Wednesday, November 22 2017 16:06
Karine Melikyan

Armenian Central Bank: Non-cash plastic operations grew by 25% in the first 9 months of 2017, while overall transactions grew by 7.7%

Armenian Central Bank: Non-cash plastic operations grew by 25% in the  first 9 months of 2017, while overall transactions grew by 7.7%

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).

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