MNB: Bank card purchases in Hungary up 20%

In Hungary

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The number of purchases made in Hungary with locally-issued bank cards rose 20% to 402 million last year, fresh data from the National Bank of Hungary (MNB) show, Hungarian news agency MTI reported yesterday.

The value of the purchases climbed 22% to HUF 2.821 trillion. The increases coincided with a 9% rise in the number of businesses that accept bank cards. Their number rose to nearly 82,600 as the government introduced rules requiring a broad range of businesses to use tills connected directly to the tax office.

The number of purchases made abroad with the cards rose 17% to 28 million, although their value increased just 12% to HUF 384 billion.

The cards were used to make 106 million cash withdrawals in Hungary, up 1%. The number stabilized after an 8% decline in 2014, when Hungarians cut back on their visits to ATMs to avail of new rules giving them two free-of-charge withdrawals a month up to a combined HUF 150,000.

Cardholders made 1.4 million cash withdrawals abroad last year, about the same as in 2014. The value of the withdrawals rose 9% to HUF 81 bln.

The number of purchases made with foreign-issued cards in Hungary rose 21% last year to 25 million and their forint value rose 17% to HUF 390 bln. Holders of cards issued abroad made six million cash withdrawals in Hungary in 2015, 4% more than in 2014, and the value withdrawn rose 5% to HUF 287 bln.

The number of locally-issued bank cards was up less than 1% at 8.95 million at the end of 2015. Debit card numbers increased 0.9% to 7.55 million and the number of credit cards dropped 0.7% to 1.41 million. Private individuals held 94% of the cards in circulation.

The number of contactless payment cards jumped almost 30% or more than one million in one year to 4.79 million at the end of 2015. 53.6% of all bank cards were for contactless payments at the end of 2015, their share rose from 41.6% one year earlier.

The number of outlets accepting bank cards grew by 9% to 82,600 and the number of POS terminals rose 7% to 101,235. ATM numbers fell 1% to 4,821.

Private individuals had 9.32 million financial accounts at the end of 2015, down from 9.639 million at the end of 2014.

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