Azerbaijan to expand cashless payments
Azerbaijan, Baku, Feb. 10 / Trend , N.Ismayilova/
In Azerbaijan, 97 percent of operations with plastic cards account for drawing out cash from ATMs and POS-terminals. That affects development of cashless payments, Azericard processing center said on Feb. 10. International Bank of Azerbaijan is the sole founder of Azericard.
"In order to increase public interest in cashless payments Azerbaijani Government plans to carry out activities as part of state program on improvement and development of advanced electronic payment services in Azerbaijan," Azericard said.
In recent years, network of ATMs and POS-terminals has grown significantly. Number of card holders increased several times. However, opportunities of plastic card infrastructure are not used effectively, Azericard said.
A total of 5,300 POS-terminals have been set up in commercial enterprises; 700 POS-terminals, 1,400 ATMs, 64 IBA-owned information kiosks have been set up in bank branches.
"It is necessary to accelerate setting up POS-terminals in retail trade outlets, restaurants and other facilities in order to expand cashless transactions and increase opportunities to use cashless payments," the office said.
As part of state program on improvement and development of advanced electronic payment services in Azerbaijan, a range of measures will be carried out to improve population's interest in cashless payments. The program was approved by President's decree dated Dec. 9, 2004. Azericard is also involved in realization of the program, the office said.
The measures include: preparation and application of administrative measures against retail trade outlets, catering and other facilities providing similar services that refuse to operate payments through electronic cards. A massive campaign will be held to form high payment culture among the population and to teach citizens how to use non-cash means of payment.
"It is necessary to take measures for the regular public education in this area through media, and at the same time, to provide relevant knowledge to school children and students," Azericard said.
Activities also include issuance of scholarships through plastic cards to students of higher educational establishments and vocational education institutions.
"Implementation of this event will promote skills to use electronic means of payment among the youth and will enable them to become active users of such services," said the office.
Trade enterprises are being connected to high-speed wireless POS-terminals (elcell), Azericard said.
Electronic commerce [e-commerce] project with the use of 3D Secure Verified by VISA and MasterCard SecureCode was completed at the end of 2008. The project will push development of electronic payments market in the country.
Over the past three years, number of plastic cards issued by banks in turnover has hit 3.3 million, a 700-percent rise; number of ATMs has hit 1,400, a three-percent rise; number of POS-terminals has hit 6,000, a tenfold rise.
On Feb. 10, the official exchange rate is 0.8077 manat to $1.
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