The steady growth of debit card purchase volume in the U.S. is largely attributable to debit’s taking share from cash and checks.
The decline in credit card purchase volume is primarily due to an absolute decline in consumer spending.
- An estimated $9.5 billion (11.4 percent) of U.S. debit card purchase volume growth can be attributed to volume that had gone to credit the year before
- The decline in U.S. credit purchase volume can be linked to long-term changes in consumer spending habits and to an increase in the use of cash
MasterCard expects changes in U.S. consumer behavior post-financial crisis to be long lasting, if not permanent. These new behaviors can be grouped into two categories: consumers are controlling household expenditures (versus income) with the goal of either paying down debt or saving for retirement; and using credit cards as household cash management tools rather than wish-granting lending instruments. While the behaviors highlighted above differ by consumer segment, their aggregate impact is apparent in the way consumers now use different payment methods. Issuers need to adapt their strategies to help consumers achieve their new financial goals while sustaining their own profitability.