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.