This year, the upgrading trend of card market has continued, while banks’ portfolios have become more complex in order to meet the clients’ demand. In the midst of visible market growth, division of products, slight advance of credit cards and shipping of premium cards were the highlights of this year’s evolution of card market.

In the near future, credit cards will be seen as flexible crediting tools, more accessible than consumer credits, insiders said, mentioning that the growth pace of card market enhanced once with the change of Romanian consumers’ behavior.

“Once with the market development and consumption behavior of Romanians, the growth pace of card market speeded up. The development of infrastructure and acceptance network remains very important factors, as they allow large-scale usage of the cards. This is one of the reasons why prepaid cards haven’t been yet delivered in Romania”, said Catalin Cretu, general manager for Romania at Visa Europe.

Romanian market braced for debit cards once with the need to move to a more advanced level of salary payment and in an attempt to keep up with the development pace of the European markets.

“However, Romanian consumers continued to use debit cards for a long time only to withdraw money from the cash dispensers rather than making payments with it. This reticent outset has influenced the keenness for credit cards that were encouraging the payment at retailers, the withdrawal fees being much higher than for debit cards”.

Furthermore, the credit card has been considered for a long time a very expensive product for many Romanian consumers, as many of them didn’t have salaries high enough to afford a credit card.

Credit card transactions rose 13.7%in second quarter. If in March 31, the transaction volume accounted for 548 million lei (147 million euros), the June 30’s the latter official reports found that credit card transactions amounted to 623 million lei (171 million euros).

On the other hand, “as long as the banks plan to broaden offer array to different categories of clients and to address to existent clients with new products with higher added value, the software platform that would enable products not yet available on the market, such as prepaid or cashback service, will develop”, said Denisa Mateescu, general manager Romania and Balkans at MasterCard Europe.

According to insiders, we will see a sharper segmentation conducted by financial institutions in their portfolios.

“Our partners will also issue products designed to new categories of consumers, such as business cards, and at the same time, they will strengthen their portfolio of products on credit segment”, Mateescu added.

Credit cards will be considered flexible crediting instruments in the near future, as they are more accessible than consumer credits.

“These instruments of payment grants access to a credit line, and more important, it provides the possibility of drawing your own reimbursement plan. If the money is not reimbursed during the maturity period, no interest is charged and the banks race in offering a larger maturity period. Credit limits is renewed as the client reimburses the borrowed amounts, therefore the money is at his disposal anytime and anywhere,” said Mateescu, stressing that next year will be marked by the launching of chip-embedded cards and the extension of contactless payments.

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