A comprehensive overview of the cards, payments and merchant acquirer market in Portugal, with clearsighted commentary backed by key market data.
With almost four in every five terminals now contactless-enabled, the Portuguese point-of-sale is ready for the shift to tap-and-pay, but consumer enthusiasm has been sluggish in taking the cue. The combination of payment cards popularity in Portugal and an extensive POS network has led to some two in every three euro of purchase value taking place by card; cash use is falling as a result, with Portuguese consumers already carrying less physical money than most of their peers in other European countries. Although debit cards dominate in Portugal, credit card outstandings have been growing healthily, as has profitability.
Demographics and the economy
Key retail banks and issuers
Acquiring and processing
Regulatory and other cards market information
Appendices: Cards Payments Data
Appendix I: Demographics and the economy
Appendix II: Payments environment
Appendix III: Cards market data
Appendix IV: Mobile payments
Appendix V: Profit pool
Appendix VI: The card networks
Appendix VII: Key retail banks and issuers
Appendix VIII: Acquiring and processing data
Appendix IX: Online acquiring data
Demographics and Economy:
Portugal had 11.86 million mobile phone subscribers in December 2018, enabling mobile banking as a key delivery channel. It is estimated that mobile telephony reached a density of 118 per 100 inhabitants in 2019, of which 68 were smartphones.
Cards are consumers' preferred payment method, reaching about 65% of the total purchase value in 2019. This is the fruit of an extensive POS network and the 28.7 million credit and debit cards in issue.
There has been a growing preference for digital payment methods over the last decade, displacing cash and cheques. Payment cards are mainly used for payments at the POS, which saw about three-quarters of the total card billed volume and four-fifths of total card transactions in 2019.
In December 2019, MB Way began to allow transactions with international mobile numbers as long as the associated account was from a Portuguese institution. MB Way surpassed the two-million-user mark that year and processed about 62 million transactions.
Broadly aligned with economic growth, credit card pre-tax profits reached an estimated $231 million in 2019. For 2020, VFR estimates an 8% increase on the back of higher net interest income.
Visa has been the leading credit card network by cards in issue since 2014, although Mastercard is not far behind. The latter is the leading network by billed volume. All debit cards in Portugal operate on the SEPA-compliant Multibanco domestic debit scheme, although over 95 % of debit cards are network-branded.
Key Retail Banks and Issuers:
As of December 2019, the six largest issuers in Portugal jointly account for 60% of total credit cards in issue and 84% of total outstandings. Portugal's highly competitive credit cards market means that no significant new issuers are expected to enter the market soon.
Acquiring and Processing:
With over 372,000 EMV-compliant POS terminals in 2019, Portugal has a well-developed acceptance network for payment cards.
Online shopping has increased in relative importance over the past decade. However, when compared to card payments at the POS and ATM, online shopping represents a significant opportunity for growth.
Regulatory and Markets Information:
In Portugal, only credit institutions or credit card companies are authorised to issue credit cards. EU caps, introduced in 2015, limit the interchange fee for credit cards to 0.3% for credit cards and 0.2% for debit cards
Banco BNP Paribas Personal Finance
Banco de Credito ao Consumo
Banco de Portugal
Banco Espirito Santo
Banco Portugues de Investimento
Banco Portugues de Negocios
Banco Santander Portugal
Banco Santander Totta
Banco Totta & Acores
Caixa Geral de Depósitos
Cartao Oney Auchan
Comercia Global Payments
Credito Predial Portugues
Dun & Bradstreet
Instituto Informador Comercial
Saude e Bem-Estar
Sociedade Interbancária de Serviços
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