Electronic payments are gaining in popularity as Hungarians move away from using cash in favor of contactless card transactions.
According to the latest figures, Hungarians use 9 million bank cards, 75 percent of which are contactless cards. Modern electronic payment solutions are now accepted at over 110,000 shops and service providers using almost 140,000 POS terminals.
Mihály Varga, minister of Finance, told MTI that digitalizing the payment system has a considerable impact on competitiveness since cashless payment options make it quicker, safer, cheaper and more convenient to execute transactions.
The minister added that the volume of cash in circulation in the Hungarian economy is currently over 5,000 billion HUF (15.4 billion EUR) or more than 14 percent of GDP compared to the EU average of about 8 percent.
Manufacturing, safekeeping, transporting and processing cash costs the country hundreds of billions of forints every year, he revealed. Strengthening financial awareness and encouraging the use of modern electronic payment options instead of cash is in everyone’s shared interest, the minister stressed.
The finance ministry called a two-round tender two years ago to support the installation of 60,000 POS terminals at shops and service providers across the country, half of which are already operating, the minister noted. Once the program is completed, almost 80 percent of shops in Hungary will accept payment via bank card.
Minister Varga said the value of bank card purchases shows promising growth, having exceeded 5,000 billion HUF for the first time last year compared to 3,980 billion HUF in 2016. The minister revealed that there is even more room for growth over the coming years.