The banking crisis that hit Lebanon has caused a decline in the number of debit cards, automated teller machines (ATMs) and electronic point of sales (EPOS).

Debit cards 

The number of debit cards in circulation has reached a record level of 3,036,756 in 2019 after totaling 184,767 in 1998. It has however decreased to 2,833,007 at the end of 2020 and to 2,754,014 at the end of March 2021, dropping by 9.3% or 282,742.

Table No. 1 below shows the evolution of the number of debit cards. It has dramatically increased during the years 2000-2004 with an annual average of 54%, fallen slightly in 2015-2017 before rising again in 2018.

Table No. 1: Evolution of the number of debit cards (1998-March 2021)

Source: Information International based on BDL’s reports.


After hitting a record level of 2,003 in 2019, the number of ATMs dropped by 8.3% or 168 following the closure of some bank branches and the destruction of some ATMs during the protests to reach 1,835 at the end March 2021.

The EPOS have recorded the highest number in 2019 (37,931) before dropping to 32,548 end of March 2021, i.e. a decline of 14.2% or 5,383. This is due to the bank restrictions on withdrawals, the closure of a number of enterprises and the desire of shop and business owners to get their money in cash.

Table No. 2: Evolution of the number of ATMs and EPOS (1998-March 2021).

Source: Information International based on BDL’s reports.