Three quarters (73%) of European debit
are in favour of having their existing debit card replaced by one that
can be used
uniformly across Europe, new research commissioned by MasterCard has
The study of 3,000 debit cardholders in Belgium, France, Germany, The
Poland and the UK, undertaken by KRC Research on behalf of MasterCard,
eight in ten consumers (80%) want to be able to use their debit card
anywhere in Europe
as they do at home.
However, consumer awareness of the impending Single Euro Payments Area
significantly behind demand for the benefits it will bring in less than
a year’s time. From 1
January 2008, throughout the SEPA zone, debit cardholders must be
payment cards which allow them to make payments under the same basic
rights and obligations, regardless of their location.
Javier Perez, President of MasterCard Europe, said:
“The Single Euro Payments Area may currently be a term recognised in
but what the man-on-the-street needs to know is that they can use their
debit card in the
same way anywhere in Europe as in their own country. As our research
awareness of ‘SEPA’ is low, but there is no doubt that debit cardholders
across Europe are
completely behind the concept.
“Every day, more people recognise the benefits of debit cards and turn
their back on cash
for day-to-day purchases. Our new research shows that European consumers
cards are the payment method of choice for purchases between ÃÂ¢ÃÂ¬10 and
ÃÂ¢ÃÂ¬1991 and on a
par with credit cards for larger amounts. The end of the cash era has
been on the cards for
some time and giving people the confidence to use their debit cards
across Europe in the
same convenient and secure way as at home will further encourage a
future without costly
cash – estimated at over 100 euro per person, per annum.”
Throughout Europe, fewer than one in ten (9%) debit cardholders have
heard of the
Single Euro Payments Area, suggesting a great deal more can be done to
concept. Awareness is even lower in The Netherlands (2%), France (3%),
the UK (5%),
Germany (5%) and Belgium (8%). In Poland, a recent European Union
member, one in
three (29%) recognise the term ‘SEPA’. Of those who have heard of SEPA,
only a small
minority (9%) say they have a good understanding. This equates to fewer
than 1% of
debit cardholders across Europe.
1 GBP10 and GBP199 in the UK
SEPA driving debit card usage
After being told what SEPA is, debit cardholders are twice as likely to
use their debit card
to pay for purchases outside their own country across most retail
categories, such as
petrol, supermarket products, durables and food from restaurants,
consumer awareness programmes around SEPA can drive debit card usage.
For example, four in ten (38%) consumers currently prefer to pay for
petrol with their
debit card when travelling abroad, but after being informed about SEPA,
this increases to
seven in ten (68%).
Debit cardholders are split between thinking that either banks (34%) or
will benefit most from SEPA. Four in ten (40%) trust banks the most to
information about SEPA. One in three (34%) trust consumer organisations
Banks are trusted the most to provide information by French (68%) and
the least by
British (27%) and Dutch (24%) debit cardholders.
Cash is no longer king
Consumers would rather reach into their pockets for a debit card ahead
of cash, with eight
in ten (80%) finding debit cards more convenient than cash as a means of
two in three (67%) feel more secure using their debit cards over paper
The findings reinforce the view that the days of ‘cash being king’ are
now counted and
suggest that the increase in debit card issuance and usage, which saw
the number of
MaestroÂ®-branded cards rise by 5.7 per cent year-on-year to 287 million
in Europe in
2006, is set to continue.
European consumers are also using their cards more frequently according
Four in ten (39%) debit cardholders say they have used their debit card
more than the
previous year. Only one in twelve (8%) believe they have reduced their
debit card usage.
Debit improves financial control
The MasterCard research also found that nearly half of European
consumers believe debit
cards make it easier to control finances, ahead of a third (34%) who
favoured cash. Out of
the six European countries featured in the survey, French consumers felt
strongly that debit cards make it easier to control their finances (70%).
Future debit card features drive consumer usage
Several potential debit card features could drive consumer usage in the
to the MasterCard findings. The vast majority of consumers suggest that
against fraud (91%), more card acceptance locations (87%) and the
ability to use their
debit card anywhere in Europe (86%) would help encourage them to use
ahead of cash.
A telephone survey of 3,000 debit card holders across six countries
– Belgium (n=500)
– France (n=500)
– Germany (n=500)
– Netherlands (n=500)
– Poland (n=500)
– UK (n=500)
Fieldwork was conducted from February 5th – 23rd 2007.
The overall margin of error for the entire study of 3000 interviews is
plus or minus two
percentage points at the 95% confidence level. The overall margin of
error for the
national samples is +- four percentage points.
The survey is representative of the general population in terms of
gender, age and region.
The Single Euro Payment Area – SEPA
SEPA is the area where citizens, companies and other economic players
will be able to
make and receive payments in Euros (whether between or within national
under the same basic conditions, rights and obligations, regardless of
their location. Every
citizen, merchant, public administration and corporation with a banking
relationship in the
Euro-area ultimately will be impacted by SEPA, as will everyone in the
chain. By no later than January 1 2008, the European Payments Council,
banking body tasked with the introduction of SEPA, wants to see the
introduction of a
payments system that ultimately enables consumers to experience SEPA
payments anywhere within Euro-zone countries.
Today, Maestro is the most widely accepted SEPA compliant scheme in
Europe, with more
than 90% of debit card merchants accepting Maestro in the EU-27
virtually all ATMs accepting non-proprietary cards across the European
Union also accept
MasterCardÂ®, MaestroÂ® and CirrusÂ®.
In fact, MasterCard Europe has already announced critical initiatives on
products and interchange that will enable European banks to deliver the
Payments Area for a 1 January 2008 commencement. MasterCard was SEPA Cards
Framework (SCF) compliant from 1 January 2007, a full year ahead of the
MasterCard already applies a single, harmonized and transparent set of
prices for both intra-
SEPA and national transactions. There is a clear separation between
brand and processing,
aligning customer value to price and enabling banks to achieve
substantial economies of scale.
About MasterCard Europe
MasterCard Europe is the entity responsible for managing MasterCard
business in Europe – for Europe. With headquarters in Waterloo, Belgium,
Europe works with 51 European countries organized administratively into
areas, incorporating the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA), mature
markets and the developing markets of Europe, stretching as far afield as the eastern
border of Russia.
Through its network of local offices, MasterCard Europe can understand
and meet the
diverse needs of customers in the very different types of markets
enabling people to do business in their own way in their own language.
Through MasterCard Worldwide, MasterCard Europe offers its European
consumers access to leading payment services throughout the world.
Worldwide advances global commerce by providing a critical economic link
financial institutions, businesses, cardholders and merchants worldwide.
As a franchisor,
processor and advisor, MasterCard develops and markets payment
over 16 billion transactions each year, and provides industry-leading
consulting services to financial institution customers and merchants.
Through its family
of brands, including MasterCardÂ®, MaestroÂ® and CirrusÂ®, MasterCard
and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. For more
information go to