ArmInfo. In Armenia, the number of plastic cards increased in the Q1 of 2019 compared to the same period of 2018 by 17.3% to 2.094 million pcs, against a growth of 14.9% a year earlier. At the same time, the y-o-y growth of the total volume of plastic transactions slowed down to 22.5% in the Q1 of 2019 from 27.2% in the Q1 of 2018, making 495.2 billion drams. This is evidenced by the data of the Central Bank of Armenia.
Quarterly (in theQ1of 2019), the dynamics of the number of plastic cards are registered by a slowdown in growth to 3.5% from 5% in the Q4 of 2018 and 4.1% for the Q1 of 2018 At the same time, the total amount of plastic transactions in Q1of 2019 decreased by 11.6%, against a growth of 10% in Q4 of 2018 and a decline of 14.8% for the Q1 of 2018
According to the source, the y-o-y growth of the number of local ArCa cards in the Q1 of 2019 slowed to 6.4% from 12.8% a year earlier, reaching 629.425 thousand pcs, Visa accelerated to 37% from 12.7% a year earlier, reaching 867.863 thousand pcs , MasterCard - slowed to 7.6% from 22.1% a year earlier, amounting to 553.719 thousand pcs. Other international cards (mainly HSBC-cards, as well as AmEx and Diners Club) are still in a downturn with acceleration from 1.1% to 3.2%, amounting to 43.294 thousand. In the Q1 of 2019 alone, the number of ArCa increased by 0.1%, Visa - by 7.6%, MasterCard - by 1.5%, and other international cards - by 0.5%.
According to the regulator, the slowdown in the y-o-y growth of the total amount of plastic transactions was due to a slowdown in the growth of transactions with MasterCard cards from 39.3% to 21.9%, with ArCa cards from 14.1% to 11.5%, with other international cards from 18% to 5.7%, while accelerating the growth of transactions on Visa cards from 26.9% to 28.5%.
Leadership in terms of transaction volume is held by Visa cards - 242.5 billion drams for the Q1 of 2019, MasterCard secured second place with 150.6 billion drams, ArCa detained third with 94.2 billion drams, and the remaining 7.8 billion drams were transactions on other international cards (HSBC, AmEx, DC).
Over the past five years, the share of non-cash transactions in the total volume of plastic transactions increased from 10.6% to 23.2%, amounting to 115.1 billion drams in the Q1 of 2019, which is due to a significant increase in online trading and efficient bank-to-cash operations - CashBack). The y-o-y growth in non-cash plastic operations accelerated in Q1of 2019 to 48.4% from 39.4% in Q1of 2018. Quarterly dynamics of this indicator shows a decline from 6.9% growth in the Q4 of 2018 to 0.5% decline in Q1 of 2019, against a 2.3% decline in the Q1 of 2018.
In the Armenian plastic market, the share of Visa in the total number of cards in the Q1 of 2019 compared with the Q1 of 2018 increased from 35.5% to 41.4%, while the share of ArCa decreased from 33.1% to 30.1%, MasterCard share - from 28.8% to 26.4%, the share of other international cards (HSBC, AmEx, DC) - from 2.5% to 2.1%. In the total amount of plastic transactions, the dominant share is also held by Visa - 49% (against 46.7% in Q1 of 2018), in second place is MC - 30.4% (against 30.6% in Q1 of 2018), in third ArCa - 19% (against 20.9% in Q1 of 2018), and the remaining 1.6% (against 1.8% in Q1 of 2018) is the share of transactions on other international cards.
As of April 1, 2019, there were 9294 POS-terminals in Armenia, of which 754 are located in the head offices and branches of banks. In y-o-y terms, the total number of POS-terminals increased by 17.1% or 1355 pcs, against the growth in the previous year by 11.2% or 799 pcs. But at the same time, during the reporting period, there was a decrease in the number of POS-terminals in banks and their branches - by 7% per annum or 57 pcs, against a decline of a year earlier by 2.4% or 20 pcs. There were 1502 pcs of ATMs on April 1, 2019, with y-o-y growth of 1.7% or 25 pcs, compared to an increase in the previous year by 5.4% or 76 pcs.
To recall, the majority shareholder of ArCa is the Central Bank of Armenia, then the major shareholders of the organization are ACBA-Credit Agricole Bank, Armeconombank and Ardshinbank, and the remaining 14 banks each own 2% of the shares. Through their own processing, they work in the HSBC Bank Armenia and VTB Bank (Armenia) card market. Only Armswissbank did not work in the plastic market, but having become a member of the Armenian Card in the Q1 of 2017 and successfully completing negotiations with MasterCard for membership, in March 2018 it started issuing cards. As a result, all 17 banks operating in Armenia operate in the card market.