Turkey: Contactless card payments tripled in March

2.5M debit and credit cards used for first time last month, says Interbank Card Center

Contactless card (credit/debit/pre-paid) payments in Turkey tripled in March, compared to the same month last year, hitting 85.8 million transactions, the Interbank Card Center (BKM) said on Tuesday.

Of these, the data showed, some 2.5 million contactless cards were used for the first time.

The increase in contactless transactions comes at a time when the world is battling COVID-19, a respiratory illness that has claimed nearly 76,000 lives in 184 countries.

Like others, even Turkey has implemented strict social distancing measures. Educational institutions, malls, cafes and restaurants remain closed to slow the spread of the virus.

Almost all events and gatherings, and congregational prayers also remain suspended.

The spending limit on contactless card payments was increased to 250 Turkish liras ($38.6) on March 18, which also pushed the number of this technology usage up.

“Contactless payments peaked in the second week of March, especially when the social isolation started,” the BKM said, adding that the sectors with the most contactless payments were markets, restaurants, and health and cosmetics.

The number of cards in the country rose 9% year-on-year to 239 million, the BKM said.

The total amount of debit and credit card payments stood at 85.5 billion Turkish liras (about $13.5 billion) in March, marking an increase of 9% compared to the same period last year, the center stated.

Payments by card increased the most in markets such as food (44%), electronic appliances, health and cosmetics (16%).

Airlines and accommodation sectors, meanwhile, saw a 42% decline in card payments.

Data showed that the total amount of online credit card payments in Turkey rose by 19% annually to 16.5 billion Turkish liras (around $2.6 billion) in March.

” 3 million cards were used for the first time for online payments,” the BKM said.

Anadolu Agency

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