Contactless cards, purchases rise rapidly in 2017

In Hungary

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Turnover via electronic payment methods continued to rise strongly in 2017, according to data released on Monday by the National Bank of Hungary (MNB). The payment card acceptance network grew by 25%, while 83% of POS terminals supported contactless payment.

The expansion in contactless payment technology was reflected in payment turnover: this payment method accounted for two-thirds of card payments in 2017. The ratio of card frauds to total turnover fell in the third quarter, meaning that the safety of this payment method increased.

In 2017, the number of payment accounts managed by payment service providers stabilized at around 10.5 million. Within this, the number of consumer accounts used primarily for payment purposes, at 6.6 mln, also rose only slightly, by less than 1% compared with the previous year.

The number of domestic payment cards exceeded 9.1 mln at the end of 2017, after rising by some 2%, or 170,000. Within the total, the number of contactless payment cards rose extremely strongly, by nearly 18% to 6.58 mln, in 2017. As a result, 72% of cards offered contactless payment functionality, the MNB said, as against 62% one year earlier.

The acceptance infrastructure of payment cards also expanded significantly in 2017. Cards could be used for payment purposes at more than 106,000 points at the end of the year, reflecting an increase of 25% in the number of physical merchant acceptance points.

The number of POS terminals operating at physical merchant acceptance points rose similarly, by 24%, and more than 83% of the 136,000 terminals facilitated contactless payments. The number of online acceptance points rose steadily, by 11%, during the year, their number reaching 9,400.

In 2017, the volume of purchase transactions carried out with domestic payment cards, at 24.1% in terms of the number of transactions and at nearly 28% in value terms, increased more strongly than in any other previous period. The 606 mln transactions carried out in the domestic acceptance network with cards issued in Hungary represented a total value of HUF 4,300 billion.

The number of purchases with contactless cards rose by 65% in 2017 compared with a year earlier, and, as a result, this payment method accounted for two-thirds of total purchases. By contrast, the number of traditional physical purchase transactions fell by more than one-quarter compared with 2016.

Card-not-present transactions, conducted mostly on the internet, rose markedly, by more than 35% both in terms of the number and value of transactions relative to a year earlier. However, their ratio compared to total turnover continued to be low, at a respective 7% and 10% in terms of number and value, according to the MNB.

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