PULSE: Debit Use Grows Despite Regulation

Despite what it calls a “regulatory headwind,” the PULSE Network says debit card penetration and use continued to show growth in its most recent survey of debit card issuers.

“The latest Debit Issuer Study provides more evidence that growth in debit remains robust” said Steve Sievert, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Communications for PULSE.

The study of 57 debit issuers of all sizes revealed that 76 percent of consumers now have debit cards, up from 73 percent in 2010. The average active consumer debit cardholder spent $8,326 on their card in 2011, up from $7,781 in the prior year. The primary source of this increase was greater usage per card, with active users performing an average of 18.3 purchases per month compared with 16.3 per month in 2010.The debit market is expanding at the low-end, with small-ticket transactions continuing to displace cash. While the average ticket on a debit transaction is $38, the median is just $19, with more than 30 percent of transactions now less than $10.

Consumer volume grew by 11 percent for signature transactions and 9 percent for PIN transactions, exceeding issuers’ expectations of 7 percent growth in both categories. In the year ahead, issuers expect the market to continue to grow across both consumer and business debit cards, with 15 percent growth in PIN transactions and 8 percent in signature transactions.