Payments Landscape in Bulgaria: Opportunities and Risks to 2022
Consumers in Bulgaria are still predominantly reliant on cash, while payment cards are mainly used as a means to withdraw cash from ATMs. In 2018, cash accounted for 78.8% of total payment transaction volume, with consumers frequently using cash for day-to-day, low-value transactions. This is mainly due to limited payment infrastructure, limited public awareness of electronic payments, and low acceptance of payment cards at merchant outlets.
However, government initiatives (including ensuring access to basic bank accounts for all individuals and migrating payment cards to EMV standards) coupled with banks’ and payment companies’ promotional strategies led to payment card transaction volume and value recording robust compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) during the review period (2014-18e).
Almost every Bulgarian holds a debit card. In September 2016 the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) (the country’s central bank) introduced regulation to provide access to basic bank accounts to all individuals. The accounts must provide features such as deposits, cash withdrawals, direct debits, a debit card, and internet banking. As a result, debit cards are by far the preferred card type for payments, accounting for 75.6% of total card payments by value in 2018.
Bulgarian consumers are increasingly adopting contactless payments. Contactless payment cards - first introduced in the country by First Investment Bank (Fibank) in 2011 - are now offered by all of Bulgaria’s major banks. As per Mastercard data, as of August 2018 49% of card-based payments at retail outlets in the country were made using a contactless payment card - meaning every other transaction is contactless.
Bulgaria’s e-commerce market is small; with spend per capita of $80.8 - the lowest among its peers. However, with rising internet penetration and the increasing popularity of online shopping among millennials, the country’s e-commerce market is expected to record a a CAGR of 10.7% over the forecast period. Cash on delivery remains the preferred e-commerce payment tool in Bulgaria. Other popular methods used for online purchases include credit cards, virtual cards, and alternative payment solutions such as PayPal and paysafecard.
The report Payments Landscape in Bulgaria: Opportunities and Risks to 2022, provides detailed analysis of market trends in the Bulgarian cards and payments industry. It provides values and volumes for a number of key performance indicators in the industry, including cash, cards, credit transfers, and direct debit during the review-period (2014-18e). The report also analyzes various payment card markets operating in the industry and provides detailed information on the number of cards in circulation, transaction values and volumes during the review-period and over the forecast-period (2018e-22f). It also offers information on the country's competitive landscape, including market shares of issuers and schemes. The report brings together research, modeling, and analysis expertise to allow banks and card issuers to identify segment dynamics and competitive advantages. The report also covers detailed regulatory policies and recent changes in regulatory structure.
The report provides -
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