Cash payment in the Dominican Republic is being displaced by the use of other means of payment (electronic cards). From credit cards to those subsidized by the Central Government for social assistance programs, in the country there are more than 10 million plastic devices in their different forms. The use of cash fell by 61% after the covid-19 pandemic, according to experts.
The number of cards exceeds the total population of the country, which according to growth projections from the National Statistics Office (ONE) for 2021 there would be more than 10 million 535,000 people. It is estimated that by 2022 there would be almost 11 million inhabitants.
According to data from the Central Bank, at the end of July 2022 on this half-island there were 10,958,414 valid-active cards, 1,094,620 more (not necessarily individual users) than in the same month of 2021 (9,863,794).
The amount is equivalent to almost one for every Dominican. As of July 2022, debit, credit, prepaid and subsidy cards carried out 208.4 million operations, transacting RD$448,999 million.
Broken down by type, debit cards lead the largest number, representing 55.3% (6,063,196 cards) of the total accumulated in the Dominican financial system at the beginning of the second half of 2022, that is, 227,967 new cards compared to the end of 2021.
Credit cards also continue to rise, going from 2,579,701 “plastics” in July last year to 2,850,488 in the same period this year. This accumulated represents 26% of the total number of active bank cards in the Dominican Republic.
Those of this type represent second place with 26% of the total number of plastics registered as active and in force in the country. This service, offered by banks, exceeds the amount of 2019 (2,655,032), pre-pandemic year.
While prepaid cards represent 1.8% of the total registered, trading RD$194.9 million as of July 2022. These three, in turn, represent 83%, with 9,116,667 valid cards in the country’s commercial banks.
In each government period, a series of programs aimed at the most vulnerable population are promoted. The penetration of bank cards to the less favored sectors often comes thanks to government subsidies. These began to be recorded in the Central Bank report as of 2014.
By that date there were some 924,648 subsidized cards. One million of these cards was reached in 2017. At the end of July 2022, the amount amounts to 1 million 841 thousand 747 cards granted by the Government.
During the almost two years of the current administration, 539,000 cards have been issued from the Supérate program, together with the 811,000 issued in the past government administration, they add up to 1 million 350 thousand cards issued today. The goal is to impact 1,650,000 beneficiary families of the RD$1,650 for the purchase of food.
With these programs, in addition to covering certain basic needs of a part of the Dominican population, it motivates these people who receive these cards to go to a financial institution and get banking, since many of these families had not received a bank card. before.
A recent study by the firm Accenture, a multinational strategic consulting and technology services company, ensures that after the covid-19 pandemic, the growth of online payments via card accelerated in five years.
According to his report, “covid-19 took us away from cash.” It highlights that contactless payments grew 150% since March 2019.
This phenomenon, he affirms, “will continue globally: almost 2.7 trillion transactions, worth 48 trillion dollars, went from cash to cards and digital payments in the next decade.”
In the Dominican Republic the trend is not different. According to data from the Central Bank, contactless payments on physical credit, debit and prepaid cards have increased significantly, going from 3,150,143 at the end of 2021 to 4,318,167 at July 2022. The latter is equivalent to 39.4% of the total cards.
The advancement of technology opens many doors in the field of digital payments. Today, thanks to the exit restrictions at the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic, what seemed to be achieved in a few years was possible: increasing digital payments.
Fintech, all those new technologies applied to financial and investment activities, have experienced exponential growth. In total, 38.5% of those under 25 years of age use them, according to a study by the consumer association (Asufin).