Remote payments / E-banking and bank cards help reduce the risk
Covid 19 virus restrictions are also affecting the necessary payment processes in the Albanian economy. For several days, commercial banks have been stressing the need to make the most of remote payments through cards, as much as possible, to avoid frequent contact with cash, which can be a potential holder of pathogenic agents.
Currently, most banks in the country offer online banking services, which enables the payment of all necessary payments for utilities remotely.
According to data from the Bank of Albania, the number of internet-connected bank accounts at the end of last year amounted to approximately 442 thousand. Internet banking has increased for the eleventh consecutive year, while in the last five years alone, the number of accounts accessible by the internet has more than doubled. Internet banking is already provided by 11 of the 12 commercial banks in Albania. Many of them offer free internet banking services to encourage customers to make more use of them.
Another payment instrument that can help make payments remotely or at least without using cash is bank cards. According to Bank of Albania statistics, the number of active payment cards issued by commercial banks in Albania is about 1.14 million. The vast majority of individuals in employment have a card linked to their payroll account. This situation may be an additional incentive for the card to be used for direct payments, without the need to withdraw cash from ATMs. For low-value payments, cards today also offer the option of non-contact payments with physical payment terminals, located in outlets. The number of POS terminals that enable card payments has already reached 11 200.