EghtesadOnline: The number of active bank debit cards, used for at least one transaction, increased by 1.3 million from Sep.23 to Nov.21.
On Nov.21, the number of bank cards reached 101.9 million, up from 100.63 million at the end of summer, indicating 1.3% increase, IBENA reported, citing Shaparak, the main electronic payment settlement network.
The report shows that the banking system has issued more than 350 million bank cards, less than a third of which is active.
According to Shaparak, more than 97.5 million of the cards were debit cards during the period, representing 95.7% of all active cards, Financial Tribune reported.
Shaparak processed 2.22 billion transactions worth 2,522 trillion rials ($20 billion) in the calendar month to Nov. 22. Compared to the month before, the transactions registered 1.58% and 0.49% decline in volume and value, respectively.
There were about 4.3 million active gift cards and 110,000 credit cards as of Nov. 21, indicting 2.3% decline and 3.2 hike compared to figures in the previous month. This shows a meager 0.11% share for credit cards 4% share of gift cards.
Regarding lenders role in issuing bank cards, Bank Melli Iran, the state-owned bank, alone accounted for 22.4% of the active cards.
Bank Mellat was second with 11.2% followed by Bank Saderat Iran and Agriculture Bank of Iran, respectively issuing 11.2% and 7.3% of all cards.
The lowest number of bank cards belonged to Ansar Bank and Bank Maskan Parsian – with 2.77% and 3.14% of all cards, respectively, followed by Bank Tejarat and Bank Refah Kargaran.
As per CBI rules, acquiring banks are obliged to pay 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 118 rials for every 100,000 rials worth of acquired transactions, 0.02% lower than the average a month before.
Parsian Bank paid an average of 198 rials for every 100,000 rials worth of transactions – the highest charges as an acquirer bank.
The Bank of Industry and Mine and Export Development Bank of Iran, both specialized state-owned banks, paid the lowest fees – 20 rials and 40 rials average for every 100,000 rials worth of transactions.
The fee issue is among key challenges for lenders, according to Shaparak, as “they have to maintain a balance between the interest earned from keeping the received money and the fees they pay”.
At present, banks receiving and making payments bear the bulk of the charges because when a payment is made with a bank card, the bank receiving the payment has to pay a fee to the bank whose card has been used. This is over and above the charges banks pay as rent and support fees for each POS device to payment service providers.
Furthermore, banks have to pay another fee when submitting transaction orders for paying bills and purchasing phone credit recharges.