Postbank's latest data on consumer shopping habits in 2022 shows that cashless payments continue their upward trend. The institution's analysis confirms that people increasingly prefer to use cards to pay for goods and services instead of cash. The share of purchases versus cash withdrawals with debit cards is increasing by 14 percent. Over the past 12 months, the total volume of online purchases made by the credit institution's customers with their debit and credit cards has grown by an impressive 40 percent.
Postbank's data also shows that as a result of an active social life and the desire for more fun after the pandemic, customers have used their credit cards even more intensively for entertainment, restaurant visits and other leisure experiences. Compared to 2021, the share of payments for entertainment increased by 23 percent. There is also a growing interest in payments with ONE Wallet by Postbank digital wallet thanks to the speed and convenience the app provides. Paying with ONE Wallet is fast, just by bringing the mobile phone close to the POS terminal, without the need for a card swipe or entering the card PIN. In 2022, the volume of purchases made with a debit or credit cards digitized in a mobile wallet reached 80 million. In just one year, the number of transactions with digitized cards has increased fivefold, and the number of users of ONE Wallet by Postbank - more than twice.
The use of credit cards is becoming increasingly popular among consumers not only because of the convenience, speed and security, but also because of the many additional benefits they bring to their holders. With Postbank credit cards, customers get a long interest-free grace period, free travel insurance when travelling abroad, a number of travel privileges for certain card types, as well as rewards of up to BGN 1,000 per year under the MyRewards loyalty programme. The data from the analysis of Postbank noted an increase of 41 percent in the volume of purchases with debit and credit cards, which shows that consumers highly appreciate the advantages and security of card payments, as well as the targeted initiatives that the institution implements to encourage their use - discounts at certain merchants, rescheduling of purchases and regular campaigns with attractive rewards. The share of the value of purchases abroad made with credit cards is also growing significantly, with an increase of almost 80 percent year-on-year reaching 36 percent.
Another fact from the credit institution's statistics is that purchases made in large supermarket chains and grocery stores retain the largest share in the total volume of purchases with cards, with 30 percent for 2022. The Bank's customers were also particularly active in using their cards in places where they had the opportunity to have fun and spend their free time, visiting restaurants, pubs and bars, with the share of the number of transactions in these establishments increasing from 10 percent to 12 percent for debit cards and from 13 percent to 16 percent for credit cards, respectively, compared to 2021 data.
The trend of consumers increasingly using their debit and credit cards to pay their household bills online continues. The convenience of this payment method is undeniable, and through the bank's digital and mobile banking, it is also free when using a credit card, and as a bonus, customers also collect points under the MyRewards loyalty programme.
The bank's analysis also shows that the average age of customers shopping online is 40, with 52 percent of consumers being male and 48 percent—female. A large part of the cardholders who use their cards most actively for payments are concentrated mainly in large cities, as follows—Sofia with 49 percent, Plovdiv with 7 percent, Varna with 7 percent, Burgas with 4 percent, and Ruse with 2 percent.
"Once again, our aggregated data confirms the global trends in consumer habits on the Bulgarian market. For 2022, we report an exceptional growth of customers who have actively used their cards on a daily basis and have fully relied on the conveniences and benefits they receive with them. With the growing interest in contactless payments, digital banking models, and the preference for stylish and modern designs of bank card plastics, we at Postbank continue to innovate in payments to meet new consumer expectations. In the past 2022, we developed an innovative design for our debit cards. We also proposed a longer validity of the plastics from 3 to 5 years in line with our ESG policy, which both saves our customers‘ time and also significant natural resources. The option of digitally signing card issuance documents has also had a favourable impact on overall statistics. The expansion of our branch network with instant card issuance capability has added value and was immediately recognised as the better alternative by customers," said Postbank.
Postbank’s strategy for digitization and providing sustainable financial solutions in the past year also placed a special focus on the innovative mobile wallet One wallet by Postbank, which is already available to non-customers of the bank. In addition to contactless payment with a mobile phone, the app offers a wide range of useful functionalities. Each user registered for the service is issued a free digital card which is the most eco-friendly payment instrument, as no physical card is produced which saves logistics and printing additional documents related to it. Users can also make transfers to accounts in the country and manage all cards issued by the bank - blocking/unblocking, limiting purchases, withdrawals, or online payments, as well as the use of the card in certain regions. The app gives customers security and the convenience of controlling their cards themselves, free of charge, and without the need to visit a bank office or call the customer service centre.
In 2022, the first metal credit card in Bulgaria, Mastercard UNIVERSE, issued by Postbank, won a prestigious award in last year’s edition of the Elan Awards 2021 competition of the International Card Manufacturers Association (ICMA). The award was in the Environmentally Friendly Cards category and was a recognition of the design innovation, ecological approach, and commitment of the institution to the creation of this special payment instrument of new generation. This one-of-a-kind product in Postbank's portfolio has enjoyed strong interest, and in just two years since its launch, the institution already has over 50 percent share in the segment of the highest class of bank cards in the country.
Postbank offers a rich portfolio of modern and innovative banking products and services that add value to customers. They are part of its long-term strategy to develop digital solutions and innovative banking channels for the convenience of customers. More information about the whole range of financial solutions can be found at www.postbank.bg, and at any office of the bank in the country.