Tuesday, November 23 2021 17:10
Karine Melikyan

2.621mln plastic cards in Armenia`s banking market 

2.621mln plastic cards in Armenia`s banking market 

ArmInfo.Over 2.621mln plastic cards had been registered in Armenia   `s banking market by October 1, 2021, with a year-on-year increase of 5.3% against 9.1% the  previous year.

Most of the plastic cards are debit cards (58.6%) and  charge cards (32.5%), with the share of credit cards being 8.9%.  However, the number of debit and credit cards has increased over one  year, with that of charge cards decreasing, according the data by the  Central Bank of Armenia (CBA).  Visa cards dominated the market -  1.14mln cards (43.4% against 42.6% in the third three-month period of  2020), followed by ArCa  - 765,900 cards (29.2% against 30.1% in the  third three-month period of 2020) and MasterCard - 671,200 cards  (25.6% against 25.5% in the third three-month period of 2020). The  share of international plastic cards was 1.8% (against 1.7% in the  third three-month period of 2020) - 46,400 cards, mostly HSBC, AmEx  and Diners Club.

Both local and international Visa and MasterCard showed lower rates  of increase, whereas other international cards showed higher rates  -  solely due to a leap in the number of AmEx. Specifically, local ArCa  cards showed a 1.8% year-on-year increase (against 3.9%), Visa, 7.1%  (against 12.8%), MasterCard 5.8% (against 9.7%). On the other hand,  other international cards showed higher rates of increase - 7.1% up  to 10.8% due to a 55% in the number of AmEx. ArCa-MIR cards (the  number of cards is 7,013) showed a year-on-year increase of 46.2%,  from a 3.4% increase down to a 4% decrease during a three-month  period. 

Thee number of microprocessor (microchip) cards is 1.343mln (51.2%),  with most of them being Visa cards (860,200). The number of magnetic  stripe cards is 828,4000 (31.6%), most of them being local ArCa cards  (758,300). The number of hybrid cards is 417,200 (15.9%), with most  of them being Visa and MasterCard. The rest 32,800 or 1.3% are  virtual cards (Visa alone), which showed a 49.1% year-on-year  increase. 

The number of debit cards is 1.527mln, that of credit cards is  232,700, with the rest 851,700 being charge cards. Visa cards are  leaders among debit cards (765,200 cards), with MasterCard`s leading  credit cards (184,200). As regards charge cards, ArCa cards have  yielded the palm to Visa cards - 342,700 against the 301,800 local  cards. The number of debit cards showed a 32.4% year-on-year  increase, that of credit cards, a 3.7% increase, whereas that of  charge cards showed a 23% decrease.  The number of both credit and  charge cards has been gradually decreasing during three-month  periods, down to 0.8% and 0.3% respectively in the third three-month  period. Debit cards, however, showed lower rates of increase - up to  3.3%. 

The CBA is ArCA majority shareholder, with the ACBA-Credit Agricole  Bank, Armeconombank, and Ardshinbank being other major shareholders.  The other 14 banks hold 2% of ArCa shares each. HSBC Bank Armenia and  VTB Armenia are using their own processing systems. Seventeen  Armenian banks, including the ArmSwissBank (which started issuing  cards in 2018), are issuing plastic cards. 


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