In a market still dominated by debit cards, the credit card has become increasingly appreciated by Romanians. One of those who have benefited from this behaviour change is ERB Retail Services, the market leader both in terms of the credit card portfolio, and in terms of in-store financing, according to a survey recently published by Lafferty Group. The large customer base provided ERB Retail Services with the critical mass needed to register, even in a crisis period, an overall increase in credit card use of about 55% in volume in 2012 compared to 2011.
“In recent years we have noticed a significant change in the share of payments in the overall transactions. If in 2009 over 85% of the transactions were cash withdrawals, today payments have equalled withdrawals from ATMs and this trend will certainly accentuate, as consumers understand how to use correctly their credit card and take advantage of its benefits. One reason for this shift is that EuroLine American Express® cardholders choose more and more to benefit from the purchases with different interest-free or light instalments, instead of withdrawing cash which is more expensive. It is an area that we have got involved in from the very beginning and we have invested a lot in: that of educating the card user. The credit card is a powerful instrument that, in addition to giving you easy access to financial resources, also helps you save money” said Aris Papathomas, General Manager of ERB Retail Services.
In 2004, ERB Retail Services launched, through the EuroLine credit card, the first in-store financing solution in Romania. An optimistic investment at a time when the exercise of using a credit card was almost inexistent. Today, EuroLine – which has become EuroLine American Express® – is probably the most sold credit card, with 780,000 Romanians who have used it over time.
“The relationship with the customer, the relationship with the merchant partners and the product are the 3 directions we have been focusing on. EuroLine American Express ® is a complete product by which our customers can access a credit directly in the store and which they can later use as a classic credit card. Furthermore, year after year we have added to this product new ways to use it such as Interest-free instalments or Light Instalments, and we have attached permanent and seasonal loyalty systems to it. We have also developed programs in collaboration with our merchant partners – major international or local retailers – to stimulate card payment in the more than 8,000 stores accepting our product ” said Papathomas.