ArmInfo. By April 1, 2021, there were over 2.5 million cards in the plastic market of Armenia, with a slowdown in y-o-y growth to 3.5% from 20.8% in the same period of 2020. And most of them are debit and payment cards - 50.5% and 40.2%, respectively, and credit accounts for only 9.3%, but annual growth is observed in debit cards (by 13%), while settlement and credit in decline (by 4.7-4%). This is evidenced by the data of the RA Central Bank.
According to the source, the dominant position remains with Visa cards - 41.9% or 1.1 million pcs. (versus 42.1% in Q1 2020). ArCa follows with a small margin - 31% or 788.5 thousand units (against 31.1% in the first quarter of 2020), and MasterCard accounted for 25.3% or 645.3 thousand units (against 25% in the 1st quarter of 2020), the rest is 1.8% (against 1.8% in the 1st quarter 2020) or 45.1 thousand pieces are other international cards (mainly HSBC cards, as well as AmEx and Diners Club).
Both local cards and international Visa and MasterCard, as well as other international cards, slowed down their growth. Thus, the number of local ArCa cards slowed down the annual growth from 20.8% to 3.2%, Visa - from 19.5% to 3%, MasterCard - from 10.9% to 5.1%, other international cards - from 11, 6% to 1.4%. Against this background, the number of ArCa-MIR cards, of which there are 7.053 thousand pieces, increased in annual terms by 83.2% with a 20% quarterly growth.
In the total number of cards, microprocessing accounts for 40.8% or 1.040 million units, most of which are Visa (688.8 thousand units). There are slightly more cards with magnetic tape - 35.9% or 915.8 thousand pieces and these are mainly local ArCa cards (780.7 thousand pieces). The share of hybrid cards is 22.1% or 562.8 thousand, and most of them are Visa and MasterCard. And the rest is 1.1% or 28.5 thousand pieces (and this is only Visa) are virtual cards, the number of which has significantly increased in annual terms - 11-fold. The number of debit cards is 1.288 million, credit cards - 236.7 thousand, and the remaining 1.023 million are payment cards. And while Visa (662.4 thousand units) dominates among debit cards, and MasterCard (183.1 thousand units) among credit cards, ArCa (386.1 thousand units) has a quantitative prevalence among the payment ones, followed by Visa (376.1 thousand units) and MasterCard (251.2 thousand units).
The number of debit cards increased by 13% in y-o-y terms, with the quarterly dynamics coming out of the 0.6% decline to 10.6% growth, while the number of payment and credit cards decreased. In particular, the number of payment cards decreased by 4.7% per annum, while the quarterly decline accelerated from 1.4% to 6%, and credit cards - by 4% per annum, while the quarterly dynamics reversed from 8.9% growth to 3.2 % decline.
It should be noted that 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 shares. HSBC Bank Armenia and VTB Bank (Armenia) operate on the card market through their own processing. All 17 banks of Armenia operate in the plastic market, taking into account Armswissbank, which has started issuing cards since March 2018.