International card schemes MasterCard and Visa now account for 86% of all payment cards in Europe, as domestic and private label schemes continue their decline. RBR’s study Global Payment Cards Data and Forecasts to 2020 shows that €9 out of €10 spent using a payment card in Europe was made on a Visa or MasterCard-branded card – the highest share of any region.
There were 1.5 billion payment cards in circulation in Europe at the end of 2014 which were used for payments worth €2.9 trillion during the year. Competition between the two leading schemes is fierce, with very little difference between Visa and MasterCard in terms of card numbers. With regard to payment value, however, Visa is by far the larger scheme, and gained a percentage point of value share in 2014, while MasterCard lost a percentage point.