2021 Annual U.S. Debit Card Market Data Review: Unprecedented Double-Digit Growth


Mercator Advisory Group releases new research tracking the strong debit card volume growth and provides a near-term forecast for the U.S. market.

Author: Sarah Grotta
Published on: July 15, 2021

Debit card growth continues at a record double-digit pace.

Dollar volume spent in the U.S. rose by 14% as a result of generous government benefits and a change in consumers’ payment preferences that shifted away from checks, cash, and credit cards. This and other aspects of the current market are reviewed in Mercator Advisory Group’s report, 2021 Annual U.S. Debit Card Market Data Review: Unprecedented Double-Digit Growth.

”This past year the market experienced a unique environment where consumers sharply shifted their payments towards the use of debit cards and because some of this shift came at the expense of credit cards, this was positive for debit issuers and, at the same time, positive for merchants as credit card transactions are nearly always more expensive to process than debit cards. Issuers are interested in encouraging the continued top-of-wallet position that debit cards have achieved, but competition from fintechs plus likely regulatory changes will make this an uphill battle,” comments Sarah Grotta, Director, Debit and Alternative Products Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group and author of the report.

This report has 16 pages and 8 exhibits.

Companies mentioned in this report include: Mastercard, Pulse, Star, Visa.

Highlights of the report include:

  • Historic look at purchase volumes and transaction totals for 2015-2020
  • Comparison of debit’s growth with the recent decline of credit card use
  • The continued growth of card accounts driven in part by neo and challenger banks
  • The growth of card-not-present activity
  • Commentary on the use of contactless
  • A three-year forecast of debit’s projected growth and the near-term influences that affect the forecast
  • Where issuers are focusing their current investments in debit


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