NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The number of debit card transactions rose by 7.3 per cent to 15 million in 2019, the Central Bank has reported.
The regulator also revealed that nearly 80,000 accounts utilized internet banking services in its 2019 annual report. According to the report, the related value of these transactions increased by 13.7 per cent to $1.9 billion. It also noted that the number of credit cards issued or renewed by banks decreased by 9.2 per cent to 259,988, after a 10.2 per cent expansion the previous year. “However, the value of unpaid balances grew by 9.6 per cent to $273.0 million,” the report read. “The increase was largely related to cards with limits over $10,000, which more than doubled to 30,311, with growth in the corresponding value of credit outstanding of 18.4 per cent to $95.3 million. In addition, the number of cards within a balance cap of $5,000-$10,000 doubled to 43,855, while the associated value of unpaid balances firmed by 4.3 per cent to $69.3 million. “However, the number of cards possessing a limit of under $5,000 narrowed by 26 per cent to 185,822; while the corresponding value rose by 6.2 percent to $108.4 million,” the Central Bank reported. The Central Bank also noted that in 2019, there were 78,988 accounts utilizing internet banking services. “The number of total users, inclusive of residential, business, public sector and other users, stood at 78,988 accounts. This was not directly comparable to 2018 as banks purged several thousand inactive accounts,” said the regulator. Pointing to the Deposit Insurance Corporation (DIC), the Central Bank noted that premiums levied and collected in 2019 amounted to $3.1 million, in comparison to $3.2 million in 2018. This was based on the average total insurable Bahamian dollar deposits in domestic banks of $6.2 billion in 2019, relative to $6.3 billion in the previous year. “At end-2019, the accumulated assets of the DIC’s Fund increased by approximately 9 per cent ($5.1 million) to $61.5 million, with 96.1 percent ($59.1 million) invested in Bahamas Government securities,” the regulator said. “Approximately 81.7 percent of Bahamian dollar denominated accounts held balances of less than $5,000, with 11.2 percent of deposit accounts ranging between $5,000 and $25,000, and 2.7 percent of deposit accounts ranging between $25,000 and $50,000.” It added: “While the residual 4.4 percent of accounts held balances over $50,000, this category comprised 83.5 percent of Bahamian dollar deposits by total value.”