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UCB & Visa: With over 40% increase in cashless payments at POS terminals for the first half of 2022


UCB & Visa: With over 40% increase in cashless payments at POS terminals for the first half of 2022
  • The new Visa eco cards issued by the bank are also seeing growing customer interest and 20% monthly growth since their launch;
  • By replacing plastic cards with cards made of biodegradable materials, UniCredit Bulbank and Visa reinforce their commitment to sustainable development.

More and more often we pay with a card for purchases of minimal value, such as morning coffee and a pack of chewing gum, according to data from UniCredit Bulbank and Visa Bulgaria. Thus, for the first half of the year, payments at POS terminals of the bank's customers increased by 43% compared to the first six months of 2021.

UniCredit Bulbank expects a further strengthening of the trend towards increased card payments, thanks to the innovation they offer in partnership with Visa - biodegradable cards made of eco-materials. The cards are created using a new technology that allows the production of a debit card with the strength of the familiar PVC cards, but 84% of all materials are environmentally friendly. The core of the PLA card is made 100% from corn stubs fibre, and the rest of the corn produced remains to be used in animal husbandry. Due to the natural materials used to make the PLA cards, they are fully degradable and do not emit toxic fumes when burned.

A recent study in which Visa was a partner at global level show that the topic of sustainability is becoming increasingly important to consumers and the majority of them prefer products that are environmentally friendly. For example, 70% of Generation Z clearly stated that they want to make a change to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly lifestyle, and half of all respondents indicated that they would like companies to work to make green products more affordable.

"We are happy that together with our partners from Visa Bulgaria we are able to make a significant step in our efforts to make our business sustainable. We believe that any action to reduce the use of plastic is an action with a long-term positive effect on the environment. We are also grateful to our customers who support us in these efforts and together we are able to transform their consumption habits for a more sustainable future," commented Tsvetanka Mincheva, CEO and Chairman of the Management Board of UniCredit Bulbank.

" One of Visa’s focuses is on inspiring consumers to live more sustainable lives and helping to remove friction from this behaviour change. We support banks and financial services companies to embed sustainable technology across the payments system, to help encourage consumers to make environmentally conscious choices when spending. We are delighted that thanks to our partnership with UniCredit Bulbank we’ll help reducing the use of plastic as part of our overall policy for a cleaner environment," adds Krasimira Raicheva, Visa Manager for Bulgaria.

UniCredit Bulbank in partnership with Visa started replacing the existing Visa Debit & Visa Gold Debit cards with the new generation cards at the beginning of the summer. The PLA family of bank cards has recently been joined by the UniCredit Shopping card - a credit card with the option to defer purchases in instalments and the Visa Business Leader - an international contactless business debit card. In the next 18 months, the most widely used bank cards in the UniCredit Bulbank network will be made of corn fibre (PLA), or over 1 million newly issued and renewed cards, some of which will be transported by sea in order to reduce harmful gas emissions by half.

In order to limit the production of plastic cards, the bank also increased the validity of the cards from 4 to 6 years. The initiative is part of the two financial institutions' strategy to do business sustainably and promote change in the way plastic cards are produced and its impact on emissions.

According to UniCredit Bulbank, there is stronger demand for the new plastics, with a 20% increase reported for August 2022 compared to July 2022, following the launch of the offering. But in addition to limiting the use of plastic, the bank, a leader in digital services, is also looking to encourage and facilitate its customers in using its wide range of digital banking services.

"Already over 15% of our cardholders have digitised cards and their behaviour shows that this really brings them a lot of comfort. Our data shows that once the card is digitised, i.e. once the customer gets the ability to pay with their phone or smartwatch, the number of payments jumps threefold in a month. By the end of last month, we have recorded over 3 million digital payments", says Borislav Genov, Retail Banking Director and Member of the Management Board of UniCredit Bulbank.

According to the bank's calculations, only thanks to the possibilities of electronic signing of documents for all types of cards, delivery of card address and e-PIN in Bulbank Mobile 650 thousand pages were saved.  

Additional media information:

Darina Radoslavova, tel +359 887 505273, Ebsjob/SbeptmbwpwbAVojDsfejuHspvq/CH

Ekaterina Ancheva, tel +359 894 518 193 , flbufsjob/bodifwbAvojdsfejuhspvq/ch