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  1. Analysis
June 25, 2014

Country survey: Romania

In 2012, as a result of the sovereign debt crisis in the eurozone, Romanian real GDP growth slowed to 0.35%. However, it expanded in 2013 and is expected to continue to do so over the forecast period (2014?2018), increasing from 2.18% in 2014 to 3.53% in 2018. This, combined with rising per capita income and low inflation, is expected to improve consumer confidence and increase spending, resulting in a wider scope for card-based transactions. This will be further supported by rising internet penetration, the adoption of contactless payments, and the emergence of Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) cards.

By Editorial

In 2012, as a result of the sovereign debt crisis in the eurozone, Romanian real GDP growth slowed to 0.35%. However, it expanded in 2013 and is expected to continue to do so over the forecast period (2014?2018), increasing from 2.18% in 2014 to 3.53% in 2018. This, combined with rising per capita income and low inflation, is expected to improve consumer confidence and increase spending, resulting in a wider scope for card-based transactions. This will be further supported by rising internet penetration, the adoption of contactless payments, and the emergence of Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) cards.

In terms of the number of cards in circulation, the Romanian card payments channel registered positive growth during the review period (2009-2013), recording a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.75% to reach 14.7 M cards by the end of 2013. In value terms, the channel valued RON138.7 Bn (US$10.9 Bn) in 2013. The debit cards category held the highest share with 79.6% of cards in circulation in 2013. It is expected to continue to maintain the highest share and record a forecast-period CAGR of 2.83%, rising from 12.0 M cards in 2014 to 13.4 M in 2018. The credit cards category had the second-largest share of 16.3% in 2013, followed by prepaid cards with 4.0%. Over the forecast period, the number of prepaid cards is expected to increase from 687,496 in 2014 to 1.0 M in 2018, at the fastest CAGR of 11.13%. The charge card category held a negligible industry share of 0.1% in 2013.

Online commerce is growing

The value of the Romanian e-commerce market is expected to increase from RON6.2 Bn in 2014 to RON13.5 Bn in 2018, at a forecast-period CAGR of 21.64%, supported by the growing internet penetration and the rising number of online retailers. In 2012, online stores totaled 4,500. Among all retail channels, card spending at online retailers recorded a strong CAGR of 26.79%, increasing from RON24.7 M in 2008 to RON63.9 M in 2012. Online commerce is most popular among those aged 25-35 years. E-commerce growth, coupled with the increasing use of cards in making online payments, is expected to drive growth in the card payments channel over the forecast period.

Support for contactless payments

Romanian authorities are supportive of payment innovations such as contactless technology. This is primarily due to the benefits contactless payments can offer; they are simple, faster and convenient, particularly for small purchases. During 2014, the number of contactless-enabled cards in circulation in the country is expected to double to reach 400,000 cards by the end of 2014, and, according to BRD – Groupe Société Générale (BRD), contactless POS terminals will reach 10,000 in the same period. BRD has issued contactless cards in Romania since 2010.

Innovative marketing strategies to attract customers and increase consumer spending

Banks in Romania attract customers by offering enhanced services. Travel insurance is offered to frequent flyers, and utility bills can be paid and mobile phones topped up through debit cards, along with using it for traditional cash withdrawals and transactions. Competition in the cards and payments industry encourages banks to offer co-branded cards by entering into agreements with retailers, telecom companies and airlines. Bancpost has partnered with Wizz Air to provide the WIZZ Bancpost MasterCard World card. Cardholders can avail discounts of RON45 on every Wizz Air flight booked, and earn two points for every RON1 spent on shopping.

Introduction of mobile quick response (MQR) codes to drive the cards and payments industry

In September 2012, Swedish mobile payment solutions provider, Seamless, partnered with the Romanian unit of Turkey’s Garanti Bank to launch MQR code technology in Romania. The technology reduces costs for retailers and merchants, enhances security for consumers and is convenient for both parties. Every QR code generated is unique.

Banks provide more choices to customers

Banks need to innovate and improvise their offerings in order to cater to changing customer demands. In November 2013, Bancpost introduced direct selling agents (DSA), a distribution channel for consumer lending products and credit cards. Customers receive personalized treatment and do not need to worry about providing documentation or obtaining approval from bank. In collaboration with Western Union, BRD added a money transfer option at its automatic teller machines (ATMs) in October 2013.

Expansion of ATMs in Romania

In April 2014, Euronet Service SRL, the Romanian subsidiary of Euronet Worldwide Inc., announced its acquisition of 200 ATMs from Banca Comerciala Carpatica, increasing its overall ATM network in Romania to 400. Euronet has 20 years’ experience in transaction processing and is the largest independent ATM deployer in 13 European countries. Banca Comerciala Carpatica’s off-branch ATMs will be rebranded as Euronet, and the acquired in-branch ATMs will be co-branded with Euronet.

  1. Country Surveys
June 18, 2014updated 04 Apr 2017 4:06pm

Country survey: Romania

In 2012, as a result of the sovereign debt crisis in the eurozone, Romanian real GDP growth slowed to 0.35%. However, it expanded in 2013 and is expected to continue to do so over the forecast period (2014?2018), increasing from 2.18% in 2014 to 3.53% in 2018. This, combined with rising per capita income and low inflation, is expected to improve consumer confidence and increase spending, resulting in a wider scope for card-based transactions. This will be further supported by rising internet penetration, the adoption of contactless payments, and the emergence of Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) cards.

By Editorial

In 2012, as a result of the sovereign debt crisis in the eurozone, Romanian real GDP growth slowed to 0.35%. However, it expanded in 2013 and is expected to continue to do so over the forecast period (2014?2018), increasing from 2.18% in 2014 to 3.53% in 2018. This, combined with rising per capita income and low inflation, is expected to improve consumer confidence and increase spending, resulting in a wider scope for card-based transactions. This will be further supported by rising internet penetration, the adoption of contactless payments, and the emergence of Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) cards.

In terms of the number of cards in circulation, the Romanian card payments channel registered positive growth during the review period (2009-2013), recording a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.75% to reach 14.7 M cards by the end of 2013. In value terms, the channel valued RON138.7 Bn (US$10.9 Bn) in 2013. The debit cards category held the highest share with 79.6% of cards in circulation in 2013. It is expected to continue to maintain the highest share and record a forecast-period CAGR of 2.83%, rising from 12.0 M cards in 2014 to 13.4 M in 2018. The credit cards category had the second-largest share of 16.3% in 2013, followed by prepaid cards with 4.0%. Over the forecast period, the number of prepaid cards is expected to increase from 687,496 in 2014 to 1.0 M in 2018, at the fastest CAGR of 11.13%. The charge card category held a negligible industry share of 0.1% in 2013.

Support for contactless payments

Romanian authorities are supportive of payment innovations such as contactless technology. This is primarily due to the benefits contactless payments can offer; they are simple, faster and convenient, particularly for small purchases. During 2014, the number of contactless-enabled cards in circulation in the country is expected to double to reach 400,000 cards by the end of 2014, and, according to BRD – Groupe Société Générale (BRD), contactless POS terminals will reach 10,000 in the same period. BRD has issued contactless cards in Romania since 2010.

Innovative marketing strategies to attract customers and increase consumer spending

Banks in Romania attract customers by offering enhanced services. Travel insurance is offered to frequent flyers, and utility bills can be paid and mobile phones topped up through debit cards, along with using it for traditional cash withdrawals and transactions. Competition in the cards and payments industry encourages banks to offer co-branded cards by entering into agreements with retailers, telecom companies and airlines. Bancpost has partnered with Wizz Air to provide the WIZZ Bancpost MasterCard World card. Cardholders can avail discounts of RON45 on every Wizz Air flight booked, and earn two points for every RON1 spent on shopping.

Introduction of mobile quick response (MQR) codes to drive the cards and payments industry

In September 2012, Swedish mobile payment solutions provider, Seamless, partnered with the Romanian unit of Turkey’s Garanti Bank to launch MQR code technology in Romania. The technology reduces costs for retailers and merchants, enhances security for consumers and is convenient for both parties. Every QR code generated is unique.

Expansion of ATMs in Romania

In April 2014, Euronet Service SRL, the Romanian subsidiary of Euronet Worldwide Inc., announced its acquisition of 200 ATMs from Banca Comerciala Carpatica, increasing its overall ATM network in Romania to 400. Euronet has 20 years’ experience in transaction processing and is the largest independent ATM deployer in 13 European countries. Banca Comerciala Carpatica’s off-branch ATMs will be rebranded as Euronet, and the acquired in-branch ATMs will be co-branded with Euronet.

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