The number of active cards in the Mastercard payment system in Ukraine in the fourth quarter of 2019 grew by 4.3%, to 25.97 million, while its key rival – Visa – had 6.9% less cards, to 10.52 million, according to the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU). According to the report, in October-December 2018, the number of active payment cards in Ukraine increased 0.8%, to 36.95 million, as a result, the share of Mastercard of the Ukrainian market increased from 67.9% to 70.3%, while the share of Visa decreased from 30.8% to 28.5%.
In the fourth quarter of last year, the Prostir national payment system managed to increase the number of active cards by 4.9%, to 459,000 (with a decrease in its cards in circulation by 6.6%, to 586,000). However, its share increased very slightly – from 1.19% to 1.24%, which is lower than the figure as of the middle of 2018 being 1.26%.
The number of cards of all other payment systems at the beginning of 2019 in Ukraine was extremely small – only 4,000 (out of 27,000 cards in circulation). In the last quarter of last year, it halved.
The National Bank also reported that in general, the number of payment cards in circulation in Ukraine in October-December last year decreased by 2%, to 59.39 million. Their growth was recorded only for Mastercard – by 1.7%, to 41.23 million cards, while Visa recorded a drop of 9.7%, to 17.55 million cards.
The NBU said that every ninth active payment card at the beginning of this year was contactless – 4 million cards, which is 44.3% more than at the beginning of 2018.
Ukraine is negotiating visa facilitation or the introduction of a visa-free regime with 22 countries, said Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin.
“As of today, we are conducting negotiations and consultations on further simplifying the visa regime, or on visa free travel with 22 countries. In the near future, in just a few months, negotiations will begin with several more countries,” Klimkin said at a press conference.
The minister noted that today citizens of Ukraine can visit 86 countries of the world without visas, of which 34 need a biometric passport.
Of the remaining 112 states, there is a simplified entry [e-visa or visa upon arrival] in 54 countries, and one need to obtain a visa at diplomatic or consular offices in another 58 countries, the Ukrainian foreign minister noted.
Ukraine from January 1, 2019 will stop issuing visas on arrival for foreign citizens at international airports, said State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Andriy Zayats.
“From January 1, the issuance of visas at international airports will cease and the functionality of the electronic visa will expand,” Zayats told the Kyiv-based ezine LB.ua.
According to him, the Foreign Ministry acknowledged that the issuance of visas at the airport is neither modern nor effective, since some foreigners do not speak English, and some foreigners do not have a banking card, with which they can pay the consular fee.
In 11 months of 2018, about 35,000 visas have been issued at the airports of Ukraine.
Zayats said that the functionality of the electronic visa will now be expanded by increasing the number of states whose citizens will be able to issue it, adding that the list of purposes to be issued an e-visa is expanding.
“Now the purpose is only a tourist or business trip. From January 1, treatment and private trips to visit relatives are added to this. Visas for journalists are added. So, we block almost all non-immigration types of travel with electronic visas,” the diplomat said.
He said that the e-visa fee will be set at $85 from January 1, while the consular fee for entry into Ukraine will be set at $65.