The Bank of Latvia compiles Credit Institution Payment Statistics twice a year as of 1998. The above statistics and payment statistics of the Bank of Latvia, Latvijas Pasts and The State Treasury enable to assess the overall payment statistics in Latvia.
The payment statistics in Latvia includes data on the volume of payment instruments, value of payment instruments, volume of transactions per type of terminal, value of transactions per type of terminal, OTC cash transactions, book-entry transactions, number of customer accounts, number of cards, number of terminals, their networks and virtual POSs for cards and e-money.
For the statistical data and their analysis up to 2007 (inclusive), see issues No.1 and No.4 of the Bank of Latvia "Monetary Review" and as of 2008 - issue No.4 of the Bank of Latvia "Monetary Review", the Bank of Latvia Annual Report and the Bank of Latvia website.
As of the second half of 2009, the analysis of statistical data is available on the Bank of Latvia website (see below).
Latvia's payment statistics
Data from 2014/II
Latvia's payment statistics
Worksheets are updated on a semi-annual basis (I/1998-I/2014)
LATVIA'S CUSTOMER PAYMENT STATISTICS FOR 2018
Overall, 487.3 million non-cash payments totalling 203.0 billion euro were executed in Latvia in 2018 (i.e. averaging more than 1.3 million payments worth 556.2 million euro a day).
The year 2018 saw significant restructuring of the financial sector, with a strong focus on anti-money laundering issues; as a result, the total value of non-cash payments contracted by 18.2% in comparison with 2017, to 203.0 billion euro. At the same time, the volume of non-cash payments continued to grow steadily, increasing by 10.4%. The most popular non-cash payments in 2018 were card payments and customer credit transfers, constituting 63.8% and 36.0% of the total volume of non-cash payments respectively. To ensure card payments and the use of payment cards, 2.2 million payment cards were issued in Latvia as at the end of 2018. 42.7 thousand points of sale (POSs) and 993 ATMs were available to the public. At the end of 2018, the number of customer payment accounts totalled 3.6 million.
Latvijas Banka has compiled the data on the most-widely used payment instruments by the customers of payment service providers  in 2018, i.e. payments, payment cards and POSs.
The total volume of non-cash payments made by customers continued to grow in 2018, increasing by 10.4% as compared to 2017 and reaching 487.3 million. At the same time, the total value shrank by 18.2%, to 203.0 billion euro, primarily on account of a decrease in cross-border foreign currency payments of customers to third countries.
The overall decline in foreign currency payments by 66% (see Chart 1) was mainly caused by the shrinking of credit transfers in foreign currencies (by 72.6% domestically and by 63.1% abroad). These changes experienced in 2018 were related to significant transformation of the financial sector, risk mitigation measures implemented by credit institutions, customer base restructuring policies and a shift in business objectives. This transformation resulted in a decline in the volume and value of foreign currency payments as well as a decrease in the number of payment cards because part of the credit institutions reviewed their customer base and closed certain accounts. In 2018, the volume and value of customer payments in euro grew by 11.3% and 2.9% respectively. This positive trend was characteristic of both credit transfers and card payments made by customers.
Data were provided by 14 credit institutions registered in Latvia, six Latvia-registered branches of credit institutions registered in other countries, three licensed electronic money institutions, three licensed payment institutions and one branch of a payment institution licensed in another country, Latvijas Banka and the Treasury as well as VAS Latvijas Pasts.
The bulk of customer payments, i.e. 96.0% (467.7 million) and 86.3% (175.2 billion euro) in terms of volume and value respectively was handled by credit institutions, e-money institutions and payment institutions, whereas the remaining payments were processed by the Treasury, VAS Latvijas Pasts and Latvijas Banka.
The most frequently used non-cash payment instruments in terms of the volume in 2018 were card payments and customer credit transfers, accounting for 63.8% and 36.0% of the transactions respectively (see Chart 2). Other payment instruments, including e-money, were used relatively seldom.
311.0 million card payments totalling 5.4 billion euro were made in 2018, averaging 852.1 thousand payments worth 14.7 million euro a day. In comparison with 2017, the volume of card payments rose by 14.4% and their value increased by 6.7%. The volume and value of card payments in euro grew by 14.9% and 11.6% respectively (see Chart 3), whereas the volume of card payments in foreign currencies increased only marginally, by 0.6%, and their value contracted by 28.6%.
Of all card payments made by customers, only 3.5% in terms of the volume of payments and 8.1% in terms of the value were made in foreign currencies and mostly to other foreign countries (see Chart 4).
Payment cards were used by the public when shopping in person at points of sale (91.3% of the card payments in terms of the volume and 84.0% in terms of the value) as well as when paying by card remotely for online purchases. Although the proportion of online payments by payment cards issued in Latvia was small, it continued to expand, growing by 25.6% in annual terms.
Customer credit transfers amounted to 36.0% of all payments by non-cash payment instruments in 2018 (175.4 million payments) and totalled 197.4 billion euro, averaging 480.6 thousand payments worth 540.8 million euro a day. In comparison with 2017, the volume of customer credit transfers grew by 4.8%, while the value decreased by 18.6% (see Chart 5), primarily on account of a decline in customer credit transfers to third countries by 42.0% (see also Cross-border payments sent and received by customers section). It has to be noted that the volume and value of credit transfers in foreign currencies declined by 47.2% and 66.4% respectively, whereas the volume and value of credit transfers in euro continued on an upward trend in 2018, rising by 5.5% and 2.7% respectively.
No significant fall in the overall value of credit transfers can be expected in the future: the value of credit transfers in foreign currencies has already decreased to the minimum, while that in euro continues on a moderate upward trend.
Of the total volume of customer credit transfers, only 0.7% in terms of the volume and 12.8% in terms of the value were made in foreign currencies in 2018 and mostly to other foreign countries (see Chart 6).
At the end of 2018, there were 3.6 million customer payment accounts open in Latvia: 3.5 million accounts for payments in euro and 0.1 million accounts for payments in foreign currencies (see Chart 7).
In comparison with the end of 2017, the number of customer payment accounts had decreased by 4.0% as a result of changes in the customer base as well as some institutions closing the inactive accounts. On average, there were 1.9 payment accounts per capita open as at the end of 2018 in Latvia.
Changes in the credit institutions' customer policies caused also a minor decrease in the number of payment cards: at the end of 2018, the number of payment cards had declined by 2.7% in comparison with the end of 2017, to 2.2 million. On average, there were 1.2 payment cards per capita as at the end of 2018.
A payment card may have one or several functions and, if a card offers several functions, it has to be reported under each respective function. 88.0% of the total number of payment cards (2.0 million) were cards with a debit function where payments are made using customer money, while 13.4% (301.8 thousand) were cards with a credit function enabling payments using the credit granted by credit institutions.
At the end of 2018, there were 42.7 thousand POSs in Latvia, representing an increase of 2.7% over the end of 2017 (see Chart 8), or 22.1 thousand POSs per million inhabitants (21.3 thousand POSs per million inhabitants at the end of 2017). Credit institutions continued to improve card payment services in close cooperation with merchants to support more frequent use of non-cash payments through the expansion of the infrastructure available for card payments (by increasing the number of POSs in Latvia).
The number of virtual POSs enabling online purchases of goods and services decreased by 11.9% (to 6.1 thousand) in the course of 2018. This was related to changes in the customer policies of credit institutions, with credit institutions discontinuing their business with risky foreign customers as well as terminating their inactive e-commerce contracts.
At the end of 2018, the number of ATMs had decreased by 30 ATMs or 2.3% in comparison with the end of 2017 (to 993 ATMs; see Chart 9), primarily on account of decommissioning outdated ATMs. Thus, there were 513 ATMs per million inhabitants in Latvia (521 ATMs per million inhabitants at the end of 2017). Nevertheless, this optimisation had no significant effect on cash deposits and withdrawals from ATMs. The volume and value of cash deposits at local ATMs using payment cards issued in Latvia increased by 0.6% and 2.6% respectively. At the same time, the volume of cash withdrawals slightly contracted (by 2.8%), while their value increased by 6.3%.
Cross-border payments sent and received by customers
The above-mentioned transformation of the financial sector mostly affected the outflows of cross-border payments by customers: in the second half of 2018, the total value of foreign currency payments contracted by 47.2% as compared to the first half of 2018, whereas the total value of cross-border payments in euro shrank by 15.0% (see Chart 10).
All cross-border payments made by customers in the second half of 2018 totalled 27.7 million euro, representing a 25.6% decrease over the first half of the year.
The total value of cross-border payment inflows received by customers amounted to 32.8 million euro in the second half of 2018, representing a 23.3% decline over the first half of the year, mainly on account of the shrinking of the foreign currency payments by 53.8%. The value of cross-border payment inflows in euro was slightly smaller, shrinking by 3.0%.
The developments in the cross-border payments made and received by customers in the context of the gross domestic product growth and compared to other countries will be analysed in August, after the European Central Bank has compiled central bank payment statistics for 2018.
 Data were provided by 14 credit institutions registered in Latvia, six Latvia-registered branches of credit institutions registered in other countries, three licensed electronic money institutions, three licensed payment institutions and one branch of a payment institution licensed in another country, Latvijas Banka and the Treasury as well as VAS Latvijas Pasts.