Thales Blog

Increasing Transaction Volumes: One Of Life's Certainties

October 13, 2009

Benjamin Franklin once said that “In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes” Well it seems there is a third certainty – the ever increasing rise in payment transaction volumes. As you might expect, in a growing economy, transaction volumes go up. In a recession transaction volumes go, well…up. At least they do for many parts of the payment cards.

Recent Visa and MasterCard quarterly results have exceeded analysts' expectations, with payment volumes remaining steady as payment cards are increasingly being used for non-discretionary spending. Overall then, in spite of the economic down-turn Global transaction volumes for Credit, Debit, and Prepaid Cards seem to be continuing on their upwards compound annual growth path of around 12% per year.

The smart issuers and acquirers have strategies in place to take their share of this growth in volume and more. This in turn means infrastructures must be ready to cope with the growth, which means investment in capacity. Fortunately, increased capacity these days does not always mean an increase in equipment quantities is needed. IT infrastructure power improves every year, which means the latest generation of capacity often does far more within the same physical footprint as yesterday’s equipment. This is as true for the infrastructure as it is for the security systems that protect them. The latest generation of payment Hardware Security Modules that protect the credit and Debit Card networks are now more powerful than ever. But they have also undergone the transformation that data centre storage and server systems have undergone in the last several years where built in resiliency and remote management are assumed to be part of the specification.

The important thing for card payments providers therefore is to make sure that infrastructure investment is made in time to realise the increasing return that can come from an increasing share of profitable transaction volumes. For as Benjamin Franklin once also said “remember that time is money”.