The total value of tax payments by card in Romania increased by 34 pc in 2012 compared to the previous year, reaching over RON 98 million, sustained by POS payments (+37 pc), according to data reported by Visa Europe member banks in Romania, a press release informs. Also, last year, Romanians used their cards more frequently to pay their taxes and made over 285,000 electronic payments, by 32 pc more than in 2011. The average transaction value of local taxes paid by card remained unchanged during last year, namely RON 344. The top ten cities by volume of taxes paid by card, generating 80 pc of total collected amounts, are Brasov, Bucharest, Cluj, Constanta, Galati, Oradea, Pitesti, Ploiesti, Timisoara and Targu Mures. According to a survey conducted by Visa Europe in Romania in 2012, card usage for local tax payments is an attractive option for more than two thirds of the Romanians, as long as no commission is charged. Currently, no city hall in the country applies any commission on local tax payments by card. Tax payments by card also play an important role in reducing losses to the state budget and fighting the shadow economy. Visa Europe surveys have indicated that a 10 pc increase in electronic payments would lead to a 5 pc decrease in the shadow economy, which accounts for approximately 30 pc (29.6 pc) of Romania’s GDP in 2012, according to data presented by the European Commission.