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Feb 7, 2013

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The Impact of Payment Cards on Economic Growth

For the last 50 years, credit and debit payment cards have predicted a vision of the future – a future in which households, businesses and government agencies swap coins and paper transactions for faster, and more efficient electronic payments. The way we pay has evolved dramatically over the years, around the world, as payment cards have changed how, when, and where consumers pay for goods and services.

Leading economic forecast provider Moody’s Analytics set out to determine if credit and debit cards not only make cardholder’s transactions flow more smoothly, but also stimulate economic growth on a wider level by creating efficiencies in commerce. What they found is quite remarkable. Moody’s calculated that debit and credit card usage boosted global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by $983 billion between 2008 and 2012. This growth is equivalent to creating 1.9 million jobs – a sign showcasing that through the global economic recovery the migration from paper to electronic card payments has contributed to positive economic growth.

Conducted on behalf of Visa, the Moody’s Analytics study, “The Impact of Electronic Payments on Economic Growth “, displays the impact of increased card penetration on private consumption in 56 countries (collectively accounting for 93% of the world’s GDP) over the last five years. Results of the study indicate that increased credit and debit card usage contribute to economic activity by reducing transaction costs, increasing transparency and improving efficiency in the flow of goods and services.

Looking ahead, card penetration and usage will continue to provide an important boost to economies worldwide and support will grow for the adoption of government policies that encourage and accelerate the shift to payments cards.

Additional highlights from the Moody’s Analytics study include:

  • U.S. Economic Growth: Card usage in the U.S. increased GDP by 0.3 percent, adding $127 billion to the U.S. economy.
  • Global Economic Growth: In some countries, card usage increased consumption significantly – at the top of that list: China by 4.89%; Chile by 1.28%; and Brazil by 1.15%.
  • Value of Electronic Payments: The study concluded that increased credit and debit card usage contributes to economic activity by reducing transaction costs and improving efficiency in the flow of goods and services.
    • Consumers: The advent of credit and debit cards has greatly aided consumers’ ability to optimize consumption decisions by giving them secure and immediate access to all of their funds on deposit or a line of credit.
    • Merchants: Merchants also benefit because there is less cash and check handling in the system, eliminating the burdens and risks associated with holding cash.
    • Government: For governments, electronic payments lead to an increase in transparency and a reduction in the gray economy.


  • Impact of Future Card Growth: Moody’s Analytics found that a 1% increase in card usage across the 56 countries in the study produces an annual increase of 0.056% in consumption.

Also, be sure to check out this Visa fact sheet, highlighting survey results on

Posted by: Visa Corporate Relations Team on February 7, 2013 at 6:05 am

Category: Uncategorized