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EghtesadOnline: An estimated 129.9 million bank cards were used at least once in the month to April 20, Shaparak, the company in charge of Iran's domestic payment network, reported Monday.

The number was down 6.5% from the month before when it was 139 million, the company said in a report seen on its website. 

Debit cards were the most common accounting for 94.14% (122.3 million) of the total active cards. However debit card use dropped 6.51% during the period. 

More than 22.15% debit cards were issued by Bank Melli Iran, followed by Bank Sepah at 11.99% and Bank Mellat and Bank Saderat 11.28% and 10.95%, respectively. 

The share of credit cards decreased to 0.34% of the total cards used in the month. According to the company, 439,028 credit cards were used at least once during the period. The number plunged by 32% on the month before.

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

Bank Melli Iran was the issuer of 89.9% of the credit cards, followed by Bank Saderat 2.41% and Bank Sepah  2.2%. Private lenders are still averse showing little if any interest in offering credit card services because they account for a tiny fraction of the bank cards. 

The company said 7.1 million prepaid cards were used at least once during the month. Compared to the month before, the number was down 3.96%. 

An estimated 16% of prepaid cards were issued by Bank Melli Iran, Bank Mellat was next with 13% followed by Parsian Bank 9.27%.

More than 3.196 billion retail transactions were processed by the local payment settlement network.

The transactions were worth 5,438.79 trillion rials ($19.21 billion) – up 11% in volume but down 26.89% in value from the month before, the website reported.

The value of transactions rose 32.45% on the same month last year when 2.81 billion transactions worth 4,196.8 trillion rials ($14.82 billion) were processed.

In terms of services offered by Shaparak, it said during the month under review, 88.32% of the transactions were for buying goods and services. Buying cellphone recharges and paying bills was second, accounting for 7% of the services while 4.6% of the transactions were for checking bank account balances.

The nation-wide network said it failed to process 254.3 million transactions during the month.


Debit Card