Credit Card Instalments: The Relationality of Financialization of Everyday Life
Karakaya, Muhammed Fatih
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The Turkish credit card market with a number of 70millioncredit cards is one of thelargestin Europe. As of December 2019, the total number of yearly transactions is over 3.6 billion and the total yearly sales volume is over 150 billion Euros. Paying ininstalmentsis the most popular form of credit card purchase in Turkey, asforty per centof total transactions are for instalment purchases. The history of credit cardinstalmentsmarket can be traced back tothelate 1990s when certain nonprocedural–if not fraudulent–point-of-sale level transactions forced banks to launch an instalment feature for their credit cards. In other words, “the market gave the order to the banks to issue such a credit card to be used in instalment purchases”, as vice president of one of thelargestTurkish commercial banks put it. Instalment sale asa century old buying-on-credit pattern has made a new market device to participate inpolyadicrelation of sale and debt till forming a hybrid buying-on-credit pattern. In turn, this hybrid buying-on-credit pattern has accelerated the financialization of everyday life in Turkey. Thus, the Turkish credit card instalments market case stands as an exception for the narratives those tacitly imply that the financialization of everyday life is a top-down process. Based on interviews with and autobiographies and memoires by various parties of the sector, the paper analyses the making of the credit card instalments market in Turkey to point at the relational aspects of financialization of everyday life.
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