Carrying Cash Loses Popularity among Georgians 

Carrying Cash Loses Popularity among Georgians 

Carrying Cash Loses Popularity among Georgians 

The FINANCIAL -- Non-cash transactions maintain a steady upwards course in Georgia. Transactions within Georgian economy with POS- terminals have reached 52% out of total number of transactions. With 4.4 million units cashless payments have hit new record in Georgia as of May 2015. The growth has been shown in internet transactions. Online transactions amounted to 1.23 million units, worth GEL 53.4 million. 

In total, 6, 951, 709 debit cards were in circulation as of May 2015, up from 5, 631, 570 from the same period of the last year. With over 3 million Visa Inc. continues to maintain positions of leadership on the Georgian plastic card market.

The total number of transactions within Georgian economy with payment cards amounted to 8 533 985, worth GEL 940 554 000 as of May 2015. ATM transactions have amounted to 4 105 485 units, worth GEL 781 622 000. The number was 4 008 006 units, worth GEL 704 883 000 for the same period of the prior-year. ATM transactions were sharing 52% out of total transactions in 2014. 

This year, the major share, or 52%, was spent via POS-terminals and imprinters, amounting 4 428 500 units. 3 721 917 is the number of transactions made through POS terminals in May 2014. 

Transactions via the internet have increased in 2015. The total value of transactions was 1 233 744 units, or GEL 53 442 000 as of May 2015, up from 991 435 units, GEL 38 569 000 as of May 2014. 

There are 21, 076 POS-terminals in merchant and service outlets, as well as in bank’s branches for now. ATMs counted 1, 937 units. While the number of POS-terminals is increasing in Georgia from monthly bases, ATMs shows reduction. There were 15, 624 POS-terminals as of May 2014, while ATMs were counting 2, 100. 

Limited access to POS-terminals is the main reason why over 70% of respondents questioned by The FINANCIAL prefer to carry cash. During the last week over 400 cardholders were questioned to find out the main trends of the cashless society.

Card payment is available only at huge stores and while corner shops are dominating on the market, there is no alternative for carrying cash.

86% of respondents welcome cashless economy as it brings them added safety. In the event of robbery it is easier to block a card and feel secure. 56% tend to choose a store which offers cashless payment. The advantage can be useful for store owners in terms of attracting more customers, or even so as not to lose them.

“Modern technological development makes the national payment system more varied,” says NBG’s annual report. “The number of companies who are engaged in payment services has increased in Georgia due to the new law about Payment System and Payment Services which was introduced in 2012. Traditional as well as new participants were represented on the payment market in 2013, which include commercial banks, micro financing organizations, remittance entities and other providers of payment services, who provide payment services as a result of registration at National Bank of Georgia,” the report says.

“The development of internet technologies and e-commerce has also contributed to the development of innovative services. Internet and mobile payment providers were registered at National Bank of Georgia in 2013. In addition, networks of self-pay kiosks are actively used by people and the share of their payments make up a large part of electronic payments in general. Electronic money has appeared, which has also contributed to the development of the payment system in Georgia. More foreign companies are expressing their interest in the Georgian payment market as time goes by,” says the report.

“The Georgian card payment market is characterized by a high rate of introducing innovative products. Alongside commercial banks, the Government has also played a big role in the development of card payments. Namely, launching pensions and all the social benefits started via banking channels; public service employee salaries are bound to their personal bank accounts; also, in a number of schools cash payment has become limited,” said Giorgi Melashvili, Executive Director at National Bank of Georgia.

In Melashvili’s words, the main advantages of non-cash are: security, as it reduces the risk of carrying cash; convenience - unlike cash it is easy to carry, secure while travelling or is not required to carry at all; time-saving - you can order goods and services over the internet from your very home; you have operational control of account transactions via sms, online, mobile banking and other remote sources; also, you are able to participate in various promos and discounts.”