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EghtesadOnline: The total number of bank debit cards, used for at least one transaction, in the sixth month (ended September 21) of the Iranian fiscal year reached 101 million, way higher than the 91 million cards during the same period last year.

According to the Shaparak, a body in charge of supervising the local payment network, almost 95% of active bank cards were debit cards, 4.5% were gift cards. Credit cards, with a meager 0.12% share, remained the least popular. 

Shaparak transactions stood at 2.30 billion worth 2.505 trillion rials ($21.8 billion) in the sixth calendar month to September 22.

Based on a Shaparak monthly report released on its website, transactions declined 2.36% and 4.26% in terms of volume and value, respectively, compared to a month ago, according to Financial Tribune.

Regarding the performance of lenders, Bank Melli Iran alone accounted for 22% of active cards. It also had the largest share of active credit cards during the said period at 22%. 

Bank Mellat, owned by the government, accounted for more than 24.1%, of the total transactions. BMI and Bank Keshavarzi were next with 12.5% and 7.24%, respectively. 

Mellat also had a 23% share in terms of the value of transactions. BMI and Saderat were next at 11.7% and 11.3%, respectively. 

CBI rules oblige acquiring banks to pay the fees when customers use bank cards for purchasing goods and services. Cardholders only foot the bill when transferring money from one card to another or checking account balances.

According to Shaparak, lenders paid an average of 119 rials for every 100,000 rial worth of acquired transactions, 2.15 higher than the average a month before. 

Parsian Bank, another leading private lender, paid an average of 198 rials for every 100,000 rials worth of transactions – it being the highest fees as an acquirer bank.

Export Development Bank of Iran and Bank of Industry and Mine, both specialized state-owned banks, paid the lowest fees – average of 22 rials and 50 rials for every 100,000 rials worth of transactions.

The fee issue is among key challenges for lenders, according to Shaparak, as “they have to balance between the interest earned from keeping the received money and the fees they pay”.

Acquiring banks are also required to pay fees for the rent and maintenance of POS terminals. Adding fees for maintaining POS terminals to the transaction fees, Toss-eh Credit Institution on average paid 6,385 rials for every 100,000 rials worth of transactions topping the list. Post Bank and Bank Hekmat Iranian were in second and third place with 1,891 rials and 1,054 rials respectively.



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