VILNIUS - Next week, the Association of Lithuanian Banks will start an educational campaign intended to encourage people to use payment cards to pay for purchases and services more often, says Ukio Bankas, which operates in Lithuania, reports news agency LETA. Though the residents of the country own over four million cards, the investigations show that due to a lack of information and various existing fears, Lithuanians use this payment alternative only half as often as does the average EU resident.
“Investigations show that the main reasons preventing more active payment card usage is the lack of information about them - how they work, whether it is safe to use them for payments, how to control your own funds. So, in implementing this campaign, we wish to answer the questions the people are interested in, to provide more information on the everyday use of the cards,” said Stasys Kropas, president of the Association of Lithuanian Banks, in initiating the campaign.
According to him, the level of settlements by payments cards is disproportionately low and their popularization campaign would help to increase electronic payments on the whole.
The president of the Association says that the banks have introduced this objective to the Bank of Lithuania; it was discussed that popularization of payment cards and other electronic alternatives will allow banks to maintain lower fees for these services. The settlement by payment cards is useful for clients, as it helps to perform settlements in a convenient and safe manner: keeping PIN codes protected and safe, and blocking a card in case of loss, making it practically impossible to use a stranger’s card. Card account statements help to control one’s own budget and the balance may be checked by anyone who has a mobile telephone.
On the basis of data provided by the banks of Lithuania, the number of payment cards issued in the country in recent years remains quite stable. In the first quarter of this year the number amounted to over 4.2 million. According to the data of the 2011 first quarter, the turnover on the cards was 6.9 billion litas (2 billion euros) - 10.5 percent higher than in the same period last year; 5.7 billion litas, or 83 percent of the transactions were cash withdrawals from ATMs. Presently, 1,500 ATMs work in the country and it is possible to use a card for payment at almost 37,000 points of sale.
The educational campaign for settlements by payment card popularization was initiated by the Association of Lithuanian Banks and all its members issuing payment cards. For organization of the campaign, a consortium of the creative agency Ogilvy, communication consultants VRP I Hill & Knowlton and media planning agency Mediahouse were chosen.