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Cypriots used their cards less in August, compared with the same month last year, with the card clearing house JCC saying that the total value of transactions with cards in the local market decreased by 1% to 179 mln euros.
Apart from a slow recovery in consumer confidence, the suspension of alternative clearing house IMSP also had an impact, as 4% of all merchants on the island used their POS machines and were left in limbo after the Central Bank shut down the local branch operations of parent FBME Bank.
According to JCC, which is now a monopoly again in the absence of a competitive clearing house, there was an increase in payments in August in clothing, shoes and accessories stores, restaurants and hotels, while a decrease affected the government sector, DIY and household stores.
The value of transactions in Cyprus was up by 6% in the period January-August, reaching 1.4 bln euros, compared with the same period in 2013.
Payments made by Cypriots with local cards abroad in August dropped by 2%, to 98.9 mln euros, whereas a decrease of 13% was recorded from January to August, compared with the same period last year, with transactions reaching 755.8 mln. Foreigners payments with cards in Cyprus increased by 17% in August and reached 80.1 mln euros. The increase was the same between January and August, with transactions reaching 417 mln.
News reports also quoted JCC data as showing that Cyprus-issued card holders spent about 410,000 euros in the north in August, mostly in leisure, hotels, restaurants and travel to Turkey, with the total year-to-date reaching 4.3 mln euros.