JCB Announces Expansion in the Middle East; CrediMax to Launch JCB Card in Bahrain
Tokyo and Manama, Bahrain, May. 03, 2005 - (JCN Newswire) - JCB, a leading international payment brand, is pleased to announce today that its international subsidiary, JCB International Co., Ltd., has signed a card issuing license agreement with CrediMax BSC, the leading credit card company in Bahrain. JCB has had an acceptance presence in Bahrain since 1997, but this deal will mark the first time that a JCB card will be issued in Bahrain, in local Bahraini currency (BHD). This brings the number of countries in which JCB cards are issued to 19.
There are currently about 150,000 credit cards for a total population of 700,000 in Bahrain, a market with ample room for growth. Being the financial center of the Middle East, the country is a popular tourist destination and promises rapid development in the credit card market. Targeting a higher income market, the CrediMax JCB Card will be advertised aggressively in public places such as airports, on the road and at major upscale shopping malls.
"Our strategic alliance with CrediMax is a significant addition to the network of card issuing partnerships JCB has been building throughout the world", said Mr. Kunio Yoshizawa, President of JCB International. "Through this card-issuing agreement, we are combining CrediMax's in-depth local knowledge with our considerable experience as a global payment brand, as well as Japan's top issuer and acquirer, to reach a far greater number of Bahraini customers seeking innovative products that deliver premium service."
JCB has had a presence in Bahrain since 1997 through a merchant acquiring license with the Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait (BBK). CrediMax, which was the card center division of BBK until it was established as a separate, wholly-owned subsidiary in 1999, succeeded to all of BBK's credit card business operations together with JCB merchant acquiring services. At present, CrediMax has a network of 3,500 merchants, covering 85% of the country's total credit card merchants. It has a cardmember base of about 50,000 for other brand cards and expects to issue more than 10,000 CrediMax JCB Cards in the first 3 years.
Mr. Mohammed Ebrahim Mohammed, General Manager of CrediMax said, "We are happy to partner with JCB as its philosophy is in line with our service focus, founded on very solid, customer oriented principles. We expect to further solidify our lead in the future using the JCB brand to differentiate this product line-up from the competition. Bahraini banks have been offering and issuing international card brands for the past 20 years. It is the right time to introduce something different and unique like JCB."
CrediMax JCB cardmembers will enjoy cash back of 1% on card use until December 2005, and the benefit of a 2.5% minimum payment of their outstanding balance each month, compared to 5 % for conventional cards. They can also enjoy acceptance at JCB's network of more than 12 million merchants in 190 countries and territories, and access to JCB Plaza customer service centers in 31 popular destinations around the world, with the wide variety of other value-added benefits.
CrediMax is the first credit card issuer in Bahrain. It used to be a division in Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait, as a Card Center. Due to changes in the market, the Bank decided to spin off the division into a separate and independent company. This is fully owned by Bank of Bahrain and Kuwait. CrediMax acts as a card issuing company, which issues major international cards such as Visa and MasterCard. In addition, CrediMax acquires merchants to accept most internationally known brands such as Visa, MasterCard, Electron, Maestro, JCB and Benefit, through point of sale (POS) machines. There is a dedicated 24 hours Customer Services desk for any question, inquiry, or report, in addition to Internet banking, telephone banking, and a full fledged Call Center. The customers are always at the center of the Company's world, and maximum effort has been exerted to go far beyond their expectations. For more information about CrediMax, please visit our homepage at: www.credimax.com.bh.
JCB is an international credit card brand and the largest card issuer and acquirer in Japan. JCB launched its card business in Japan in 1961 and began expanding overseas in 1981. Its merchant network includes 12.2 million merchants and spans 190 countries and territories. JCB cards are now issued in 18 countries and territories, with 53 million cardmembers. As part of its international growth strategy, JCB has formed alliances with more than 300 leading banks and financial institutions globally to increase merchant coverage and cardmember base. JCB's corporate philosophy of "Service from the heart", a commitment to responsive and high-quality service, continues to guide it as it creates the future together with its customers, merchants and partners. For further information, please visit the JCB homepages at www.jcb-global.com/english/ or www.jcbinternational.com/english/.