State programs are main stimulators of cashless payments in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan, Baku, Jan. 28 / Trend N.Ismayilova /
The main stimulator of development of the cashless payments market in Azerbaijan are the state program implemented in the country in the direction, AzeriCard Business Development Center Chief Jahangir Mammadov told Trend. AzeriCard Processing Center is fully owned by the International Bank of Azerbaijan.
"If the implementation of these programs continues and expands, then all sales points will accept credit cards, I think it's only a matter of time," Mammadov said.
He said the processing center AzeriCard and banks, to which it serves, do everything possible is to maximum stimulate the plastic cards market.
"New services, such as Mobil Bank, SMS-Notification, e-commerce and Internet Banking are introduced in today's market with the use of plastic cards. Banks are now trying to install wireless GPRS POS-terminals, which handle transactions in the tens of times faster than normal. They are also convenient as they are wireless, and customers do not necessarily come to the counter to perform the operation," he said.
Mammadov said the banks and AzeriCard are ready to ,as far as possible, commission and offer the public all the modern technology in this field.
"The market of plastic cards in the country is developing slowly because of lack of sufficient awareness and disinterest on the part of trade points in making payment through POS-terminals for the purpose of tax evasion," he said.
He said the banks perform all its obligations and set POS-terminals in shops, but many shops do not use them.
A state program on improving and developing modern electronic payment services in Azerbaijan was confirmed in accordance with a presidential decree on Dec. 9, 2004. The state gave an impetus to favorable opportunities to carry out large-scale reforms in the development of modern payment services. Since the adoption of the program, Azerbaijan has succeeded in improving the plastic card markets by distributing pensions and different benefits and allowances through plastic cards, as well as the wages of budgetary organization employees.
Currently, the Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBA) is developing a new strategy for the development of payment system, whose main goal is to create conditions and encourage the broad masses of the population to use e-payment instruments. Under the new program, the CBA plans to implement activities to educate consumers that also have a positive impact on the widespread use of POS-terminals in the country.
Based on the CBA data, as of late December 2010 there were 4,231,000 units of payment cards, which is 6.5 percent over late 2009.
Today, AzeriCard processes 31 banks in Azerbaijan and abroad, of which 28 are members of international payment systems.
Only 45 banks operate in Azerbaijan.