I recently read an article from Cards International about the Turkish payments industry which you can find here that outlines the "war on cash" in the country.
With an annual growth rate of over 20% in transaction volumes (both credit and debit) no wonder the Turkish payments industry is renowned for being innovative and as Visa Europe's second-largest market, it comes as no surprise that they have launched a war on cash.
Loyalty programmes have been used as a great incentive for increasing card payments and the county's biggest banks Garanti, Yapi Kredi, Isbank and Akbank, have established their programmes as multi-issuer, multiple retailer loyalty partnerships.
It is an usual system whereby cost are balanced across the system and Pelin Kabalak, in charge of product management at Turkey's interbank cards centre, Bankalararasi Kart Merkezi (BKM) expects this to become normal in other markets due to the cost efficiencies.
BKM is also responsible for the reduced cash payments rate due to a no-cash initiative. In an attempt to increase activity rates on cards, BKM started a marketing campaign called â€˜Bye-bye cash' to highlight how debit can be used for small transactions at service counters.
The campaign is centered on the imagery of a partridge-because the word â€˜partridge' in Ottoman is the same as the Turkish word â€˜cash'. The bird has its own Facebook page with 50,000 â€˜likes' and the unusual theme was chosen to get the message across in a light hearted way.
It has now been more than a year since the initiative was launched and in July this year the initiative received an award for Marketing Initiative of the Year at VRL Cards and Payments Trailblazer Awards 2012. The initiative continues to be a success and the CEO of BKM said that their aim is to be the first country where all payments are executed through cashless payment systems by 2023.