A debit card is a staple in wallets of 95% of Serbian cardholders, the latest issue of the annual Mastercard’s MasterIndex* study has shown. Almost a half of respondents own a credit card, while 11% of respondents own a prepaid card.
Compared to the last year, the number of people who use their cards at least once a week has slightly increased (from 76 to 83%), indicating a growing reliance on the practicality and safety of cashless payments in everyday shopping activities.
MasterIndex shows that debit cards are mostly used for buying food (74%), petrol (35%) and clothes (33%), while credit products, as a convenient way to obtain additional funds or make repayment in installments, are mostly used for buying furniture and home appliances (62%), clothes (52%) and food (32%). What is also a good indicator of cashless developments is the fact that usage of payment cards at ATMs has further decreased – by 6% for debit, and 13% for credit cards.
“This year’s MasterIndex results underscore that the higher the amount to be paid, the higher the likelihood that people will reach for cards – we now see that for bills of up to 1,500 dinars, 34% of respondents opt for cards first, 59% use plastic for bills over 1,500 dinars, while 69% make cards their first choice for bills over 3,000 dinars. Cashless society becoming a reality in Serbia is not only positive news for consumers and merchants who simplify their commercial activities, but also for the state that benefits from more transparent financial flows and consequently, lower shadow economy level,” Jelena Ristić, Country Manager for Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mastercard, commented.
It is exactly the simplicity of usage that was deemed as the most appreciated payment card feature by 40% of MasterIndex respondents; 1 in 4 appreciates practicality, 14% safety and 11% for the speed of cashless payments.
When choosing the card that they will use, Serbian consumers, look into several factors – primarily, those are extra features such as deferred payments or complementary insurance policies (53% of respondents), ATM network (39%), good reputation of the issuing bank (35%), and low rates and fees (20%), but there are also 38% of respondents who said that they did not choose their card, but it came with their bank account.
MasterIndex Serbia research has also pointed out that discounts at selected merchants (65%) is the preferred incentive that would prompt more frequent card usage, followed by money refund (40%), and prizes (35%).
For the first time, state and municipal institutions were not the first choice for locations where consumers would like to have the option to pay with cards – topping the list are courier services at the moment of delivery with 1 in 3 respondents seeing this as a convenient option and open markets (27%).