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Spain Cards & Payments Market Report

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  • Published Date: May 2023


This report gives a comprehensive overview of the cards, payments and consumer banking market in Spain, with clearsighted commentary backed by relevant data.
Visa and Mastercard enjoy a strong lead in the networks arena in Spain, while American Express, Diners Club and JCB also have a presence. E-commerce has grown greatly in recent years, with the bulk of spending being carried out on non-Spanish online marketplaces.
In Spain, APRs cannot be set more than six per cent above the market average. In the issuer market,  CaixaBankSantander  and  BBVA  concentrate almost two-thirds of credit cards in circulation. Comercia Global Payments is the leading acquirer, a joint venture between CaixaBank and Global Payments.

Strong recovery in credit card use

In Spain, spending by credit card has recovered strongly during the past two years, easily exceeding pre-pandemic levels. While cash remains important in the market, there has been a marked shift to digital in the past half-decade. However, this implies that a healthy chunk of Spanish transactions awaits migration to digital.

What about global players?

Visa and Mastercard enjoy a strong lead in the Spanish networks' arena, while American Express, Diners Club and JCB also have a presence. Despite recently withdrawing from several European markets, Amex remains in Spain, showcasing its attractiveness as a market.

How are other players faring?

Mobile-based challenger banks have made an impact:  Revolut  now boasts over a million clients (which makes Spain its fourth-largest global market), while  N26  has a user base of almost one million across Iberia. With over 23 million active users,  Bizum  has come to dominate the mobile payments arena.

What you will learn from this report:

This report provides detailed market analysis, trends and insights into Spain's cards and payments industry current and forecast values for Spain's cards and payments industry, including debit, credit, and charge cards.
Clients get detailed insights into payment instruments, including cards, direct debits, credit transfers and cash payments. The report outlines key alternative payment instruments in Spain, such as e-commerce and cashless payments.
Our experts collate research and analysis to identify the potential for growth and market opportunities in Spain with data and intelligence reports to assess the competitive dynamics and emerging market trends in Spain's cards and payments market.

Spain Payments Research | Report Contents

Key facts
Payments environment
Cards market
Fintech and mobile payments
Credit card profitability
Merchant acquiring
Regulatory environment

Spain Country Report Data Tables
(All 2017-26F unless otherwise stated)

Appendix I: Payments environment
1: Demographic and economic indicators.
2: Ownership of key consumer devices.
3: Internet usage by population.
4: Access points: 2017-24F.
5: B2C e-commerce payment methods: 2017-24F.

Appendix II: Cards market

6: Total card payment metrics.
7: Contactless cards metrics.
8: Credit card numbers.
9: Total credit card metrics.
10: Credit cards profitability indicators.
11: Debit card numbers.
12: Debit card metrics.
13: Prepaid/e-money cards metrics.

Appendix III: Mobile payments

14: Mobile proximity payment metrics.

Appendix IV: Profit pool

15: Spain market profit pool including 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).

Appendix V: The networks
(All 2017-24F below unless otherwise stated)

16: Networks' credit card market shares.
17: Credit card interchange fees by network.
18: Networks' debit card market shares.
19: Networks' debit card numbers.
20: Debit card interchange fees by network.

Appendix VI: Key retail banks and issuers

21: Key credit card issuers market shares by credit card numbers: 2019-24F.
22: Key issuers market shares in credit card outstandings: 2019-24F.
23: Key debit card issuers market shares by debit card numbers: 2019-24F.

Appendix VII: Acquiring and processing

24: Merchant acquirer credit card market share: 2023E.
25: Credit card merchant service charges.
26: Merchant acquirer debit card market share: 2023E.
27: Debit card merchant service charges.
28: Credit card issuer/issuing processor relationships

29: Credit card acquirer/acquiring processor relationships
30: Credit card issuing processor market shares by card numbers: 2023E.
31: Credit card acquiring processor market shares by the number of POS transactions: 2023E.

Spain Country Report | Selected Extracts

Payments Environment
Total card-purchase volume has enjoyed year-on-year growth for several years. Despite Covid, purchase volume grew by 2.9% during 2020, in contrast to many other advanced markets. This reflected the migration from cash to debit.

Cards Market
Payment cards are relatively well embedded among Spanish consumers, with an average of 115 debit cards per 100 adults and an average of 104 credit cards in 2023... During 2022, debit cards accounted for 64% of total purchase volume, compared to 56% in 2017.

The 2017 to 2022 period saw B2C sales more than doubling, a trend boosted by high smartphone penetration, the ubiquity of payment cards, the wide availability of alternative payment methods, and the pandemic.

Fintech and mobile
The most important recent development in mobile payments was the establishment of Bizum in 2016. It is a collaborative venture of 23 banks, with 34 banks currently affiliated. There are over 23 million active users, with some 45,000 online retailers offering Bizum as a payment method.

Credit Card Profitability
Credit-card purchase volume and outstandings both declined during 2020. However, both have rebounded to exceed pre-pandemic levels over the past two years.

Visa and Mastercard dominate the networks' space. Together they hold the vast majority of the credit-card market, and there are no other card associations competing in the debit-card space.

The issuing market is mainly in the hands of domestic players. CaixaBank, Santander and BBVA collectively hold around 60 of the credit-cards issuing, outstandings and debit-cards markets.

Merchant Acquiring
The leading acquirer here is Comercia Global Payments, which is a joint venture between Global Payments and CaixaBank. Santander is the closest competitor; the two leaders acquired some 60% of credit-card purchase volume during 2022.

Regulatory Environment
BdE: Banco de España (Bank of Spain) is responsible for the country's central banking and regulatory framework. The BdE operates under the auspices of the European Central Bank.


Argus Advisory Research reports deliver invaluable market and competitor intelligence on payments cards, e-money, acquiring/processing, retail banking, and consumer credit. Analysts and researchers use primary and secondary source data and conduct in-depth interviews with senior industry executives and local experts.

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