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.