EU payments market to grow to 526billion transactions by 2020

Last month the European Central Bank published 2010 figures for European transaction volumes and they paint an interesting picture of the growth of electronic payments during this difficult period. However, using this market data and population growth statistics, I predict that by 2020 European citizens will be making an average 1,2 electronic payments per day, accounting for 30% of the payments that they make.

Luxembourgers will be the EU citizens most effectively leveraging electronic payments, making around 6 per day  – good news in the home of PayPal Europe and following a Government initiative to re-invent the country as an e-Hub for Europe. Luxembourg also becomes the only EU member state to make more electronic payments than those in the US, with a 2020 average of 3,36 per person per day.

Overall 2020 will see a shift towards electronic payments, but not at the pace anticipated by a number of electronic payments evangelists. In an overall EU payments market of 526billion transactions, electronic payments will account for 157billion or just over 30%, putting the EU around 10 years behind the US.

Belgium, with the highest penetration of bank accounts per capita in the EU and the first country to fully migrate to SEPA instruments will continue to be a high-cash market, although tending towards electronic payments at an increasing rate. Its neighbour, The Netherlands, will make over 11bn electronic payments in 2020, compared to 0,4billion in  Belgium.

As predicted by UK Payments, cheque usage in the UK will drop to a quarter of 2010 volumes with a likely sub-1million usage arriving in 2026 while cheques continue to be a major force in the French market with 1,8billion used in 2020.

Estonians and (fittingly) the Czechs top the list of of newer member states for use of electronic payments, both making more each day than original members France and Germany. Greece and Bulgaria hold up the rest of Europe with only 0,18 and 0,17 electronic payments per citizen per day respectively.

Overall the move away from cash and to electronic payments in Europe remains slow and a long way behind the US. However, countries where investment is being made in electronic transactions with a focus on ease-of-use and balancing the transaction costs, electronic payments are embraced by EU citizens and the market evolves quickly.

Growth of Electronic Payments in the EU and US until 2020

2012 EU US
Total Non-cash transactions (including ATM withdrawal) 95bn 147bn
Total market (cash & non-cash transactions) 431bn 368bn
Average non-cash transactions per capita per year 214,7 498
Total Non-cash transactions (including ATM withdrawal) 112bn 208bn
Total market (cash & non-cash transactions) 464bn 429bn
Average non-cash transactions per capita per year 251,5 668,6
Total Non-cash transactions (including ATM withdrawal) 157bn 407bn
Total market (cash & non-cash transactions) 526bn 499bn
Average non-cash transactions per capita per year 350,3 1225,5

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