Debit card usage growing much faster than credit cards

If you haven't yet taken the proper steps to strengthen your company's PCI compliance, new information released by Roy Morgan Research may give you some extra motivation to do so.

According to the latest Roy Morgan Consumer Finance Single Source Survey, total usage of debit cards in Australia is growing much faster than credit cards and even looks set to overtake them.

In the last 12 months through to February 2013, Australians aged 18 years and above reported some 109 million debit card transactions in an average month, compared to 117 million transactions for credit cards.

Debit card usage has increased almost threefold since February 2009, when there were an estimated 28 million transactions per month.

Despite the monthly number of transactions on credit cards also increasing during the same period, the increase was just under 10 per cent.

The increase in debit card usage was driven largely by Australians in the 18-34 year age group, who accounted for more than a four-fold increase – 54.6 million transactions in February 2013 compared to 10.3 million transactions in February 2009.

In addition, while there are presently more credit cards than debit cards (10.2 million and 7.4 million, respectively) on issue, the average monthly usage per debit card in February was 14.6 times – already higher than the average frequency of using credit cards in the same period (11.4 times).

Credit cards are now down to just over half of the total credit/debit card usage in Australia, while debit has doubled its share from one fifth to just under half.

"Against the backdrop of the global financial crisis, uncertainties such as job security and interest rates have caused concern within the Australian economy," said Norman Morris, industry communications director at Roy Morgan Research.

"With this in mind, consumers are focusing more on savings than on spending and it is becoming increasingly clear that with the higher use of debit cards over credit cards, consumers are having more control of their own funds."

This information is particularly important for businesses who use payment card data and other personal financial information from their customers.

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, otherwise known as the PCI DSS, is an actionable framework for businesses to follow, to help them develop a robust payment card data security process and provide more protection for their customers.

It's important for the customer relationship that sensitive payment card data is not placed at risk – which is why having a security policy that complies with the standards of the PCI DSS is critical.

A security solutions company can help you strengthen your security policies, providing penetration testing, a security audit and other services to help you develop and maintain a protective framework for your business systems.

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