Card transactions are driving the growth in the number of payments



  • The number of international payments rose faster in the final quarter of last year than the number of domestic payments did
  • The majority of domestic payments are card payments
  • The rise in the numbers of domestic and international payments was largely driven by card payments

Estonian residents and companies made an average of 1.34 million payments per day in the fourth quarter of 2017. The total turnover of payments per day was 558 million euros. Residents of Estonia are using bankcards more and more in shops at home and abroad and in online stores.

Domestic payments accounted for 91% of the number of payments and 72% of the turnover. That is equal to 1.2 million payments per day and a total turnover of 399 million euros. Domestic payments are those where both the buyer and the seller are in Estonia and 7% more such payments were made in Estonia than in the same quarter of the previous year. Some 65% of all domestic payments are made by card at the point of sale.

International payments accounted for 9% of the number of payments and 28% of the turnover, totalling 114,000 payments with turnover of 159 million euros. This covers payments for which the payment order is sent to a bank outside Estonia, a card payment is made abroad, or a card is used to pay in a foreign online store. At 82%, most of the international payments are card payments, and 29% more international payments were made than a year earlier.

The rise in the numbers of domestic and international payments was largely driven by card payments. Among international payments, the rise in the number made with cards over the internet stands out particularly. Cards were used abroad for purchases an average of 36,000 times a day in the fourth quarter, which was 32% more than in the same quarter of the previous year. Where available, a bank link is the preferred method of payment for Estonian online stores (1). Cards were used for 5200 purchases per day in Estonian online stores in the fourth quarter, which was 2.5 times more than in the same quarter of 2016. Bank links were used for 59,000 purchases a day in the quarter though, which was 9% more than a year earlier.

A total of 100,000 purchases were made each day in the fourth quarter through bank links and by card over the internet. However, not all purchases made through bank links are necessarily classified as e-commerce in the standard sense. An estimated 20% of purchases through bank links are of goods, 30% are of services, mainly bus and other transport tickets and cinema, theatre and concert tickets, 25% are of lottery tickets and other forms of online gambling and betting, and 25% are payments of bills and payments for financial services such as insurance or loan repayments or other payments.

Bank links can only be used for purchases from Estonian online stores. Statistics from the postal service Omniva confirm the rapid growth of e-commerce as Omniva said that the use of parcel machines in December 2017 was up 50% on December 2016. The country that is the source for the largest share of parcels is China, and the USA, the United Kingdom and Germany are also popular countries of origin.


1 Purchases from online merchants can often be made using other means of payment besides bank links and bank cards, such as pre-payments to merchants or third-party payment solutions, but these transactions are not identified separately in the Eesti Pank statistics.

Additional information:
Eva Vahur
Public Relations Office
Tel: 668 0965, 533 00619
Email: [email protected]
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