By Mirsaid Ibrahimzade
The Central Bank of Azerbaijan and the Visa International Service Association have signed a memorandum of understanding to determine areas of cooperation in the framework of the State Program to expand digital payments in 2018-2020.
Within the framework of the memorandum, the parties agreed on cooperation in the areas of e-commerce, mobile payments, access to modern payment instruments in various sectors of the economy, and financial literacy.
At the same time, both organizations plan to hold joint lotteries and other activities in Baku and the regions by the end of 2020 to promote cashless payments, encourage modern payment solutions and analyze the current situation.
In September 2018, President Ilham Aliyev approved the state program to expand digital payments in 2018-2020, according to which in 2021 the annual amount of cashless payments in Azerbaijan should reach approximately 17 billion manats ($9.97 billion).
Implementation of the state program will allow increasing the share of non-cash payments annually by seven percent. The share of cash payments in transactions carried out in the economy will fall from 74 percent to 40 percent.
In the first half of 2019, the volume of payments made in the country via interbank payment systems amounted to 131.3 billion manats ($77.23 billion). This indicator showed growth by 5.1 percent compared to the same period of the last year.
The number of electronic payments in the country amounted to 25.378 million which is an increase of 41.3 percent over the year.
The volume of transactions conducted by the State Payment Portal in the first half of this year amounted to 1.412 billion manats ($0.83 billion), increasing by 34 percent.
Moreover, as of June 30, the number of payment cards went up by 14.7 percent, exceeding seven million. Of these, 998,000 are contactless payment cards, the number of which grew by 2.4 times compared to the same period in 2018. The number of contactless transactions also soared by 4.6 times.
In support of this, since the beginning of 2019, the number of POS-terminals in Azerbaijan increased by 316 units, or 0.48 percent. The number of POS-terminals in the country amounted to 66,426, of which about 41,035 are installed in Baku, and 25,391 - in other cities and regions of the country.
Mirsaid Ibrahimzade is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @MirsaidIbrahim1
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