Bank cards issued in Estonia were used in 184 countries in the first quarter of the year

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Tiina Soosalu
Tiina Soosalu
Eesti Pank Payment and Settlement Systems Department

An average of more than one million domestic payments were made each day in Estonia in the first quarter of 2015, with a total turnover of 371 million euros. The number of payments was 5% higher than in the first quarter of last year, but the turnover was 14% smaller. Bank cards were used for 63% of all the payments but as cards are used for the smallest payments, card payments provided only 3% of the turnover of all domestic payments.

The main use of bank cards in Estonia is for making payments, for which they are used around 634,000 times a day, while they are used around one seventh as often for cash withdrawals, around 95,000 times a day. This is the opposite to how things were at the start of the 2000s when cards were mainly used for withdrawing cash and rarely for making payments.

There were up to 3000 withdrawals of cash in foreign countries each day, accounting for 3% of all withdrawals. Larger amounts are taken out in each transaction in foreign cash machines, and the sum averaged 163 euros in the first quarter, while an average of 93 euros per transaction was withdrawn in Estonia.

Bank cards issued in Estonia were used in 184 countries in the first quarter of 20151. A daily average of around 36,000 card payments were made outside Estonia, which was equal to 5% of all the card payments using cards issued in Estonia. Cards were used for payments most in Finland, Sweden, Latvia, Russia and the United Kingdom. The individual payments outside Estonia are for larger amounts, averaging 34 euros, while the average in Estonia was 15 euros.

Residents of Estonia are among the most active users of card payments in the euro area. Card payments are made most per person in Finland, where 225 payments per person per year are made, followed by the Netherlands on 170 and Estonia on 169. Latvian residents in contrast average only 75 card payments per person per year.

Estonian residents made an average of close to 16,000 internet purchases per day in the first quarter of 2015, with a total value of around 847,000 euros. Interest in making purchases over the internet has increased rapidly among Estonian residents. The number of transactions was one quarter larger than in the same period of the previous year, and double the number of two years ago. More and more purchases are being paid for using debit cards that can function like credit cards. Such cards were used for 61% of all e-commerce card transactions in the first quarter. Estonian residents buy most from internet shops in the United Kingdom, while Estonian shopping sites are only the fifth most popular. Internet purchases in Estonia are paid for more by bank link rather than by card and some 41,000 purchases per day were made using a bank link in the first quarter.


1 From 2015 Eesti Pank is collecting statistics from the banks about card transactions by country.

Eesti Pank’s statistics on payment and settlement systems 

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