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EghtesadOnline: The company in charge of supervising Iran's domestic payment network, Shaparak, said more than 118.8 million bank cards were used at least once in the calendar to August 22.

The number was down 4.19% compared to the month before, when it was 124 million, the company said in a report seen on its website. Debit cards topped the list accounting for 95% (113.63 million) of total active bank cards.

Debit cards topped the list accounting for 95% (113.63 million) of total active bank cards. Total debit card use dropped 4% in the period.

More than 22% of the debit cards were from Bank Melli, followed by Bank Mellat and Bank Saderat each with about 11% share.

The share of credit cards decreased 10.36% to 0.25% of the total bank cards used in the month.

Credit cards are still not a norm in Iran and for long were limited to VIPs. But now that seems to be changing. CBI policy of promoting credit cards as an instrument for microloans is influencing banks' decision to rethink.

Bank Melli Iran was the issuer of 65% of credit cards, followed by Bank Keshavarzi 7% and Bank Mellat 6.8%. Gift cards posted 6.8% decline.

Shaparak said 5.52 million gift cards were used at least once during the month.  Eighteen percent of gift cards were issued by Bank Mellat, Bank Melli was next with 13% followed by Parsian Bank 13%.

More than 3.16 billion transactions worth 5,368.8 trillion rials ($19.8 billion) were processed by the network in the month, indicating 6.36% and 4.23% fall in volume and value, respectively, on the month before.

However, compared to the corresponding period last year, the volume and value of transactions was higher 9.09% and 12.58%, respectively.

The decline in transactions is partly due to the decline in businesses activity due to the long and extended Covid-19 lockdowns.

In mid-August a weeklong nationwide lockdown was announced by the government to stem a fresh wave of the brutal coronavirus that has battered the economy. All non-essential businesses were ordered to close and intercity travel was restricted.

The annual upsurge in the value of transactions is linked to runaway inflation. Adjusted for inflation, the real value of transactions fell 18.8% compared to the same period last year. On a monthly basis, the value of transactions were down 4.23% after factoring out inflation.


Shaparak Debit Card