The FINANCIAL -- An innovative card with three functions of making banking transactions,
travelling with public transportation and collecting bonus points is now
available on the Georgian market.
The new product is the Express Card from Bank of Georgia . Express Card makes it possible to carry out banking transactions, pay for the cost of the ticket in Tbilisi metro, buses and mini-buses, as well as the ropeway, and simultaneously collect the bonus points that can be exchange for free travel.
“The card is contactless,” said Irakli Gilauri, Bank of Georgia CEO. “Single contactless payments without the need to insert a PIN code, are limited to GEL 20. Above that amount and a PIN code is necessary for safety measures. Every single payment, excluding transportation, automatically accumulates 10 Express Bonus points on the card holder’s account, which can then be exchanged for free travel with the public transport.”
Ordinary travel cards have a discount system for the second and subsequent trips. Express Card offers the same system of discounts.
About 500 contactless POS terminals where consumers can use the Express Card are already available in Georgia. In total Bank of Georgia has up to 3,700 POS terminals in the whole country. The number will soon total more than 5,000 and all of them will be contactless POS terminals.
“We expect some 300,000 Express Cards to be in use in a year’s time,” claims Gilauri. “This card has no analogue in the country and therefore we expect it to be hugely successful. Total investment in the development of Express line amounts to USD 5 million. Half of the amount has already been invested and we are continuing to invest the rest.”
There is a card which combines banking and transportation functions in the UK with Barclay’s Bank offering such cards, but it has no system like Express Bonus points accumulation.
Express Card can be topped up at Bank of Georgia service centres, also through Express Pay terminals, Internet Banking and Mobile Banking. Bank of Georgia will be installing Express Pay terminals at every bus stop. In total there will be 800 Express Pay terminals in Georgia. Express Card is available to everyone, regardless of whether or not one is a customer of a payroll program at any bank. Customers can easily transfer money to the Express Cards themselves.
An Express Card account can be opened in four currencies: GEL, USD, EUR and GBP. The term of the card is four years. Two types of s cards are available - MasterCard Debit and MasterCard Standard. The annual cost of the cards is GEL 10 and GEL 40 respectively. The monthly service fee for an account is GEL 1. MasterCard Debit has no requirement of a minimal balance, while MasterCard Standard has a required minimum balance of GEL 50 except for the cardholders who get their salaries paid in to a Bank of Georgia account.
According to the National Bank of Georgia the number of payment debit cards in circulation in the whole country totals 3,729,702 as of July 2012. By comparison they amounted to 3,110,133 in July 2011. The number of ATMs totals 1,766, POS terminals in merchant and service outlets - 9,906, and POS terminals in the Bank’s branches and service centres - 2,752, all as of July 2012 in Georgia. GEL 697,997 thousand was processed through 4,857,986 transactions in the same period.