Thursday, December 12 2019 19:24
Karine Melikyan

CBA: Armenian card market is gaining momentum

CBA: Armenian card market is gaining momentum

ArmInfo. In Armenia, the number of plastic cards increased by October 18, 2019 by 18.4% per annum - up to 2.283 million units, against an increase of 17.9% a  year earlier. And the total volume of plastic transactions, almost  repeating the pace of last year (24.5% for 9 months of 2018), grew by  24% per annum for 9 months of 2019, exceeding 1.7 trillion drams.  This is evidenced by the data of the Central Bank of Armenia.

In the quarterly context (for the 3rd quarter of 2019), the dynamics  of the number of plastic cards records an acceleration of growth to  4.5% from 4.3% in the 2nd quarter. 2019, which was also observed a  year earlier - from 3.7% in the second quarter. up to 4.1% in the III  quarter. In terms of the quarterly volume of plastic transactions,  the growth acceleration is more significant - from 8.1% in the II  quarter to 12.5% in the III quarter of 2019, while a year earlier  growth slowdown was recorded - from 13.6% in the II quarter. up to  10.9% in the III quarter 2018.

According to the source, the number of local ArCa cards grew in  annual terms by 17.1% to 717.9 thousand units, and international Visa  and MasterCard - by 27.2% and 8.8%, respectively - to 941.2 thousand  units.  and 578.5 thousand units, with the dynamics of other  international cards (mainly HSBC-cards, as well as AmEx and Diners  Club) coming out of the decline by 4.1%, up to 45.01 thousand units.  A year earlier, in the third quarter of 2018, the number of ArCa  increased by 14.4% per annum, Visa - by 26.8%, MasterCard - by 12.8%,  while other international cards fell by 3.4%.

According to the regulator, the high rate of the total volume of  plastic transactions was due to a sharp acceleration in the growth of  other international cards from 44.1% to 2.6 times and a moderately  accelerated ascent of local ArCa from 11.1% to 15.2%, which was  observed slowdown in the growth of transactions with Visa cards -  from 25.7% to 17% and MasterCard - from 32.2% to 27.8%. Visa cards  hold the lead in the volume of transactions - AMD 768.7 billion for 9  months of this year, MasterCard - 531.3 billion drams in second  place, AMD 319.1 billion in third place and AMD 82.2 billion -  transactions with other international cards (HSBC , AmEx, DC).

In the total volume of plastic transactions, the share of non-cash  transactions has grown over the past five years from 10.5% to 24.3%  (compared with the same period of 2014), having amounted to 413.9  billion drams in the first 9 months of 2019, which is due to  significant activation e-commerce, popularization of mobile and web  applications by banks and the Armenian Card, and such effective  measures to encourage cashless transactions like CashBack. The annual  growth in the volume of non-cash plastic transactions is high with a  repeat of last year's pace - 47.7% for 9 months of 2019 (versus 47.8%  for 9 months of 2018).  The quarterly dynamics of this indicator  showed a slowdown from 20.8% in the II quarter to 14.9% in the III  quarter, similar to the trend a year ago - for the III quarter of  2018 from 22% to 14.3%.

In the Armenian plastic market, Visa's share in the total number of  cards in annual terms increased from 38.4% to 41.2%, while  MasterCard's share fell from 27.6% to 25.3%, ArCa - from 31.8% up to  31.5%, and the remaining 2% (against 2.2% a year earlier) - these are  other international cards (HSBC, AmEx, DC).  Visa also holds the  dominant share in the total volume of plastic transactions - 45.2%  (against 47.9% for 9 months of 2018), in second place MC - 31.2%  (against 30.3% for 9 months of 2018), in the third ArCa - 18.8%  (against 20.2% for 9 months of 2018), and the remaining 4.8% (against  1.7% for 9 months of 2018) - this is the share of transactions on  other international cards.

As of October 1, 2019, there were 10,283 POS-terminals in Armenia, of  which 757 are located in the head offices and branches of banks. In  annual terms, the total number of POS-terminals increased by 21.3% or  1807 units, versus an increase of 17.1% or 1237 units. a year  earlier. Moreover, in just 9 months of 2019, the number of  POS-terminals increased by 16.9% or 1487 units. There were 1518 ATMs  on the above date.  with an annual growth of 2.1% or 31 units, versus  a growth of 6.1% or 86 units. a year earlier. It is noteworthy that  for 9 months of 2019, the number of POS terminals in banks and their  branches decreased by 3.3% or by 26 units, and in annual terms - by  5.3% or 42 units. (against growth of 3.8% or 29 units a year  earlier). The number of trade / service points where ATMs or  POS-terminals are installed has ceased to be published by the Central  Bank since 2015.

It should be noted 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) work on the card  market. All 17 banks of Armenia work on the card, taking into account  Armswissbank, which began issuing cards only in March 2018.

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