Albania - eCommerceAlbania - eCommerce
E-commerce is in its infancy with only a limited number of domestic merchants offering this option in Albania. The country remains a predominately cash economy and credit cards in Albania are not widely used outside of major hotels, major grocery stores, restaurants, and department stores. Although the use of debit cards has increased significantly in recent years, many use the cards solely to withdraw their salary. In order to promote the use of credit cards, local banks have just started to introduce periodically special discounts of various consumer goods in partnership with other companies. Cross border internet shopping is in its early stages, due to the low use of credit cards, low purchasing power, and the high cost of shipping. Additionally, many online merchants either do not ship to Albania or charge prohibitively high shipping charges. In 2016, the GOA also reduced the de minimis amount from 150 euro to 22 euro, which reduced significantly the cross border online shopping.
The use of cell phones to pay for goods and services is developing. Vodafone, one of the four mobile companies operating in Albania, recently announced MPesa, which also includes money transfer. MPay is another platform that serves to make payments from mobile phones. The use of mobile phones is currently limited for mobile banking and is used mostly by businesses while the limited pool of individual users use it only to pay utility bills.
Albania eCommerce Industry Trade Development and Promotion eCommerce