The number of cards issued by Russian banks in the fourth quarter for the first time exceeded 300 million units, follows from the materials of the Central Bank. Such dynamics speak of the saturation of the market even now every able-bodied Russian has almost four cards, Viktor Rostov, head of the Association of Electronic Money and Money Transfer Market Participants, told RIA Novosti.

Russian banks in October-December increased the number of issued “plastic” by 2.7% – up to 301.1 million cards. Russians’ wallets were replenished with a record 8 million cards for the fourth quarter, although such an increase was slightly behind the issue in the third quarter of last year – then banks issued 8.4 million “plastic”. At the same time, in the fourth quarter, the number of bank cards in use continued to grow: it increased by 4% – to a historical maximum of 209.5 million units. Over the entire last year, the number of issued “plastic” increased by 19.2 million cards or 6.8%, and the number of cards used – by 12.5 million, or 6.4%.

Rostov partly attributes the high rates of emission to the fact that Russians have begun to return to normal life, including issuing cards for receiving pensions and scholarships. The second reason may be that in 2020 the normal card expiration cycle was disrupted: some banks continued to service formally expired cards – normally they would not be included in the statistics.

At the same time, the correction is unlikely to be in the credit card segment, says Egor Dakhtler, an analyst at BCS World of Investments. “The main reason is that in the Russian banking system the penetration of loans, including to the population, is relatively low. It is considered as the ratio of loans to GDP, and in Russia, the level of penetration of loans to the population is only 17-18%. in developed countries this level can reach 50-70%, “he added.