In 2019, pre-paid cards in Germany registered strong growth in terms of transaction volume and value. Amid overall growth, there is a diverging development among the subcategories.
While open loop pre-paid cards registered a decline in all respects, closed loop pre-paid cards were able to boost the entire pre-paid card category to record transaction volume and value growth in 2019. That is because, despite fewer cards in circulation compared to open loop pre-paid cards, closed loop pre-paid cards posted significantly higher transaction volume and value.
The sudden rise of contactless payments in Germany from 2018 can largely be explained by the improved convenience that the NFC technology provides. Since this technology is adopted in various payment areas, it is expected that both open loop and closed loop pre-paid cards will be affected by this trend.
In 2018, eTicket Deutschland continued to stand as the clear leader in closed loop pre-paid cards in terms of number in circulation and transaction value. The electronic local transport ticket system, with its regional variants, is under contract with over four hundred transport companies and networks regarding the incorporation and operation of the eTicket system.
In 2018, closed loop pre-paid gift cards continued their upward trend in number of cards and transaction value, both led by Ikea and Amazon, respectively. Gift cards are expected to record additional growth in popularity, especially with the increasing possibility for consumers to customise gift cards.
In 2018, open loop pre-paid cards were led by Visa in terms of cards in circulation and transaction value, though closely followed my Mastercard in both respects. With the Geldkarte/Girogo pre-paid system being abandoned in recent years, both Visa and Mastercard are expected to dominate this category going forward.
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