“Austria’s Cards and Payments Industry: Emerging Opportunities, Trends, Size, Drivers, Strategies, Products and Competitive Landscape “

Date: 2015-09

“Austria has a highly developed payment infrastructure, providing substantial growth opportunities for the cards and payments industry. The countryโ€™s highly developed and well regulated financial system provided scope for the development of electronic payment systems. As consumers became aware of the benefits of electronic payments, the use of cash has registered a review-period (2009โ€“2013) downturn. With anticipated economic recovery, an increase in disposable incomes and employment levels, as well as the proliferation of new technologies in the payment cards market, this is anticipated to provide further impetus to electronic payments over the forecast period (2014โ€“2018), thus benefitting the cards and payments industry.
Credit transfers and direct debit payments were the preferred payment instruments, having a combined industry share of 95.3% in terms of transaction value, while payment cards accounted for just a 1.1% share in 2013. The use of cash is continuously decreasing and its share fell during the review period, going from 4.1% in 2009 to 3.1% in 2013.
In terms of the number of cards in circulation, Austrian payment cards (including debit, credit and charge cards) registered a positive growth during the review period, recording a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.46%, increasing from 10.3 million in 2009 to 11.4 million in 2013. In terms of transaction value, payment cards valued EUR51.3 billion (US$68.1 billion) in 2013, after registering a review-period CAGR of 4.43%. Improved banking infrastructure, new product developments, a higher awareness of electronic payments and wider acceptance of payment cards at POS terminals were the key factors driving growth. The adoption of Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) standards, as well as the emergence of contactless technology, also supported the industryโ€™s growth.
In 2013, the average transaction value (ATV) in Austria was US$101, which was the eighth highest in the European region. Greece recorded the highest ATV, with US$227.6, followed by Switzerland (US$156.6), Italy (US$141.2), Germany (US$131.5), Luxembourg (US$121.2), Ireland (US$106.4) and Romania (US$104.3). In terms of card penetration, Austria recorded 1.34 cards per inhabitant in 2013, followed by Croatia (1.96), Sweden (2.28), the UK (2.46), Norway (2.53) and Luxembourg (4.17).
With the onset of the European debt crisis, the majority of consumers redefined their spending habits, refraining from making unnecessary expenditure. In terms of frequency of use, Austria recorded 59.1 transactions per card in 2013, followed by Norway (122.9), France (127.8), Estonia (149.4), Denmark (159.2) and Finland (172.8).
In terms of transaction value, debit cards remained the preferred type of payment card during the review period. Owing to the European debt crisis and uncertain economic conditions, the majority of Austrian consumers preferred to use debit cards for purchases, in order to keep a check on expenses. Consequently over the review period, the debit cards market registered growth in terms of the number of cards in circulation, transaction value and volume. Additionally, a very unique feature of Austrian debit cards is the availability of the โ€˜Quickโ€™ function. All Maestro debit cards are enabled with this function, allowing cardholders to load amounts of up to EUR400 (US$530.3) at any ATM or specific terminal.”

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