ArmInfo. In Armenia, the growth rate of non-cash transactions by plastic cards has accelerated in 2016 from 25% to 32.3%. According to the report of the Armenian Central Bank, the volume of cashless card transactions for 2016 totaled 218.5 billion drams. Moreover, in quarter section after falling by 15.3% in I quarter followed an increase by 21.5% in the II quarter with an acceleration rate of up to 40.7% in the III quarter, after which there was a sharp slowdown by 0.8% in the IV quarter. According to the regulator, the total volume of plastic transactions amounted 1.4 trillion drams in 2016. However, the annual dynamics of this index deteriorated from 13% growth to 2.1%. Parallel with this the number of circulating cards dropped to 1.6 million units, with the deterioration of the dynamics from 7.2% growth to 9.2% decline. Meanwhile, three years earlier, in 2013, the total transactions showed an increase by 10.2% with 18.1% of the increase in the number of cards, and then in 2014 the growth of transactions accelerated to 26.3% at the growth slackening of the number of cards by 3 ,9%.
In the Armenian plastic market as of January 1, 2017 the lead in the number of cards keeps Visa (37,4%), edging out local ArCa cards in second place (33.2%). MasterCard accounted for 26.5%, while the remaining 2.9% is other international cards (HSBC, American Express, Diners Club). Meanwhile, in the context of the annual Visa's share in the total number of circulating cards decreased from 45.6%, while the share of ArCa and MasterCard increased respectively from 31.7% and 19.9%. The five-year cross-section (1 January 2017 1 January 2012), the number of circulating cards has increased by almost 2-fold, with a similar increase in the volume of transactions.
According to CBA, by January 1, 2017, there are 587.7 thousand units of Visa, 521.3 thsd ArCa, 416.2 thsd MasterCard, and the number of other international cards (mainly HSBC-cards, and AmEx and Diners Club) is 45.7 thousand pieces. The annual deterioration of the dynamics of the total number of cards with growth declining to a greater extent has been provoked by Visa decline by 25.5%, against the backdrop of the recession which ArCa and other international cards was too modest - 5-3,5% and MasterCard at the time showed growth by 20.8%. A year earlier, in 2015, MasterCard has accelerated the growth rate from 7% to 12,8%, Visa - from 9.2% to 10.5%, while ArCa and other international cards were sparingly went out of 3,2-2,9% decline to 0,1-2,2% growth.
Deterioration of the annual dynamics of plastic transactions (from 13% growth to 2.1% strength decline) is due to both the local and international cards: On ArCa, the volume of transactions from 4.3% growth declined to 0.4%, on Visa - from 14,1% growth to 0.6% recession, MasterCard slowed growth from 19% to 14.9%, and transactions in other international cards altogether "slid" from 23.6 % growth to 67.7% decline. In terms of volume of transactions, the leadership since 2011 holds Visa - more than 676 billion drams in 2016, edging out to second place the ArCa - 360.9 billion drams, and the third with a small difference in the amount of settled is the MasterCard - 340.7 billion drams. The five-year cross-sectional volume of the largest growth was recorded for transactions with MasterCard for 3 times and Visa for 2.3 times, at a more modest increase in transactions of ArCa by 46%.
On January 1, 2017, 6971 POS terminals operate in Armenia, 827 of which are in the mother offices and branch offices of the banks. In annual terms, the total number of POS terminals increased by 8.7% or 557 pieces. Of ATM there were 1432 units on the above date, with an annual growth by 1.1%, or 16 pcs. The five-year section of the number of ATMs increased by 42% or by 423 units and POS-terminals by 35.2% or 1816 units. The number of items of trade/services, where ATMs or POS-terminals are set, the Central Bank stopped publishing in 2015, but in late 2014 there were 6619, of which 3694 are in retail outlets and 275 are in hotels.
To note, the major shareholder of ArCa is the CBA, the other major shareholders of the organization are ACBA-Credit Agricole Bank, Armeconombank and Ardshinbank, and the other 12 banks own 2% each.