Wednesday, August 10 2022 12:26
Karine Melikyan

Number of plastic cards up as capital relocated to Armenia 

Number of plastic cards up as capital relocated to Armenia 

ArmInfo. As of July 1, 2022, over 2.8mln plastic cards were effective in Armenia, including  co-badging cards ArCa-MIR and Russian MIR cards, with a slower increase - from 8.3% to 7.7% - which is lower than the 9.1% increase in the corresponding period of 2020 and must lower than the 22.2%  increase in 2019. In the first half of 2022, 95,600 more cards were issued, with 67,400 cards issued in the 2nd quarter. The cause is the relocation of the capital to Armenia by a larg number of Russian residents. 

The RA Central Bank data show that most of the cards are debt and  charge cards - 64.6% and 31.9% respectively, with credit cards  constituting 3.5%. Debit cards showed a 21.4% year-on-year increase,  charge cards, a 4.5%, whereas the number and credit cards decreased  by 57.6%. In the first half of 2022, the number of credit cards  showed a 13% decrease, that of charge cards, a 6.1% increase and that  of debit cards, a 3.4% increase. The number of charge cards increased  both in the first and in the second quarters, while the number of  debit cards mainly showed an increase in the 2nd quarter. 

The share of Visa cards is 47.4% (over 1.3mln cards against 42.6% in  the 2nd quarter of 2021). These are followed by ArCa cards (24.6% or  688,800 against 30.1% in the 2nd quarter of 2021), MasterCard (25.4%  or 711,500 against 25.5% in the 2nd quarter of 2021). The other cards  are international cards (mostly HSBC cards, AmEx and Diners Club) -  71,500 (2.6% against 1.8% in the 2nd quarter of 2021). 

The number of ArCa-MIR cards is 10,832, with a 48.5% year-on-year  increase or by 3,536 against a 60.1% increase (4,068) in the first  half of 2022, with a 35.4% increase (2,800) in the 2nd quarter of  2022. 

The number of local ArCa cards showed further decrease, whereas that  of other international cards showed a serious increase against a  decrease, with that of Visa and MasterCard showing further increase.

Specifically, ArCa cards showed an 11.2% decrease against a 5.5%  increase, with the other international cards showing a year-on-year  increase - from 8.2% up to 51.2%. Visa cards showed an accelerated  increase from 4.6% up to 20.8%, with MasterCard cards showing a  moderate increase - 6.1% to 8.4%. The number of ArCa-MIR cards,  despite their much lower number as compared with that of other  international cards, showed almost as high an increase as the  combined number of the international cards. The number of Visa cards,  other international cards and ArCa-MIR cards mainly showed an  increase in the first half of 2022, with the highest increase  recorded in the 2nd quarter. 

The share of microprocessor cards reached 61.8%  (against 48.1% last  year) or over 1.7mln, with most of them being Visa cards (1.1mln) and  MasterCard (573,000). The number of magnetic stripe cards was 717,000  (25.6% against 33.2% last year), most of them being local ArCa cards  (675,500). The number of hybrid cards is 282,700 (10.1% against  17.5%), with most of them being Visa and MasterCard. The rest 70,800,  2.5% against 1.2% last year, are virtual Visa cards alone, which  showed a 2.3-fold year-on-year increase against an 86.6% increase  last year. 

The number of debit cards is 1,806,000, that of charge cards is  892,300 and that of credit cards 99,400. The share of Visa cards is  the total number of debit cards is 869,300, with MasterCard cards  dominating credit cards (49,800). As regards charge cards, local  cards gave the pas to Visa cards (418,500), followed by ArCa cards  (238,800) and MasterCard ones (226,300). 

The Central Bank of Armenia is the majority shareholder of ArCa, with  the other principal shareholder being ACBA Bank, Armeconombank, and  Ardshinbank. The rest 14 banks hold 2% each. HSBC Bank Armenia, VTB  Bank Armenia, Unibank and INECOBANK are operating their own  processing systems.  Seventeen Armenian banks are operating plastic  cards, with ArmSwissbank  issuing its own cards since March 2018. 

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