Contactless payment in Turkey soars amid coronavirus fears

Contactless payment in Turkey soars amid coronavirus fears

ISTANBUL - Demirören News Agency
Contactless payment in Turkey soars amid coronavirus fears

Contactless payments via credit and debit cards have soared across Turkey in February and March, the Interbank Card Center (BKM) chairperson has said.

Payments made by contactless cards and mobile payments constituted some 15 percent of all market or store shopping in February, some 10 percent higher than the rate in the same month of 2019, Soner Canko said.

“The daily contactless payment figure exceeds 3 million. The data features of contactless payment, with all the beneficiaries it brings, is a vital part of our daily life, and it becomes more widespread fast,” he said.

BKM decided to increase the maximum limit of payment via contactless cards from 120 Turkish Liras ($18.5) to 250 liras ($38.6), according to Canko.

In the first 11 days of March, when the coronavirus outbreak knocked on Turkey’s door, the rate of using contactless payment methods via cards and smartphones soared.

“The 31 million contactless payments in a period of 11 days indicate an increase of 23 percent compared to the last month. Considering that the total increase in payments by cards is about 12 percent, we are talking about a big growth [in contactless payment rate],” said Canko.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has advised using contactless payment methods instead of cash banknotes and coins due to hygiene problems, particularly for protection against coronavirus pandemic.

Some 38.9 million credit cards (55 percent) and 36.3 million debit and pre-paid cards (22 percent) used in Turkey comply with contactless payment technology, according to BKM.

Payments using smartphones are also on the rise in Turkey. The number of mobile payments reached 376,000 with a 2.5-fold annual increase, Canko said.

Meanwhile, the volume of shopping via all sorts of cards in February reached 84.9 billion liras ($13.1 billion) in February with an annual increase of 29 percent.

The rate of increase in payments by credit cards was 25 percent, whereas the increase in other cards was 52 percent.
“Turkey has shown high responsiveness. We have been one of the countries taking fast steps in increasing the cap in contactless payments, which offer fast, secure and hygienic payment experience,” the BKM head said.