The Italian credit card market increased in number by 2% through 2012, to reach 111 million transactions, and increased in value by 3% reaching €11.2 billion.
The performance of credit cards over the past five years has been strongly impacted by the economic and financial crisis and the decline in consumer confidence levels, combined with tightening of credit standards and Italians' overall aversion towards accruing debt.
Italian consumers are generally averse to incurring debt and therefore the Italian credit card market is underdeveloped compared to other European countries.
Personal credit cards grew by 1% in number of cards and 2% in transaction volume, as Italians squeezed by the economic crisis increased their use of these types of cards to postpone repayments and have greater credit availability.
On the other hand, commercial credit cards grew by 1% in number of cards and 4.63% in transaction value in 2012. The lower growth rate compared to personal credit cards is due to the fact that Italian companies are cutting their expenses in order to save money due to the economic and financial crisis, with an impact also on the performance of credit cards.
Overall, the usage of credit cards is increasing given that Italians are using this payment method more, on the one hand as a consequence of the "war on cash" promoted by the government which limits cash transactions below €1,000. On the other hand, credit cards being increasingly used as more and more Italians need to live on credit in order to pay for necessary expenses in such a difficult economic environment.
The main local operator of credit cards in Italy is Visa Europe for both commercial and personal credit cards, and it accounts for 57% and 58% value share respectively.
The most important commercial credit card issuers are Deutsche Bank and Intesa San Paolo, accounting for 32% and 7% value share respectively, while in case of personal credit cards the main issuers are Findomestic Banca and American Express with 36% and 17% value share respectively.
For more information on the Italian credit card market, see the latest research: Italian Credit Card Market
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