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Year Two of Full-Scale War: Cashless Payments Grow in Volume

Year Two of Full-Scale War: Cashless Payments Grow in Volume

In 2023, most card-based transactions in Ukraine were cashless despite the full-scale war.

This is according to an analysis of 2023 data, which the NBU conducted as part of its payment infrastructure oversight function, on transactions with payment cards issued by Ukrainian banks and financial institutions.

Share of cashless transactions with cards is up from its pre-war level

The number of transactions using cards issued by Ukrainian banks and financial institutions in 2023 was 7,912.5 million. The total amount of such transactions was UAH 6,140.8 billion.

Of all transactions with these cards, 91.9% by number and 90.4% by amount were made in Ukraine. The share of transactions executed beyond Ukraine with Ukrainian-issued cards was 8.1% by number and 9.6% by amount. In the pre-war year 2021, transactions made abroad accounted for 3.8% by number and 3.7% by amount. The increase in the share of card-based transactions abroad has been driven by a significant number of Ukrainians who left Ukraine as they fled the war (according to UN data, almost 6.5 million of Ukrainian forced migrants are living abroad).

All in all, Ukrainians conducted 7,397.2 million of cashless transactions worth UAH 3,980.0 billion in Ukraine and abroad.

That is, cashless card-based transactions accounted for 65% of the total amount of card-based transactions last year, up from 61% in the pre-war year 2021. By number, cashless transactions made up 93.5% of the total (compared to 90.1% in 2021).

These uptrends demonstrate that Ukraine’s payment infrastructure provides uninterrupted, stable card-based cashless transaction services, making it possible to maintain in Ukrainians a high level of confidence in cashless payments.

A quick look at the type-specific distribution of cashless transactions in Ukraine shows that in 2023, the most transactions with cards were made to: 

  • pay for retail purchases – almost 70% by number (nearly 5.0 billion transactions). They accounted for 40.4% of all cashless transactions by amount.
  • carry out card-to-card transfers – 37.1% by amount (UAH 1,478.6 billion). By number, they represented 10.1% of all cashless transactions.

Online payments for goods and services in 2023 accounted for 18% by number and 16% by amount of all card-based cashless transactions, which totaled UAH 646.5 billion.

The average transaction amount in Ukraine in 2023 was:  

  • to pay at retailers – UAH 325 (up from UAH 238 in the pre-war year 2021)
  • to make card-to-card transfers – UAH 1,972 (UAH 1,512)
  • to buy goods and services online – UAH 490 (UAH 395).

Payment infrastructure is expanding, and card issuance is increasing

In 2023, the number of payment terminals in the retailer and service networks increased by a quarter (25.1%) compared to 2022, to 449,500 [including 445,900 (99.2%) touchless terminals]. This is 5.4% higher than at the end of the pre-war year 2021. This means that by number, Ukraine’s network of terminals has fully recovered from the losses it sustained in the first year of the full-scale invasion.

In 2023, the number of sales and services outlets that take payment cards, including online, also surpassed the pre-war level by almost a quarter (23.7%) and came in at 459,700 (up from 371,600 as of 31 December 2021).

The number of working ATMs increased by almost 2% in 2023, to 15,800. However, this is 14.4% less than in late 2021 due to the temporary occupation of some territories of Ukraine.

The total number of payment cards issued by Ukrainian banks and financial institutions also rose last year. As of 1 January 2024, it stood at 115.1 million. This is a 5% gain on 2022. 

The number of cards used for debit transactions was 52.1 million (45.3% of issued payment cards) in December 2023.

In December 2023, 12.5% more cards were used in debit transactions than in December 2022. 

The previous years’ uptrend in the number of active contactless cards continued during 2023. In December 2023, this number went up by 17.1%, to 30.6 million cards, compared to December 2022. Overall, more than half (58.7%) of active payment cards are contactless.

Tokenized (NFC) payment cards also retain their popularity. In December 2023, for instance, they rose in number to 12.4 million, up 57% from December 2022. This implies that approximately one in four active payment cards is tokenized (up from just one out of six at the end of the pre-war year 2021).

As a result, about 90.0% of the number and amount of cashless transactions in the retail network in 2023 were made using contactless payment technology and NFC technology.

For reference

In April 2023, to meet the requirements of the new Law of Ukraine On Payment Services (effective 12 January 2023), the NBU introduced new statistical reporting on credit and debit transfers. This led to certain changes in the volume and number of transactions with payment cards.

Please be reminded that because of the onset of the full-scale war, submission of statistical reports on payment card transactions in February–April 2022 was suspended, meaning data for this period of 2022 does not exist.


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