Tuesday, September 12 2017 16:00
Karine Melikyan

Armenian Central Bank: annual growth of non-cash card transactions accelerated in Q1 2017 from 11.7% to 47.2%

Armenian Central Bank: annual growth of non-cash card transactions  accelerated in Q1  2017 from 11.7% to 47.2%

ArmInfo. In Armenia, annual  growth of non-cash transactions on plastic cards accelerated in the  first half of 2017 from 11.7% to 47.2%. According to the report of  the Central Bank of Armenia, the volume of non-cash card transactions  for the reporting period amounted to 126.2 billion drams. In the  second quarter of 2017 alone, the volume of non-cash plastic  operations changed from a downward trend of 16.6% to an upward trend  of 26.9%, versus an exit from the 15.3% decline in the 21.5% growth  in the second quarter of 2016.

The total volume of plastic transactions for the first half of 2017  was 748.6 billion AMD, with the release of annual dynamics from a 1%  decline to 14.2% growth, with a quarterly trend change from a  downward 13% to a 21.3% increase. In parallel with this, the number  of referring cards fell to 1.6 million units, with the deterioration  in annual dynamics from 6.4% growth to 8.9% decline with quarterly  improvement - from 1.1% decline to 3% growth.

In the five-year period, the volume of non-cash plastic transactions  increased 3.2 times, with the main growth - 2.2 times - in the last  three years. In the total volume of plastic transactions, the share  of non-cash transactions for the last five years (I half-year of 2017  to the first half of 2012) increased from 10% to 17%, which is caused  by a significant increase in Internet commerce and the banks taking  such effective measures to encourage non-cash transactions like  CashBack purchases).

On the Armenian plastic market, by 1 July 2017, Visa holds the  leading position in the number of cards, 36% in the second position,  33% in the local ArCa cards, 28% in MasterCard, and the remaining 3%  these are other international cards (HSBC, American Express, Diners  Club). Meanwhile, on an annual basis, Visa's share in the total  number of cards in circulation decreased from 45%, while the share of  ArCa and MasterCard increased from 30% and 22%, respectively. In the  five-year period (July 1, 2017, by July 1, 2012), the number of cards  turned up grew by 41%, with the transaction volume increasing by 88%,  with MasterCard leading by 2-3 times in terms of the rate of ascent  of volume and quantity with a large margin.

According to the Central Bank of Armenia data, by July 1, 2017, there  are 575.7 thousand items in Armenia. Visa, 533.6 thousand units.  ArCa, 445.6 thousand units. MasterCard, and the number of other  international cards (mainly HSBC-cards, as well as AmEx and Diners  Club) exceeds 45 thousand units.  The annual deterioration in the  dynamics of the total number of cards from growth to decline was  mostly caused by the reduction of Visa by 26.6%, against which the  decline of ArCa and other international cards looked too modest -  0.1-1.1%, and MasterCard at that time showed an increase of 13.6%. As  a comparison, in the same period of 2016 MasterCard showed a 30%  annual growth, Visa - only 3% growth, while ArCa and other  international cards were in decline - 1,2-1,5% .

The release of the annual dynamics of the volume of plastic  transactions in the first half of 2017 from a 1% decline in the 14.2%  growth was triggered by MasterCard and other international cards,  with a slight increase in Visa and the decline in ArCa. Thus,  according to MasterCard, the annual growth in the volume of  transactions accelerated from 11.7% to 32.5%, on Visa from 1.1% to  5.5%, on other international cards - the dynamics came out of the  53.5% decline growth of 2.3 times, while the dynamics of transaction  volume by ArCa "fell" from 1.2% growth to a 3.4% decline. As for the  volume of transactions, Visa has been leading since 2011 - 331.4  billion AMD in the first half of 2017, second place in MasterCard -  200.3 billion AMD, on the third ArCa - 160.2 billion AMD, and on  other international cards the volume of transactions amounted to 56.7  billion AMD. In the five-year period, the largest growth was recorded  in transactions with MasterCard - 3 times and Visa - 97%, other  international cards - 80%, and against this background, the 22.3%  growth in transactions with ArCa looks too modest.

As of July 1, 2017, there were 7184 POS-terminals in Armenia, of  which 790 are located in head offices and branches of banks. In the  annual section, the total number of POS-terminals increased by 8% or  554 pcs ATMs on the above date were 1347 pcs with an annual decline  of 11% or 164 pcs. In the five-year section, the number of ATMs grew  by 23% or 253 units, and POS-terminals by 20% or 1199 units. The  number of trade / service points where ATMs or POS terminals are  installed has ceased to be published by the Central Bank since 2015,  but at the end of 2014 there were 6619 of which 3694 in retail  outlets and 275 in hotels.

To recall, the Central Bank of Armenia is the majority shareholder of  ArCa, ACBA-Credit Agricole Bank, Armeconombank and Ardshinbank are  the major holders of the shares, and the remaining banks own 2% each.  The Memorandum of Cooperation between Armenian Card JSC (operator of  Armenia's payment system ArCa) and JSC NSPK (operator of the Russian  payment system MIR) was signed on June 3, 2016.  In 2017, on July 7,  the Central Bank included the Russian NSPC "MIR" in the register of  active payment and settlement systems, and gave permission to  "Armenian Card" JSC to participate in the "MIR" system.  Intersystem  interaction provides for mutual acceptance of NPS maps in the  infrastructures of two countries:  ArCa cards in Russia, MIR cards in  Armenia, and the issue of ArCa-MIR cobeydge cards. Ardshinbank  started to issue ArCa-MIR chip cards in Armenia (since September  2017), and a few days earlier, Ameriabank announced the start of  servicing MIR cards.

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