The Romanian bank card in the last few years has been characterized by
a few clear features: rapid growth in the volume of retail payments, the
explosion in contactless payments, the issue of the first electronic food vouchers,
stagnation in issuing bank cards to individual customers, and a growth in the
segment of cards for companies, according to the magazine Financial Market.
Starting January 1st 2016, any newly installed ATM in
Romania had to have the contactless facility. In terms of paying taxes by card,
the number of municipalities registered through the Ghiseul.ro portal went up
by about 30% this year, reaching almost 250. For the first time in 2016 the
number of POS bank card transaction was higher than that of cash transactions.
At the same time, the year 2016 was a year of preparation to introduce
the widespread use of payment by mobile phone, given that at present very few
entities in Romania offer this facility, with limited access to it for
customers. Sergiu Cone, a financial consultant specializing in cashless
transactions, told us more on the issue.
Sergiu Cone: "The card market is hot.
Not only have we reached almost 15.4 million cards but transactions with cards
is at record levels. In the second quarter alone we reached 11 billion Euros in
transactions both for purchases and at ATMs, while the growth compared to the
first quarter is a billion Euro. Card user behavior is also changing. We can
say that almost six out of ten card transactions are retail payments. If we
take the nominal value of total transactions in the second quarter this year
compared to the same last year, on an average, daily, 230,000 more transactions
occurred. If things continue at this pace, the total amount spent using cards by
Romania this year will reach 44-45 billion Euro, and we are heading towards
having around 600 million transactions, of which 330-350 million will be retail
However, Romania is still far behind developed countries, where
cashless transactions are majority. Here is economic analyst Radu
Radu Zilisteanu: "In terms of bank card
use, Romania is at the bottom of the list in Europe. Romania has a cash
culture, and even if many Romanians were forced to have a bankcard, because
their employers pay them into a card account, we notice that on payday there
are long lines at ATMs, Romanians taking out cash. In terms of encouraging the
use of cards, in spite of technological progress - I am talking about
contactless payment, payment by bank card, but also using mobile phones and
other devices, Romanians have not made that much progress in paying by card for
goods and services. Let's not forget that if we have 15.4 million cards, it
does not mean that 15.4 million people hold a card each. Generally, people who
have the culture of card, use several cards, therefore the real number of card
holders is much smaller."
Radu Zilisteanu said that the situation on the card market is closely
tied to the very high level of tax evasion, and if payment would be made mainly
by bankcard, that phenomenon would wind down. In his opinion, a measure that
would contribute to wider development of cashless transaction is the fact that
the National Agency for Tax Administration allows offices in 29 counties around
the country to receive payment by card.
On-line transactions using card in the 3D Secure system for Romanian
on-line retailers went up 59% in the first three quarters of 2016, compared to
the same last year. By late September 2016, on-line transactions worth over
434.2 million Euro had been registered, compared to the 273.2 million Euro
registered in the first 9 months of 2015, according to data provided by
RomCard, a company offering card based transactions in all areas.
The number of on-line transactions by card went up significantly
between January and September this year, compared to the same period last year.
In 2015, around 800,000 monthly transactions were registered, while this year
the number went up to 1.1 million monthly transactions in the first three
quarters of 2016, according to data supplied by RomCard.