The Bank of Latvia compiles Credit Institution Payment Statistics twice a year as of 1998. The above statistics and payment statistics of the Bank of Latvia, Latvijas Pasts and The State Treasury enable to assess the overall payment statistics in Latvia.
The payment statistics in Latvia includes data on the volume of payment instruments, value of payment instruments, volume of transactions per type of terminal, value of transactions per type of terminal, OTC cash transactions, book-entry transactions, number of customer accounts, number of cards, number of terminals, their networks and virtual POSs for cards and e-money.
For the statistical data and their analysis up to 2007 (inclusive), see issues No.1 and No.4 of the Bank of Latvia "Monetary Review" and as of 2008 - issue No.4 of the Bank of Latvia "Monetary Review", the Bank of Latvia Annual Report and the Bank of Latvia website.
As of the second half of 2009, the analysis of statistical data is available on the Bank of Latvia website (see below).

Latvia's payment statistics
Data from 2014/II

Latvia's payment statistics
Worksheets are updated on a semi-annual basis (I/1998-I/2014) 

LATVIA'S CUSTOMER PAYMENT STATISTICS IN THE FIRST HALF OF 2018

Overall, 235.5 million non-cash payments totalling 104.7 billion euro were executed in the first half of 2018 (i.e. averaging 1.4 million payments a day). In comparison with the second half of 2017, the number of non-cash payments increased by 3.0%.

The most popular non-cash payments were card payments and customer credit transfers, constituting 63.2% and 36.6% of the total number of non-cash payments respectively. To ensure card payments and the use of payment cards, 2.2 million payment cards were issued in Latvia as at the end of first half of 2018 (1.2 cards per capita[1]; most of them were cards with a debit function, i.e. cards that do not use a credit from a bank). 42.1 thousand points of sale (POSs) and 998 ATMs were available to the public. Overall, at the end of the first half of 2018, the number of customer payment accounts totalled 3.7 million or 1.9 payment accounts per capita in Latvia.

In comparison with the second half of 2017, the total volume of non-cash payments made by customers increased by 3.0% (to 235.5 million; see Chart 1) in the first half of 2018, including the volume of card payments and customer credit transfers which grew by 4.7% and 0.9% respectively. The total value of non-cash payments made by customers in the first half of 2018 recorded a fall of 18.2% (to 104.7 billion euro) in the first half of 2018 in comparison with the second half of 2017.

The drop in the total value of payments as well as the slight increase in their total volume was related to the amendments to the Law on the Prevention of Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing which were adopted by the Saeima of the Republic of Latvia on 8 May 2018. Pursuant to the new provisions of the Law, credit institutions reviewed their customer base. This led to a decrease in the number of customer accounts and consequently also to a fall in the volume and value of credit transfers and card payments made in foreign currencies.

Chart 1

The bulk of customer payments, i.e. 95.9% (225.8 million) and 87.4% (91.5 billion euro) in terms of volume and value respectively was handled by credit institutions, e-money institutions and payment institutions. The Treasury processed a considerably smaller share of customer payments in terms of volume and value, i.e. 3.5% (8.3 million) and 12.2% (12.8 billion euro) respectively. The share of payments handled by SJSC Latvijas Pasts in total customer payments amounted to 0.6% (1.4 million) and 0.1% (64.6 million euro) in terms of volume and value respectively, whereas the share of payments handled by Latvijas Banka accounted for 0.01% (0.02 million) and 0.3% (325.2 million euro) of all customer payments in terms of volume and value respectively.

The most frequently used non-cash payment instruments by credit institutions, e-money institutions and payment institutions were card payments and customer credit transfers (65.9% and 33.9% respectively; see Chart 2). It is the services provided by these institutions that the public uses to make daily payments. Other payment instruments were used relatively seldom by the population.

Chart 2

Also, in the country as whole (including the payments serviced by the Treasury, Latvijas Banka and SJSC Latvijas Pasts), card payments were the most frequently employed non-cash payment instrument in the first half of 2018. 148.9 million card payments with the total value of 2.6 billion euro were made in the first half of 2018. In comparison with the second half of 2017, the volume of card payments grew by 4.7% (see Chart 3), whereas their value fell by 1.9%.

Payment cards were used by the public when shopping in person at points of sale as well as when paying by card remotely for online purchases. The volume of online settlements executed with cards issued in Latvia continued on a slightly upward path (4.8% growth during the first half of 2018), whereas their value shrank by 3.5% due to the drop (by 24.5%) in the value of card payments initiated in foreign currencies online. 91.5% of card payments in terms of volume and 83.6% in terms of value were initiated at point-of-sale terminals (POSs) at points of sale.

Chart 3

Customer credit transfers, totalling 101.9 billion euro, amounted to 36.6% (86.2 million) of all non-cash payment instruments used in the first half of 2018. In comparison with the second half of 2017, the volume of customer credit transfers remained almost unchanged (an increase of 0.9%), but their value decreased by 18.5% which was driven by a decline in credit transfers made in foreign currencies.

At the end of the first half of 2018, there were 3.7 million customer payment accounts in Latvia: 3.6 million accounts for payments in euro and 0.1 million accounts for payments in foreign currencies (see Chart 4). The number of customer payment accounts fell by 1.4% compared to the end of 2017. On average, 1.9 payment accounts per capita were opened in Latvia as at the end of the first half of 2018.

Chart 4

In comparison with the end of 2017, the number of issued cards had declined by 3.3% (to 2.2 million; basically as a result of cancelling American Express cards in March 2018) at the end of the first half of 2018, with the average number of cards per capita being 1.2.

A card may have one or several functions and, if a card offers several functions, it is counted under each respective function. 87.8% (2.0 million) of the total number of cards were cards with a debit function, which provided an opportunity to make payments from customer funds, 13.7% (306.5 thousand) were cards with a credit function enabling card holders to effect settlement from the allocated credit, while 0.9% (20.9 thousand; see Chart 5) were cards with a delayed debit function providing an opportunity to use the granted credit line for settlement, repaying the granted loan in full at the end of the set period.

Chart 5

At the end of the first half of 2018, the number of POSs in Latvia stood at 42.1 thousand which was 1.3% more than at the end of 2017 (see Chart 6) or 21.8 thousand POSs per million inhabitants (21.3 thousand per million inhabitants at the end of 2017). In addition to the traditional POSs, there were 6.9 thousand virtual POSs at the end of the first half of 2018, representing an insignificant decrease of 0.4% in comparison with the end of 2017. Virtual POSs enable purchases of goods and services on the internet.

Chart 6

At the end of the first half of 2018, there were 998 ATMs in Latvia (an decrease of 1.8% in comparison with the end of 2017; see Chart 7) or 516 ATMs per million inhabitants (521 ATMs per million inhabitants at the end of 2017).

Chart 7

In close cooperation with traders, credit institutions continued to improve card payment services to facilitate transition to more frequent use of non-cash payments through expansion of the infrastructure available for card payments (by increasing the number of POSs in Latvia).


[1] According to the data of the Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia, in mid-2018 Latvia's population totalled 1 934 379.