ArmInfo. ARARATBANK OJSC and the Armenian Automobile Club (AAC) have launched a co-branding ArCa card - Classic, Platinum and Black, which is not only a payment card, but also a membership card of the AAC. In this light, the Bank and the AAC signed a Memorandum of Cooperation at the head office of ARARATBANK on September 16.
"Our strategy aims to create products to satisfy our customers' needs. In this light, we have issued these cards and are going to provide a wide range of discounts, which will make the cards for drivers not only a favorable but also necessary product," Deputy CEO of ARARATBANK David Harutyunyan said. When replying to ArmInfo's question, Harutyunyan noted that due to the specified joint initiative with the AAC, by late 2016 the Bank will be able to increase the number of ArCa local cards by 1000 cards (from the current 86.5 thsd cards).
For his part, CEO of the AAC Poghos Shahinyan noted that such a project is being launched in Armenia for the first time, while in almost all countries of Europe and the United States it has been operating for a long time. He said that the joint card with ARARATBANK will enable the cardholders to make use of the Club's services free of charge and to settle legal and technical problems round the clock not only in Armenia, but also in the NKR and Georgia. Shahinyan noted that the card not only provides privileges in ensuring the security of transport means, but also gives an opportunity of special discounts for medical, entertainment and other services.
"If a problem arises, the cardholder can call us and our specialist will arrive at the scene within half an hour and will provide the necessary services free of charge. In case the problem is not in the Club's competence and the customer has to apply to another service for help, the co-branding card will allow him/her to use flexible discounts ranging from 20% to 30%, Shahinyan said.
To note, the AAC was founded in 2009. The key goal of the Club is to find prompt solutions for servicing and revealing the technical problems of the car, as well as for ensuring the road safety. In collaboration with the local and international companies, the AAC is doing everything possible to ensure traffic safety.
According to the Analytical Review "Armenian Banks in Card Business" by the Agency of Rating Marketing Information (ArmInfo), ARARATBANK is among the TOP-5 by the number of active cards, and among TOP-10 by the amount of plastic transactions. As of 1 April 2016, the Bank had over 132 thsd active cards. In 2015, the amount of transactions totaled 82.2 bln AMD, with about 46% of them being operations through ATMs. The Bank is among the TOP-3 by the number of local ArCa cards (85.8 thsd cards), and among the TOP-5 by the number of MasterCards (29.9 thsd cards). At the same time, the Bank has 15.5 thsd Visa cards. As compared with the same period of the previous year, the Bank increased the number of MasterCards by almost 2-fold, the number of ArCa cards by 3.4%, at the same time reducing the number of Visa cards by 50.5%. As a result, the total number of active cards grew by 1.2% only. The Bank is also among the TOP-5 by the number of its own POS-terminals (386, with 7.5% year-over-year growth), and among the TOP-10 by the number of its ATMs (95, including 66 in Yerevan). As compared with the same period of the previous year, the Bank increased the number of its ATMs both in Yerevan and in the provinces. The Bank launched only ArCa cards in the pension project and retained the 5th position since 2014, securing 17.4% year-over-year growth in the number of local cards, increasing it to 9.7 thsd cards by 1 April 2016. An exclusive representative of the Diners Club International, ARARATBANK has been issuing the cards of Diners Club - Diners Club Black and Diners Club Classic since December 2013. Armenia's EEU membership effective from 2015 and the upcoming unification of EEU markets will intensify the issue of these cards. ARARATBANK has been operating since November 2005. As of 1 July 2016, the majority shareholders of the Bank are Flash oil trader (64.24%), EBRD (25%+1 share), and Rural Impulse Fund II (part of Incofin Investment Management - Incofin IM) with a 10% stake.