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A comprehensive overview of Belgium's cards, payments and consumer banking market, with clearsighted commentary backed by relevant data.
In the midst of severe lockdowns and a reluctance to use cash, Belgian mobile payments soared during the first half of 2020. Fortunately for the incumbents, strong infrastructure is already in place, with nine in ten current accounts able to avail of instant payments.
Like many countries, Belgian banks doubled the limits for contactless payments in April 2020. Belgian society is outward-looking, with a quarter of domestic e-commerce revenue coming from outside Belgium in 2019.
EU antitrust brakes are preventing the acquiring market from being concentrated in the hands of Worldline.
How consolidation has affected mobile payments.
Why the credit card struggles to find a place.
How acceptance affects Belgian credit card usage online.
Which player dominates rewards.
How prepaid usage has fallen and why.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Demographics and the economy.
Key retail banks and issuers.
Acquiring and processing.
Regulatory and other cards market information.
Belgium Country Report Data Tables
(All 2014-23F unless otherwise stated)
1: Demographic and economic indicators.
2: Ownership of key consumer devices.
3: Internet usage by population.
4: Access points: 2014-21F.
5: Account penetration.
6: Consumer payment trends: 2014-21F.
7: B2C e-commerce payment methods: 2014-21F.
8: Total card payment metrics.
9: Contactless card metrics.
10: Credit card numbers.
11: Total credit cards metrics.
12: Credit card profitability indicators.
13: Debit card numbers.
14: Debit card metrics.
15: Prepaid/e-money cards metrics.
16: Mobile proximity payment metrics: 2017-23F
17 Mobile P2P payments: 2017-23F
18: Profit pool: credit card numbers, billed volumes, outstandings, interest incomes, net interest revenues, merchant revenues, card fee revenues, other non-interest incomes, total revenues, net credit losses, operating expenses, total expenses, pre-tax profits, merchant service charges, rollover rates, APR, net credit losses to outstandings, operating costs to revenues, ROA (pre-tax profits to outstandings).
(All below 2014-21F unless otherwise stated)
19: Networks' credit card market shares.
20: Networks' credit card data numbers.
21: Networks' credit card billed volume.
22: Networks' number of credit card transactions.
23: Networks' average credit card transaction value.
24: Credit card interchange fees by network.
25: Networks' debit card market shares.
26: Networks' debit card data numbers.
27: Networks' debit card billed volume.
28: Networks' number of debit card transactions.
29: Networks' average debit card transaction value.
30: Debit card interchange fees by network.
31: Key credit card issuers market shares by credit card numbers: 2016-21F.
32: Key issuers market shares in credit card outstandings: 2016-21F.
33: Key debit card issuers market shares by debit card numbers: 2016-21F.
34: Merchant acquirer credit card market share: 2020E.
35: Credit card merchant service charges: 2014-23F.
36: Merchant acquirer debit card market share: 2020E.
37: Debit card merchant service charges: 2014-23F.
38: Credit card issuer/issuing processor relationships: -
39: Credit card acquirer/acquiring processor relationships: -
40: Credit card issuing processor market shares by card numbers: 2020E.
41: Credit card acquiring processor market shares by the number of POS transactions: 2020E.
42: Online merchant acquirer market share: 2020E.
Demographics and Economy
As of January 2019, Belgium had over 2.2 million people in the 65 and over age bracket. This is increasing government spending on health care and pensions and leading to a decrease in the labour force.
At the end of 2019, there were over 24 million payment cards in use in Belgium. The country boasts a productive credit card market and a popular low-cost domestic debit scheme.
Card use has been growing strongly, with the average adult making 264 card purchases in 2019. Debit cards are preferred for everyday spending and accounted for 89% of those transactions.
With an estimated 8.3 million smartphone users in the country and mobile phone ownership reaching almost total penetration of the adult population, Belgium is becoming an active mobile payments market.
The Belgian credit cards market has been profitable, albeit modestly, across all years under review. According to AAR's profit pool model, pre-tax profits fluctuated between 2014 and 2019.
Three major international networks are represented in Belgium's credit cards market: Visa, Mastercard and American Express. Mastercard has overtaken Visa as the largest network in recent years.
Key Retail Banks and Issuers
Belgium has a well-developed banking and service infrastructure, although ATM coverage has decreased by 28% since 2014. POS terminal density improved by 28% during the same period.
Acquiring and Processing
Worldline dominates merchant acquiring in Belgium, with an estimated 121,000 merchant accounts in 2020 (out of an estimated 167,823 merchant accounts). More acquirers have entered the market in recent years.
Belgium is a market with mass international acceptance and cross-border shopping is second nature. Almost half of the country's online shoppers choose to buy from merchants based in other EU countries
Regulatory and Markets Information
In March of 2019, eleven Belgian banks joined forces to launch the country's instant payments system ... more than 90% of current accounts in the country, therefore, had access to instant payments.
Banque de La Poste
BNP Paribas Fortis
Crédit Mutuel Nord Europe Belgium
Dexia Bank Belgium
Epargnez & Cueillez
Financial Services and Market Authority
National Bank of Belgium
SIX Payment Services
The Financial Services and Market Authority
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