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Online card spending to double by 2021, reaching $6 trillion worldwide

Research from RBR finds convenience and security are driving rapid growth in e-commerce card payments

Online transactions increasingly convenient

Global Payment Cards Data and Forecasts to 2021, a highly regarded annual survey of the global payment cards sector, reveals that the value of e-commerce card payments made worldwide grew by 26% during 2015 to reach $2.7 trillion, and represented 12% of all card expenditure.

Key factors driving this impressive growth include:

  • a surge in internet penetration and smartphone holding;
  • a rising number and range of merchants with an online presence;
  • the convenience of making impulse buys on the move via mobile devices;
  • tools such as one-click checkouts and suggested additional items, which simplify the transaction process.

Advances in security improve confidence

RBR’s study reveals that while some cardholders have previously held back from purchasing goods online because of security concerns, confidence in the e-commerce channel is rising. Measures being taken to reduce fraud include the creation of a new 3-D Secure specification to authenticate cardholders which will be progressively rolled out over the coming years.

3-D Secure 2.0 is designed to meet the needs of consumers using new technologies such as mobile apps and digital wallets. It will increase risk-based authentication, removing the requirement for a password for the vast majority of transactions. This update should offer further reassurance and convenience to online shoppers.

e-commerce card expenditure to continue its rapid growth

RBR forecasts that e-commerce card spending will more than double between 2015 and 2021 to reach $6 trillion. RBR’s Chris Herbert commented: “The e-commerce sector will represent a growing proportion of global card expenditure with one dollar in five spent online by 2021. The improving convenience and security of the e-commerce channel are key drivers of this growth”.


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