Eco-Focused Payment Regulations Set to Accelerate Sustainable Payment Card Shipments to Over 1.5 Billion by 2028

17 Oct 2023

The next-generation payment card materials market will see unprecedented growth in the number of sustainable and metal payment cards issued through the forecast period ending 2028. Global technology intelligence firm ABI Research saw next-generation material payment card shipments reach 384 million in 2022 and forecasts a rapid increase to reach 1.5 billion shipments in 2028.

“Sustainable payment cards will see recycled PVC driving huge growth in this segment, as banks and card vendors seek to provide ecological alternatives to first-use PVC in the wake of mandated plastic reduction from Mastercard. At the same time, metal cards are being used to target a wider range of customers, moving beyond High-Net-Worth (HNW) users into the mass-affluent,” explains Sam Gazeley, Digital Payment Technologies Research Analyst at ABI Research.

There is now increased attention on ecological practices and corporate responsibility regarding the use of plastics and mandates from major payment networks, such as Mastercard and Visa, with sustainable materials anticipated to provide exponential growth toward 2028. There is a clear partition in sustainable materials between those set to begin replacing PVC as a mainline substrate, such as recycled PVC, and the more niche materials, such as PLA and reclaimed ocean plastic. ABI Research sees this originating from factors such as material Average Selling Price (ASP), raw material availability, production and personalization costs, card reclamation, and synergy with emerging next-generation payment card technologies. There has also been considerable movement in the metal payment card market to shift messaging and target new clientele, moving away from HNW clients as a target toward the mass affluent. Historically, HNW clients have provided much of the addressable opportunity, but this has now shifted through developments in heavy cards and alternative, lower-ASP metals.

“However, sustainable cards will, by a significant margin, occupy the lion’s share of the next-generation payment card market, sporting 94% of the next-generation issuance market in 2028. This is primarily down to sustainability becoming increasingly mandated rather than an option. Recycled PVC synergizes with pre-existing card personalization infrastructure, is readily available, and stands at an acceptable price-point for mass-issuance volumes, which payment card issuers will gravitate toward,” Gazeley concludes.

These findings are from ABI Research’s Next-Generation Payment Cards Materials – Sustainable and Metal application analysis report. This report is part of the company’s Digital Payment Technologies research service, which includes research, data, and analyst insights. Market Data spreadsheets are composed of deep data, market share analysis, and highly segmented, service-specific forecasts to provide detailed insight into where opportunities lie.

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