According to recently published data from the Central Bank (CBI), domestic payment card turnover totalled about ISK 102bn in October, some 31% more than in October 2020 and 16% more than in the same month of 2019. In price- and exchange rate-adjusted terms, however, it was up by 24% YoY. By this measure, individuals’ card use has grown month by month since March of this year.
Card use abroad the main driver of turnover
There is still a vast difference between card turnover in Iceland and card turnover abroad, as has been the case for several months. Foreign turnover has taken over from domestic turnover, which held its ground virtually unabated at the height of the pandemic. This October, domestic turnover grew by 14%, while card use abroad exploded, growing 104% in real terms. A surge of this magnitude is unprecedented, but so are the underlying circumstances, with card use abroad lying virtually dormant for much of 2020.