Банкеръ Weekly



By end-April holders of MAESTRO debit cards, issued by ROSEXIMBANK, will be able to pay by them for their INTERNET access, the company INTERNET Bulgaria announced. Surfing through INTERNET from 15 to 1,500 hours will be billed. The service will be initially available in 11 towns, among them Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Bourgas, Rousse, Yambol, etc. The opportunities for INTERNET access through debit cards were experimentally demonstrated at BAIT INTERNET EXPO last autumn, but the first cards will be issued and launched for sale on the market this April.INTERNET Bulgaria is holding talks with several more financial institutions, DSK Bank and Bulgarian Post Bank among them. Negotiations with DSK Bank have advanced most but have been presently temporarily suspended because the credit institution is in a pre-privatisation procedure, Luchezar Dinev, manager of INTERNET Bulgaria specified for the bANKER weekly. According to him, holders of debit cards in Bulgaria use them mainly to draw money from the bank machines and do not take advantage of the opportunities for payment of a number of other services. More than 1,200,000 debit cards have been issued in the country so far, but less than 7,000 of them are used for payments different from money transactions, Mr. Dinev pointed out.According to experts, Bulgarians are reluctant to use their debit cards and do not tend to accept the possibility for effecting most of their regular payments through them. And the practice in all countries with well-developed bank systems shows that time and nerves are saved in that way. The other reason for the still limited use of debit cards is that a considerable part of Bulgaria's economy is in the shade and payments are by rule effected in cash. INTERNET Bulgaria begins a campaign to encourage the use of debit cards for payment of INTERNET services. Each customer will be granted 30 hours of free access to INTERNET and a number of other discounts for future purchase of INTERNET services.

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