Worldline processed nearly 2 billion electronic payments in Belgium in 2016

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Worldline processed nearly 2 billion electronic payments in Belgium in 2016

  • Payments of small amounts by card grew by an impressive 28%
  • E-commerce transactions increased by as much as 32%

Brussels - 4 May 2017 - Worldline [Euronext: WLN], the European leader in electronic payments and transactions, has published the figures of electronic payments in 2016 in Belgium. In total, Worldline processed 1.96 billion electronic payment transactions[1]. This represents an increase of nearly 10% in relation to 2015 (1.8 billion) and 17% compared with 2014 (1.7 billion). The trend is clear: the use of cards is becoming widespread and Belgium is moving towards a cashless society.




Many records of the number of payment transactions were broken in 2016. Shortly before Christmas, Worldline recorded the highest number of transactions per day ever, with 8.4 million transactions processed and a record for transactions per minute, peaking at 17.322. Electronic payments for small amounts also achieved a breakthrough in Belgium, with a 28% increase in electronic payments for purchases of less than 5 euros in small businesses - a consequence of Worldline’s spectacular reductions in Bancontact rates. After the introduction of the new rate on 1 June, the number of electronic payments for amounts under 5 euros jumped by as much as 33%. There was also a sharp increase in the number of e-commerce transactions in 2016: Belgians made 32% more online payments than in 2015.


Belgium on track to become a cashless society


Belgians are increasingly paying by card, whether debit or credit card. Bancontact is undoubtedly the most popular means of payment, accounting for 71% of all transactions processed this year. These include both transactions in physical stores and online e-commerce payments. Cash withdrawals at ATMs levelled out, while the number of electronic payments in stores grew by 10%. This confirms the trend of consumers increasingly opting for the convenience of cards rather than cash.


The growth of electronic payments in 2016 was once again confirmed at the end of the year, setting new records for transactions on Friday 23 and Saturday 24 December. Friday 23 December saw the absolute record in the number of transactions processed per day, at 8,422,798, an increase of no less than 10% compared with the previous record of 23 December 2015. Just before Christmas, the record for peak transactions per minute was also beaten four times. The absolute record was achieved on 24 December at 11:42 am with 17,322 transactions per minute.


Record increase in small amounts


Never before the Belgians have used their Bancontact cards so often for small amounts. In 2016, Worldline saw a 28% increase in electronic payments of amounts under 5 euros compared with 2015. This means that paying by card at the baker’s or the butcher’s is by no means exceptional these days. Payments of amounts under 10 euros now account for 23% of all electronic payments in Belgium. Payments under 5 euros represent 9% of the total.


This sharp rise is the result of spectacular cuts in the Bancontact rates for merchants that Worldline introduced on 1 June 2016 in partnership with Belgian banks. Payments up to 5 euros are now up to 60% cheaper and cost the merchant only 2 cents, down from 5 cents previously. Charges for payments of between 5 and 10 euros have also been cut to 5 cents, a 30% cut. The launch of the new rates was accompanied by a special promotional period of 4 months (from June to September 2016), during which all transactions up to 5 euros were free.


The average amount of electronic transactions has therefore decreased slightly compared with last year. For a Bancontact transaction, it fell to 42.3 euros as against 43.5 euros in 2015, and for credit cards to 82.2 euros as against 82.4 euros the previous year.


Belgians are buying online and mobile


The digital revolution is changing Belgians’ purchasing behaviour. In 2016, Worldline recorded no less than 32% more online payments than the previous year. The sharp rise of 39.5% in online transactions by Bancontact is striking. The number of on-line payments by credit card increased by 28.5%. The average amount of an online purchase rose to 76 euros in 2016 as against 81 euros in 2015.


Online purchases now account for 6% of the total number of transactions. But this segment is clearly gaining ground each year in relation to the number of payments at physical points of sale.

Further information


Worldline Press Office : 02 727 68 22 –

A propos de Worldline


Worldline [Euronext : WLN] est le leader européen et un acteur mondial de référence dans le secteur des paiements et des services transactionnels. Worldline met en place des services nouvelle génération, permettant à ses clients d’offrir au consommateur final des solutions innovantes et fluides. Acteur clef du B2B2C, riche de plus de 40 ans d’expérience, Worldline sert et contribue au succès de toutes les entreprises et administrations, dans un marché en perpétuelle évolution. Worldline propose un Business Model unique et flexible, construit autour d’un portefeuille d’offres évolutif et global permettant une prise en charge end-to-end. Les activités de Worldline sont organisées autour de trois axes : Merchant Services & Terminals, Mobility & e-Transactional Services, Financial Processing & Software Licensing incluant equensWordline. Worldline emploie plus de 8 600 collaborateurs dans le monde entier et génère un chiffre d’affaires estimé à environ 1,5 milliard d’euros sur une base annuelle. Worldline est une entreprise du Groupe Atos.



[1] This figure includes payments by bank card (Bancontact, Maestro, Visa, Mastercard, Union Pay, JCB etc.) in Belgium (for holders of Belgian cards and cards issued abroad) and abroad (for cards issued in Belgium), at points of sale and ATMs.


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