Debit Cards as Profit Drivers - new edition

By: Victoria Conroy
Published: June 2010

Debit Cards as Profit Drivers

  • The newest edition of this acknowledged industry standard gives you a comprehensive account of the role of the debit card within the bank-customer relationship.

    Containing proprietary data and research, and combined with market leading case studies, it is the only source you need to maximise the efficiency, and essentially increase the profit, of your debit card offering.



This report investigates the way in which changing consumer payment preferences are driving debit cards as the predominant payment method. It looks at how the debit card itself can be used to influence consumer spending behaviour and deepen customer loyalty.

The report shows how issuers can capitalise on the debit card proposition to recruit and attract customers, and gives expert advice on the effective use of transactional data. Clear examples of successful marketing and cross-selling campaigns are presented.

The report examines, in detail, the advent of new payment technologies and the impact of SEPA on European debit schemes. The increasing deployment of loyalty programmes is explored, and the changing relationship between debit, prepaid, credit and cash, is highlighted and investigated.


Key points contained in the report:

  • Effective methods to use debit cards to attract and retain customers - increasing profit per customer and gaining market share
  • Maximising debit card usage to facilitate the cross-selling of other banking products
  • How value-added features can boost the appeal of the debit card proposition
  • Tried and tested methods for effectively marketing debit cards to different consumer segments

This report analyses and assesses:

  • The key metrics in a debit card programme
  • Using debit cards to attract and retain current account customers and cross-sell banking products
  • Increasing debit card usage and augmenting boost interchange revenue
  • Using value-added features to boost the debit card proposition
  • Strategies for positioning debit cards with different consumer segments
  • Creating successful pricing and fee policies
  • Emerging issues including card design, consumer payment preferences, compliance, demographics, fraud and technology
  • The future for debit cards

Read this report to:

  • Attract and retain customers - increasing profitability per customer and gaining market share
  • Boost the appeal of the debit card proposition 
  • Maximise debit card usage to facilitate the cross-selling of other banking products   

Case studies from new and established markets including: Australia, Canada, China, Singapore, The Eurozone, UK and USA


In the two years since the publication of the last edition of “Debit Cards as Profit Drivers”, the financial world has turned upside down. Credit and debit cards have lost their allure for both consumers and issuers. So the importance of debit cards for consumer and issuer alike has risen.

Economic challenges have seen issuers revising the way in which they drive profit from debit cards. This report investigates trends in driving profit such as ATM surcharges and service fees.

As well as looking at the cyclical changes, the report analyses the way in which technology is changing the debit card market. For the first time, this report looks at how mobile phone payments are developing alongside and against debit cards. It also shows how increasing connectivity is driving a long-term shift to digital marketing through social media. And it investigates the effect of new players such as Payfair, Google and PayPal.

Alongside the new intelligence and analysis, this report delivers updated figures on the market from US, European and Asia-Pacific markets. It also provides a wealth of case studies and best practices to assist with benchmarking as well as personal and corporate development strategies.

Chapter 1: details the origins of the debit card and its advantages over other forms of payment, the roles of payment system organisations and card networks in developing and launching debit card programmes, and the migration of national card schemes to international card schemes.

Chapter 2: details customer demographics and transactional/usage behaviour, differences in behaviour between young and old, rich and poor consumers, the growth of debit in various global markets, the growth of low value payments and the growth of debit cards in the online space, plus the growth of debit payments in cross-border transactions.

Chapter 3: details the role of the debit card in the bank/customer relationship, how banks can use debit cards as a tool to deepen customer relationships, how banks can increase debit card activation and usage, how debit cards can be used to reach out to unbanked consumers, how banks can educate consumers about usage of debit cards, how banks can use debit cards to cross-sell other banking products, how banks can use customer transactional and segmentation data, and examples of marketing campaigns for debit card programmes.

Chapter 4: how banks can capitalise on debit card loyalty programmes to influence cardholder behaviour, examples of successful loyalty programmes, how banks can use card personalisation and card design initiatives to recruit and retain customers, and the rise of co-branded and affinity debit cards.

Chapter 5: looks at pricing and fee structure components of debit cards, direct and indirect drivers of profitability, substituting other forms of payments with debit card payments, costs of debit card issuance, the interchange component of debit card programmes, how issuers can drive more profitable forms of debit card transactions, PIN debit and signature debit profitability.

Chapter 6: details new technology and how it can be used in debit card programmes, such as contactless, how low value cash payments can be migrated towards contactless debit transactions, the migration towards EMV debit cards around the world, added-value applications that can be incorporated with EMV technology, the convergence of EMV and contactless with new payment forms such as mobile phones, debit payments and mobile payments.

Chapter 7:  details the emergence of new debit card concepts such as decoupled debit, the role of decoupled debit and how it impacts the traditional customer/current account relationship, the rewards incentive proposition of decoupled debit, threats to bank income from decoupled debit, the likely customers of decoupled debit, the emergence of non-bank debit players, the emergence of micropayments.

Chapter 8: assesses the main issues connected to future debit card profitability, including decoupled debit, plus the emergence of non-bank players and the growth of micropayments.

Chapter 9: details several important global debit markets such as the UK, US, Australia, Canada and China, the aims of the SEPA initiative, the possibility of a third debit scheme in Europe, pressure on interchange fees in Europe, regulatory scope and impact of various regulatory initiatives in several markets.


1. Introduction

2. Consumer Payment Preferences

3. The role of debit cards and their place in the customer/bank relationship

4. Marketing, loyalty and card design

5. Profitability

6. Debit cards and new technology

7. Debit Card Fraud

8. Future Profitability Issues

9. Debit Card Markets

View full Summary Report


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