By Rasana Gasimova
The volume of non-cash payments in Azerbaijan must be increased by at least seven percent annually, Executive Director of the country’s Center for Analysis of Economic Reforms and Communication (CAERC) Vusal Gasimli said on February 12.
Addressing the VISA Cashless Forum on Driving the Future, Gasimli noted that the volume of non-cash payments should be increased by at least $17 billion per year as part of the program for the development of non-cash payments.
He noted that the share of non-cash payments in Azerbaijan is 40 percent, which is one of the key elements of close cooperation within the banking system, and the latest decisions made by the head of state in the direction of digital support, encourage interaction within this sector.
“I believe that in the future there will be a significant impetus to further improve the financial model. Currently, we have many different tools to ensure the stability of the growth of financial payments and develop e-commerce,” Gasimli added.
He went on saying that the number of payment cards reached 7.3 million in 2019, which indicates an 11.2 percent increase compared to 2018.
Gasimli noted that the number of payments in the clearing system and in money transfer systems in Azerbaijan has increased, despite the fact that last year the volume of payments through the Interbank National Settlement System decreased.
He emphasized that the number of transactions using money transfer systems increased by 40 percent, noting that in 2019, the number of payments on electronic commerce from internal transactions increased by 67 percent, and the volume almost doubled.
He noted that the number of payments through POS terminals has increase by 20 percent amid a decrease in non-cash payments through ATMs.
Gasimli also spoke about plans for the introduction of next-generation cash registers, which allow transferring data to an electronic information system for the development of digital tax administration, which will stimulate non-cash payments.
Speaking at the event, Director of information technology department of Azerbaijan’s Central Bank (CBA) Farid Osmanov said that several new technologies, including an instant payment system, blockchain and payments using a QR code will be launched at once in Azerbaijan in 2020.
He noted that within the framework of the program for the development of non-cash payments, in absolute terms, the volume of non-cash payments must increase by at least $17 billion per year.
Osmanov also stressed that the department is working on introducing blockchain technology in the country in the next few months.
Chairman of the Azerbaijan Banks Association (ABA) Zakir Nuriyev also spoke at the forum. He informed that Azerbaijan may adopt a new program for the development of digital payments.
Nuriyev noted that the "State program Digital Payment Expansion in Azerbaijan for 2018-2020" is being completed this year. The government needs to develop a new package of documents for the next period and expand the scope of the target program.
Visa Cashless Forum is an annual platform in the region that brings together digital payment and innovation experts from a range of financial institutions, fintech, merchants, payment service providers and regulators.
This year, the forum focuses on trends that shape today’s payment ecosystem, how they impact consumers and businesses, and Azerbaijan’s potential as a digital nation which continues to adopt seamless, fast and secure electronic payments.
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