The number of Mastercard and Maestro cards in Romania has increased by more than 30% between 2011 and 2016, according to the most recent Mastercard data. The advance was strongly supported by the increased uptake of the new payment technologies, such as contactless, the expansion of the cards acceptance footprint in the local market, as well as by the opening of new issuing verticals such as electronic meal cards. The rapid progress comes both from the recent legislative initiatives taken by government and authorities as well as from Mastercard’s local initiatives to promote and inform Romanian cardholders regarding the range of benefits that come with electronic payments.
“The cards market in Romania has recently begun to show its readiness for a massive uptake in terms of electronic payments, taking into account the recent developments in the public, as well as in the business environment in terms of connecting consumers with modern payment methods. Mastercard has always been the main promoter of electronic payments, and we will continue to contribute towards further unlocking the market’s potential” stated Mastercard General Manager for Romania, Cosmin Vladimirescu (photo).
Mastercard figures for 2015 show the increased appetite of consumers for contactless payments, with total value of expenditure on Mastercard and Maestro contactless cards being more than tenfold larger than the levels recorded in 2014. This sharp increase in terms of volume growth was among the highest in Europe. In terms of number of transactions made through Mastercard and Maestro contactless cards, the annual growth rate exceeded 500% in 2015. These results show that Mastercard has correctly identified a need amongst consumers in 2008, when it has launched, in premiere for the Romanian market, a product very well fitted to the market’s extraordinary potential, both for the contactless sector, as well as for the electronic payments industry, as a whole.
The advance of contactless payments, which has greatly contributed to the cards market evolution throughout recent years, was also sustained by the acceptance base expansion amongst different merchant verticals operating in the local market, from retail to public transport, from vending to couriers and festivals. Mastercard has continuously worked closely with partners in Romania so as to broaden card acceptance, with a mutual goal in ensuring consumers are aware of and access the benefits of the most efficient and secure payment methods, such as contactless cards, with swift results – in a timeframe of three months, the share of contactless payments out of the total transactions spiked from 2.7% to as much as 40%, according to Mega Image data for 2015. This is the reason why Mastercard is currently the most accepted card in Romania, with a national acceptance footprint encompassing more than 144.500 POS terminals, according to the Central Bank’s figures for Q1 2016, as well as having an unmatched public transportation acceptance network.
“We firmly believe that electronic payments can have a positive effect for our economy and all the involved parties: consumers have access to a modern, simplified and seamless payment experience, while retailers can grow their revenues by optimizing cash flows and increasing their efficiency. Furthermore, we have had a significant contribution towards reshaping Romania’s economy in a positive direction, and we are constantly adding to our efforts meant to close the gap between Romania and other UE countries in terms of financial inclusion,” added Cosmin Vladimirescu, General Manager, Mastercard, Romania.