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EghtesadOnline: More than 206,000 credit cards were used in the fifth month of the Iranian fiscal year that started in March -- a growth of 8.3% compared with the month before.

Despite the increase in the number of cards, credit cards still account for less than one percent of the total bank cards used by Iranians, Shaparak Company, the supervisory body of Iran payment network, reported. 

Iranians collectively made transactions with more than 111.6 million bankcards (including debit cards, gift cards and credit cards) during the month to August 21. This was a slight decline of 0.36% compared to the month before. 

Debit cards are the most widely used and account for 95% of the total. Bank-issued gift cards are next with 3.8%. 

Bank Mellat and Tejarat Bank, two major privatized lenders, topped the list of credit card issuers during the period, respectively issuing 24.7% and 24.4%. Bank Saderat Iran was third with 10% followed by and two state-owned lenders, Bank Melli Iran and Post Bank Iran. 

Credit cards are not the norm and is limited to VIP customers.

However, the appeal of credit cards is likely to grow as banks reluctance to give microloans leave customers no choice but to resort to credit. Private banks still have no interest in credit card business. As per Shaparak data, no credit card has been issued by at least ten banks, mostly private lenders.

Bank Melli Iran is the leading issuer of debit cards and gift cards, with 22% and 16% share of the market, respectively.

As per rules, credit cardholders have one month to settle their debt and if they fail to do so, they will must repay in 12-36 installments.


Monthly E-payment Data

An estimated 2.89 billion transactions worth 4,769.01 trillion ($20.7 billion) were processed via Shaparak in the fifth month of current fiscal year (July-22- August 21)  

This indicated 0.95% rise in volume and 8.28% decline in value compared to the month before.

Data shows 82.25% hike in the value of transactions compared to same period last year. The number of transactions grew 23.01% year-on-year. 

In terms of services offered by Shaparak, in the month under review 86.89% of the transactions were for buying goods and services. Buying cellphone recharges and paying bills were in second place at 8.38% while 4.74% of the transactions were for checking account balances. 

As for penetration rate of the receiving instruments, there were 1,874 instruments per 10,000 adults (above 18 years old) during the month.

POS devices had the highest and internet instruments the lowest penetration rates in the month with 1,426 and 220 instruments per 10,000 adults, respectively.


Iran Share Credit Card