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Debit Issuers Respond To Post-Regulation II “New Normal”

“Issuers are more tepid in their outlook for debit. They still expect the industry to grow, just not as rapidly as in the past. In fact, this is the lowest growth projection for signature debit we’ve seen since the study began,” said Tony Hayes, a partner at Oliver Wyman who co-led the study.

For 2012, issuers reported strong performance in key debit metrics: penetration, active rates and usage (transactions per card). Penetration and active rates both improved year-over-year. Penetration increased to 77 percent from 76 percent in 2011, and active rates were 68 percent, compared to 66 percent in 2011. The average active cardholder performed 19.4 debit transactions per month in 2012, up from 18.3 in 2011. As a result, the total annual spend per active consumer debit card reached $8,753 in 2012 vs. $8,326 in 2011.

As in past years, the 2013 Debit Issuer Study examined financial institutions’ debit card fraud. Issuers reported a decline of approximately 30 percent in their net fraud loss rates for both signature and PIN debit. Signature fraud losses fell from an average of $0.031 per transaction in 2011 to $0.020 per transaction in 2012. PIN debit remains eight times more secure than signature debit, with fraud loss rates dropping from $0.004 per transaction to $0.003 per transaction.

New developments in “adjacent areas”

Beyond the core debit business, issuers reported mixed outlooks on a range of topics spanning prepaid cards, EMV and mobile payments.

A record number of financial institutions (84 percent) now offer some type of prepaid card. The most commonly offered prepaid product is gift cards, which are sold by 73 percent of issuers, but due to low sales, issuers tend to be indifferent toward the product. By contrast, a growing number of financial institutions are entering the general purpose reloadable (GPR) prepaid space, with the percentage of GPR issuers almost doubling between 2011 and 2012 from 19 percent to 36 percent.

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