ArmInfo. In Armenia, the annual growth of non-cash transactions on plastic cards amounted to 25% in Jan-Sep 2017, slightly less than the dynamics of a year ago - 27%. According to the report of the Central Bank of Armenia, the volume of non-cash card transactions for the reporting period amounted to 189.7 billion AMD. In the third quarter of 2017 alone, the volume of non-cash plastic operations changed from an upward 27% to a downward trend of 10.1%, against an acceleration of growth from 21.5% to 40.7% in the third quarter of 2016.
The total volume of plastic transactions for the first 9 months of 2017 amounted to 1.1 trillion AMD, with the release of annual dynamics from a 1.1% decline to a 7.7% rise, with a quarterly slowdown in the uptrend from 21.1% to 3.9% . At the same time, the number of cards turned down to 1.6 million units, with the annual dynamics deteriorating from 3.9% growth to 7.6% decline, with a slight slowdown in quarterly growth from 3% to 2.2%.
In the five-year period, the volume of non-cash plastic transactions increased 3-fold, with the main growth - 2.1 times - in the last three years. In the total volume of plastic transactions, the share of non-cash transactions for the last five years (9 months of 2017 to 9 months of 2012) increased from 9.3% to 17.2%, which is caused by a significant increase in Internet commerce and the banks taking such effective measures to encourage non-cash transactions like CashBack (refund of money from purchases).
On the Armenian plastic market, by October 1, 2017, Visa holds the leading position in the number of cards - 35.7%, in the second position, local cards ArCa - 32.8%, MasterCard account for 28.8%, and the remaining 2.7% - is 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 44.2%, while the share of ArCa and MasterCard increased from 30.1% and 23.1%, respectively. In the five-year period (October 1, 2017, by October 1, 2012), the number of cards turned up grew by 36%, with the volume of transactions increasing by 73.2%, with MasterCard leading by 2-3 times in terms of the rate of ascent of volume and quantity. According to the Central Bank of Armenia, by October 1, 2017, there are 583.5 thousand in Armenia. Visa, 535.8 thousand pcs. ArCa, 471.3 thousand pcs. MasterCard, and the number of other international cards (mainly HSBC-cards, as well as AmEx and Diners Club) exceeds 44.7 thousand units. The annual deterioration in the dynamics of the total number of cards from the growth to the recession was mostly caused by the acceleration of the rate of Visa reduction - from 1.7% to 25.3% and the continuation of the decline in other international cards - from 2.1% to 2.9%, against the background which led ArCa out of the down 1.9% to an upward 0.6%, while MasterCard's growth slowed from 28.8% to 15%.
The release of the annual dynamics of the volume of plastic transactions for the 9 months of 2017 from a 1.7% decline in the 7.7% growth was triggered by MasterCard and Visa, with the decline of ArCa and other international cards. Thus, according to MasterCard, the annual growth in the volume of transactions accelerated from 13.6% to 29.7%, according to Visa transactions went from 0.1% decline to 6.5% growth, according to ArCa transaction from 1% growth slipped to a 4.7% decline, and on other international cards - the sub-dynamics slowed from 63% to 43.5%. According to the volume of transactions, the leadership is retained by Visa from 2011 - 522.7 billion AMD for 9 months of 2017, the second place of MasterCard - 314.4 billion AMD, the third ArCa - 249.4 billion AMD, and other international cards the volume of transactions amounted to 16.1 billion AMD. In the five-year period, the growth in volume was recorded in transactions with MasterCard - 3 times and Visa - 2 times, against which the growth of transactions with ArCa looks too modest- 22.4%. At the same time, the volume of transactions with other international cards (HSBC-cards, AmEx and Diners Club) after the annual ascent with the acceleration of rates in 2012-2015, began to drop sharply from 2016, with the minus dynamics remaining in 2017.
As of October 1, 2017, there were 7,239 POS-terminals in Armenia, of which 770 are located in head offices and branches of banks. In the annual section, the total number of POS-terminals increased by 6.5% or 445 pcs. ATMs on the above date were 1402 pcs with an annual decline of 6.1% or 91 pcs. In the five- year section, the number of ATMs increased by 24.8% or 279 units, and POS-terminals - by 16.7% or 1037 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. Central Bank is the majority shareholder of ArCa, then 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 CJSC (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" CJSC 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 maps in Armenia, and the issue of ArCa-MIR cobeydge cards. In Armenia, three banks have started issuing chip payment cards ArCa-MIR: Ardshinbank (since September 2017), Ameriabank (in late August 2017), ACBA-Credit Agricole Bank (since October 2017).