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International Commercial Cards: Market Review and Forecast, 2018–2023

Commercial card markets outside of North America continue to show strong growth, underpinned by capture of travel industry payment flows.

Mercator Advisory Group reports that broader B2B industry payment flow capture is a key to continued high growth rates.


Companies across the globe seek more efficiencies and value from card schemes through process control, analytical data access, spending discipline, and easier staff experiences. The growth outlook across all reviewed regions remains strong, but the movement into massive business-to-business (B2B) payables flows in multiple vertical industries is where larger opportunities exist.

In a new research report, International Commercial Cards: Market Review and Forecast, 2018–2023, Mercator Advisory Group reviews regional trends and card growth through 2023 for mid- to large-market segments in Western Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and for the first time, Middle East/Africa.

“The outlook for noncash spending remains generally robust, especially across the indicated regions. But while commercial payments is estimated to be in the range of $100 trillion (USD) combined annually in these regions, commercial card share of the payment flows is less than 1 percent,” commented Steve Murphy, Director of Mercator Advisory Group’s Commercial and Enterprise Payments Advisory Service, author of the report. “Even though growth has been steady and relatively strong, the movement into business-to-business (B2B) payables flows outside of the travel industry has been limited. Headwinds in the form of regulations remain a hurdle, as do longer-term potential threats from new payment schemes, but the general outlook for commercial cards is strong through the next five years, with opportunity available through broader penetration of the payables book.”

The document is 20 pages long and contains 6 exhibits.

Companies and other organizations mentioned in this report include: Alipay, American Express, Citibank, Conferma, Ixaris, Mastercard, Optal, The Travel Corporation, UnionPay, Visa, WeChat, and WEX.

Highlights of the report include:

  • Global economic activity and noncash payments trends

  • An overview of the commercial cards market trends in each major region

  • Detailed discussion of the specific market issues affecting commercial cards in the various regions

  • Spend forecasts by card product and region through 2023