COVID19: Contactless payments spike 23% during pandemic

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Cyprus credit card transactions in the second quarter increased by 23% annually as consumers turned to seamless payments in the aftermath of the coronavirus outbreak.

Cypriots were advised to use contactless payments and avoid cash transactions as a way of stemming the spread of coronavirus.

As only essential services were operating during the three-month lockdown that began in March people were encouraged to do their business online.

According to the latest JCC data, the value of Cyprus credit card spending in the domestic market increased by 23% in Q2, ending on 30 June, to €1.16 bln compared to the same period last year.

The sectors that witnessed the largest volumes were kiosk and newsagents who saw an increase of 103% in card payments, supermarkets (33%), other food stores including bakeries (36%) and Insurance companies with 47%.

Meanwhile, due to the coronavirus and restrictive measures adopted to stem the spread of the virus, travel-related businesses saw card payments drop by 91% while petrol stations witnesses a 33% decrease of 33% and clothing shops a 39% decline.

Unsurprisingly, because of travel restrictions, sales and cash withdrawals of Cypriots with credit cards abroad, including online purchases, was down by 30% to €324.3 mln at the end of June.

This would also explain why foreign card transactions (sales) in Cyprus were down by 76% to €72.5 mln.

Cyprus cards used in the occupied north of the island reached a lowly €386,071 in Q2 as crossings were closed until early June.

Transactions with Turkish cards in the Cyprus Republic stood at €386,746 between April to June.