The Bank of Latvia has announced that the number of non-cash payments executed by Latvian payment service providers, increased by 25% last year.
Up to 30 million non-cash payments were executed for customers by Latvian banks and payment institutions in 2022, totalling €259 billion in value. According to the bank, this shows an increase, in volume and value of payments, of 25% and 18% respectively on 2021, and represents the fastest rise over the last few years.
The Bank of Latvia, which is the country’s central bank, said the surge is linked to growing activity of the population and high inflation in 2022, which also partly affected an increase in volume.
As in previous years, the most popular non-cash payments were card payments and customer credit transfers, constituting 61% and 38% of the total number of non-cash payments respectively.
To ensure card payments, 2.1 million payment cards were issued by Latvian payment service providers as at the end of 2022 and most of these were cards with a debit function.
As the country moves towards a more cashless society other measures have recently been implemented. In 2022, the Riga Municipality largely removed cash payments for its city buses citing increased popularity of digital code tickets, which can be activated via a smartphone app, and a desire for better traffic safety.
Yet, with any drive towards less cash use, ensuring that cash availability remains stable can be paramount in preventing financial exclusion that may occur among certain segments of society. A population survey conducted in August 2022 by SIA Latvijas Fakti, concluded that the financial sector had honoured a commitment, made in a 2021 Memorandum, to refrain from reducing the number of ATMs in the country by more than 5%.
In August 2022, there were 894 ATMs in the country, a minor decrease from 902 ATMs, a year earlier, the report revealed.\\