in western Europe have the potential to unlock new opportunities for the acquiring sector.”