Bulgarian Payment Cards Increase from 7.7 Million Cards in Circulation in 2009 to 8.5 Million in 2013

Date: 2015-09-16

“• Bulgarian payment cards (including debit and credit cards) registered positive growth during the review period (2009–2013), recording a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.08%, and increasing from 7.7 million cards in circulation in 2009 to 8.5 million in 2013. In terms of transaction value, payment cards valued BGN15.1 billion (US$10.7 billion) in 2013, after registering a review-period CAGR of 7.33%. Rising consumer awareness for electronic payments and the adoption of advanced technologies such as contactless cards and EMV technology contributed towards the growth in payment cards during the review period, in terms of transaction value, volume and the number of cards in circulation.

• In 2013, the average transaction value (ATV) in Bulgaria was US$85.5, which ranked fifteenth in the overall European region. Greece recorded the highest ATV, with US$227.6, while Estonia recorded the lowest with US$37.3. Bulgaria ranked twenty-first in terms of card penetration, with 1.2 cards per inhabitant, while Luxembourg recorded the highest rate with 4.4 and Romania recorded the lowest with 0.6. Bulgaria ranked the lowest among other European countries in terms of frequency of use, with 18.7 transactions per card, while Finland recorded the highest frequency with 172.8.

• Prepaid cards recorded a CAGR of 24.99% during the review period, increasing from 461,513 cards in 2009 to 1.1 million in 2013. These cards are more beneficial to the country’s unbanked population, as they do not require a bank account to use.

• Card fraud is increasing at a CAGR of 0.31% in Bulgaria, with various technological innovations to combat and prevent it. Banks in association with MasterCard and Visa now offer contactless credit cards, called PayPass and PayWave respectively. These cards provide more convenience at the time of the payment, as they require tapping the card in front of the card reader instead of entering the PIN. DSK Bank, Fibank and UniCredit Bulbank offer contactless cards.”

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