Payment cards

Payment cards are a popular payment instrument in Slovakia. Besides being used to withdraw cash from the country's extensive ATM network, they have become the most widely used instrument for making cashless payments to both brick-and-mortar and online merchants.

The digitalisation of the economy, use of smartphones, availability of internet access, and expansion of e-commerce are having an impact on developments in payment instruments. The continuing growth in card transactions in Slovakia is caused mainly by the incorporation of contactless near field communication (NFC) technology into chip cards issued by domestic banks, as well as by the still increasing network of merchants that accept contactless chip cards, whose security and ease of use are now standard. The Slovak financial market has been among Europe's pioneers in terms of implementing new payment card technology, such as mobile payment tokenisation. In Slovakia, most payment card issuers now enable their MasterCard and VISA cardholders to make mobile payments via Google Pay, Apple Pay, Garmin Pay, and Fitbit Pay.

Payment card issuance

The number of active MasterCard and Visa payment cards (either debit, credit, or prepaid cards) issued by payment service providers and banks in Slovakia stood at more than 5.5 million as at 31 December 2020.

Payment card acceptance

Cardholders can use their payment cards to withdraw money from ATMs and to make payments to brick-and-mortar and online merchants.

A SEPA for cards

The European Payments Council (EPC) is actively engaged in efforts to establish a Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) for cards. Its main task is in the area of standardisation, with the objective of ensuring interoperability between payment cards in Europe and their secure use. The European Cards Stakeholders Group (ECSG) is the industry association in charge of cards standardisation in SEPA, and the EPC is an active member of this association. The ECSG produces technical standards aimed at eliminating obstacles to the simple, uniform and secure use of payments cards through the SEPA region.

Useful links:

European Payments Council (EPC)