The FINANCIAL -- The number of transactions made by payment cards has reached 4,640,813,
consisting of 588 million GEL, according to National Bank of Georgia .
Compared to the same month of 2011 the number of transactions has increased by 38 percent this year. The total amount made from card payments has increased by 25 percent.
In February 2012 NBG registered a record volume of internet transactions - 24 million GEL (540,749 transactions). This year the number of internet transactions increased by 162 percent and money amount increased by 154 percent compared to last year.
In Georgia the number of Visa cards has grown by 30 percent, payment volume has grown by 63 percent while total volume has increased by 33 percent. Visa card usage at merchants has grown by 23 percent compared to Q4 2011 results.
Georgia is number one in the Caucasus when it comes to the number of Visa cards in the country, and number two after Armenia when it comes to PV/TV ratio.
The number of transactions made at points of sale/service facilities increased by 98 percent in February 2012 compared to last year. As for the amount of money, it has increased by 81 percent. In terms of withdrawing cash, the number of operations increased by 21 percent and amount of money - by 19 percent.
As for the cards issued in Georgia, 1,338,041 operations were made in trading unions which consisted of 58,115,000 GEL.
The number of ATMs in the country as of February 2012 is more than 1,500 units, and the number of POS terminals at sales points/service facilities exceeded 9,000 units. 3,163,515 transactions were made at ATMs consisting of 498,932,000 GEL.
15 commercial banks operating in Georgia are engaged in payment cards issuing and acquiring activities. The three main card systems that operate in the country are: Visa, MasterCard and American Express.
Among them Visa takes the leading position on the market. According to the statistics 85 percent of issued cards are Visa, 6 percent - MasterCard , 6 percent - local cards, and only 3 percent - AmEx.
According to the categories of Visa, 79 percent are electron, 19 percent - classic, 2.1 percent - gold, platinum and infinit. As for MasterCard , 59 percent was Cir/Maes, 39 percent - standard, and 2.182 percent - business, gold and platinum.
Svetlana Georbelidze, Visa Country Manager for Ukraine , Georgia, Armenia and Moldova, told The FINANCIAL that despite the fact that local online shops in Georgia are forwarding clients to banks’ websites to complete the operations, it is not delaying Visa’s development in Georgian e-commerce.
“To enhance the security of e-commerce Visa has developed a special mechanism - 3D Secure protocol, and an authentication service based on it - Verified by Visa,” said Georbelidze. “This service allows the ecommerce website (Merchant), before sending the transaction to the Acquirer bank, to transfer the request to the Issuer bank first. The issuer bank can then verify the customer by asking for a special password - static (remembered) or dynamic (sent to customer’s mobile phone) and thus authenticate that the cardholder is valid. After confirmation from the issuer, the merchant will send the transaction to the acquirer bank as usual to complete the transaction,” she added.
“Thus, if an e-commerce merchant supports the VbV mechanism, it will always try to forward the client to the issuer’s website first to validate the client and the card. This enhances the security and decreases the possibility of fraud (using lost, stolen, counterfeit cards etc.) As the real experience of many markets proves, using VbV helps to develop e-commerce much faster than without VbV,” Georbelidze added.
Georbelidze said that since Visa is not requesting VbV from the majority of other counties, it does not mean that Visa considers Georgia a not-secure country in terms of bank fraud. “Verified by Visa is an integral part of each new e-commerce acquiring project launched by any Visa client-bank in the CEMEA region (Central Europe, Middle East and Africa - over 80 countries),” she added.
Svetlana Georbelidze believes that PayPal’s entrance will not have an influence on Visa’s activities in Georgia as well. “Visa cards are accepted at merchants at tens of millions of merchants in over 200 countries - both in the physical and virtual world. PayPal is one of the largest Visa merchants where Visa cards are accepted,” she said.
“Visa supports open competition on the market and availability of multiple payment instruments and e-merchants if they provide secure authentication and payment. Our strategy for business development both globally and in this region is based on Visa products and services, strong brand and extended network of clients. And it’s always a matter of competition and choice - the higher the competition is the more choice and better quality banks and consumers have,” she added.
PayPal is one of the most popular payment processors. Only a limited number of countries are supported by PayPal, thus limiting the number of people who can use it.
Based on our source close to the deal however, PayPal will enter the Georgian market soon. “There are no reasons getting in the way of PayPal’s entrance in Georgia. We just need to wait for the time when PayPal decides to expand. PayPal cannot enter one country alone. According to its policy it should enter several countries within the framework of its expansion,” said the source.