ArmInfo.In Armenia, the number of plastic cards accelerated growth in the first half of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018 from 15.7% to 18%, reaching 2.184 million. At the same time, the annual growth in the total volume of plastic transactions slowed down to 19.3% in the first half of 2019 from 22.9% in the first half of 2018, amounting to 1.031 trillion drams. This is evidenced by the Central Bank of Armenia.
In a quarterly context (for the 2nd quarter of 2019), the dynamics of the number of plastic cards records an acceleration of growth to 4.3% from 3.5% in the 1st quarter 2019, while a year earlier there was a slowdown in growth from 4.1% in the 1st quarter. up to 3.7% in the second quarter An improvement in dynamics was also recorded in the quarterly volume of plastic transactions with a way out of the 11.6% decline in the I quarter by 8.1% growth in the II quarter of 2019, similar to the reversal of the trend a year ago from 14.8% decline in I quarter 13.6% growth in the II quarter of 2018.
According to the source, the annual growth in the number of local ArCa cards by July 1, 2019 accelerated to 13.1% from 12.3% a year earlier, amounting to 678.152 thousand, Visa - accelerated to 30.3% from 19% a year earlier, amounting to 893.106 thousand units, MasterCard - slowed down to 8.9% from 17.3% a year earlier, amounting to 569.135 thousand units. And finally, other international cards (mainly HSBC-cards, as well as AmEx and Diners Club) have grown, but so far they are miserable - 0.7% (against the 3.2% decline a year earlier), amounting to 43.895 thousand. PC. For the second quarter of 2019 alone, the number of ArCa grew by 7.7%, Visa - by 2.9%, MasterCard - by 2.8%, other international cards - by 1.4%.
According to the regulator, the slowdown in the annual growth in the total volume of plastic transactions was due to a slowdown in the growth of transactions on MasterCard cards from 30.8% to 18% and a deterioration in the dynamics of other international cards - from 42.2% growth to a 0.5% decline , amid accelerated growth in operations on ArCa cards - from 11.6% to 13.9% and on Visa cards - from 23% to 23.3%. Visa cards hold the lead in transaction volume - 502.4 billion drams for the first half of 2019, MasterCard - 309.2 billion drams took second place, ArCa - 203.8 billion drams lagged in third, and the remaining 15.2 billion drams were transactions with other international cards (HSBC, AmEx, DC). The share of non-cash transactions in the total volume of plastic transactions has grown over the past five years from 10.5% to 25.7%, amounting to 264.9 billion drams in the first half of 2019, which is due to the significant intensification of online trading and effective measures to encourage non-cash transactions undertaken by banks (for example - CashBack). The annual growth in the volume of non-cash plastic operations accelerated in the first half of 2019 to 53.9% from 36.4% in the first half of 2018. The quarterly dynamics of this indicator shows a sharp improvement with a way out of the 0.5% decline in the 1st quarter. 2019 by 30.1% growth in the II quarter 2019, likened to a reversal of the trend a year ago - from a 2.3% decline in the 1st quarter. 2018 by 22% growth in the II quarter 2018.
In the Armenian plastic market, the share of Visa in the total number of cards in the first half of 2019 compared with the same period in 2018 increased from 37% to 40.9%, while the share of ArCa decreased from 32.4% to 31%, the share of MasterCard from 28 , 2% to 26.1%, the shares of other international cards (HSBC, AmEx, DC) - from 2.4% to 2%. Visa also holds the dominant share in the total volume of plastic transactions - 48.7% (against 47.2% in the first half of 2018), MC in the second place - 30% (against 30.3% in the first half of 2018), in the third ArCa - 19.8% (against 20.7% in the first half of 2018), and the remaining 1.5% (against 1.8% in the first half of 2018) is the share of transactions on other international cards.
As of July 1, 2019, there were 9896 POS-terminals in Armenia, of which 756 are located in the head offices and branches of banks. In annual terms, the total number of POS-terminals increased by 20.1% or 1659 units, against the growth a year earlier by 14.7% or 1053 units. But at the same time, in the reporting period, there was a decrease in the number of POS terminals in banks and their branches - by 10.6% per annum or 90 units, against the growth a year earlier by 7.1% or 56 units. As of July 1, 2019, there were 1506 ATMs, with an annual growth of 2.7% or 39 units, against the growth a year earlier by 6.1% or 84 units.
Recall that the Central Bank of Armenia is the majority shareholder of ArCa, then ACBA-Credit Agricole Bank, Armeconombank and Ardshinbank are the major shareholders of the organization, and the remaining 14 banks each hold 2% of the shares. Through their own processing, HSBC Bank Armenia and VTB Bank (Armenia) have been working on the card market since operating in Armenia, and later, in 2011, Unibank also launched its processing center. Only Armswissbank did not work on the plastic market, but, having become a member of the Armenian Card in the first quarter of 2017 and successfully completed negotiations with MasterCard for membership, in March 2018 began issuing cards. As a result, all 17 banks operating in Armenia operate on the card market.