EghtesadOnline: Data released by the Central Bank of Iran indicate that the number of electronic payment instruments have been continuously on the rise in the past few years.
The regulator has disclosed data on its website starting from the fiscal 2013-14, detailing the number of bank cards, automated teller machines, point-of-sale devices and in-branch PIN pads.
They indicate that 279 million bank cards were in existence in the fiscal 2013-14, whereas the number increased to 334 million in the following year and declined slightly to 331 million in the year after.
The number of active bank cards stood at 415 million in the previous fiscal year, indicating that the average growth in the past four years has been 16.9%, Financial Tribune reported.
According to the central bank, more than 375 million bank cards were held by Iranians by the end of the first half of the current fiscal year on Sept. 22.
At the end of the seventh Iranian month on Oct. 22, more than 377 million bank cards were active in the country, meaning that each Iranian citizen held 4.7 cards.
Considering that 53 million people were of ages 18 or older, the share rises to more than seven cards per person.
Debit cards were the most popular at more than 245 million and gift cards ranked second by exceeding 128 million. There were close to 3.5 million prepaid cards by the end of the seventh month.
However, these numbers paint a hugely inaccurate picture.
The latest data released by Shaparak, the country’s payment settlement network, shows that only about 80 million of those 377 million cards processed transactions and were actively used by the people. More than 95% of those are debit cards.
According to the central bank, during 2013-16, the number of ATMs was registered at 33,773, 40,369, 43,924 and 47,374 respectively. The average growth in the number of ATMs in those years was 12%.
While 3.11 million POS devices were active in the fiscal 2013-14, the number grew to 3.721 and 4.434 million two years later and was subsequently registered at 5.272 million last year to signal a four-year average rise of 18.3%.
A total of 56,152 in-branch PIN pads were active in the fiscal 2013-14 and the number increased to 65,337 and 71,699 in the next two years. With 72,187 pads active last year, the average four-year growth rate stands at 8.1%.