The number of card-accepting merchant outlets rose by 7 million in 2016 to 61 million, according to a RBR report.
The growth was recorded across Asia-Pacific, Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East and Africa. Despite recent growth, all three regions continue to be underserved in terms of card acceptance and are expected to remain the engines of global growth, driving the total number of outlets worldwide to 85 million by 2022.
According to the report, “Global Payment Cards Data and Forecasts to 2022”, regulatory factors are playing an important role in expanding card-acceptance networks. In Kazakhstan, legislation requiring all merchants to accept card payments came into force in 2016, contributing to the 50% growth in outlets. Meanwhile, in India, growth in card-accepting merchants trebled to 45% as a result of caps on EFTPOS terminal charges and the removal of terminal taxes by the central government.
The impact of regulations on the acquiring market is set to intensify over the coming years, with merchant service charges projected to fall as a result of interchange fee caps. In addition to the European Commission’s caps, RBR also expects new regulation to lower fees in numerous less-developed markets, for example Argentina and Malaysia, increasing card acceptance.
In addition, the report has found increasing support from governments and industry players, for example in Thailand and Ukraine, for promoting financial literacy and cashless payments. Such efforts are encouraging consumers to pay regularly by card.