The number of payment cards in Lithuania almost doubled over the past year and exceeded 1 million as of July 1, while their first- half turnover reached over 3 billion litas ($798 million).
The payment card market showed moderate growth at the start of 2002 but later picked up pace and posted an 80 percent increase for the first half of the year, compared with the same period of 2001. As of July 1, commercial banks in Lithuania had issued 1.17 million different payment cards.
The number of cards rose by nearly 32 percent over the first half.
The total turnover of cards also continued to grow at a rapid pace and reached 3.18 billion litas during the first half of 2002, which represented a rise of 69 percent from the same period of 2001. The card turnover for the full-year 2001 came to 4.3 billion litas.
The number of cards increased by 60 percent in the first half of 2001, while the growth rate for the full year reached 66 percent. The total turnover of payment cards rose by 63 percent last year.
As of late June, there were 800 ATMs in Lithuania, and about 8,900 places where cards were accepted for payment.
Vilniaus Bankas and Hansa-LTB remained the leading players on the payment card market this year, having issued 520,900 and 380,000 cards as of July 1, respectively. The two banks raised the number of cards by 20.4 percent and 60.6 percent over the first half, respectively. In year-on-year terms, the respective growth rates were 58 percent and 174.6 percent.
The market share of Vilniaus Bankas, owned by Sweden's SEB, shrank from 48.4 percent to 44.2 percent this year, while Hansa-LTB, owned by the Estonian financial group Hansabank, boosted its market share from 26.4 percent to 32.3 percent.
Snoras came in third with 159,700 cards. The bank's market share fell from 16.1 percent to 13.6 percent during the first six months.
Zemes Ukio Bankas, majority owned by Germany's Nord/LB, raised its market share from 6.6 percent to 7.6 percent, having issued 89,800 cards.
Ukio Bankas ranked first in terms of average turnover per card (5,500 litas).