Middle East smart card distribution to be up 30 percent by 2Q 2003
As the appetite for new technologies continues to grow worldwide, chip technology is in the limelight of the payment industry more than ever before. Based on recent figures, there were over 90,000 chip cards across the Middle East region and Visa predicts that this figure will see a further 30 percent rise by the end of June to total 120,000 smart cards in circulation.
Visa International member banks in the Middle East have shown great interest in migrating to chip. The first chip cards in the Middle East were launched in 2000 by a consortium of seven banks in Lebanon. Since then, ABN AMRO, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Emirates Bank, National Bank of Kuwait, Commercial Bank of Qatar and Oman International Bank have all introduced smart cards.
Running parallel with the growth in smart card issuance, Visa acquiring banks are investing in chip compatible technology for point of sale terminals worldwide. From an existing 700,000 chip enabled terminals as of December 2002, Visa expects a 215 per cent rise by end of 2003 to reach nearly 2.5 million retail locations worldwide that are capable of processing chip cards.
In the Middle East alone, chip enabled terminals are predicted to double from 10,000 at the end of 2002 to reach almost 20,000 by the end of the coming year. Countries that have been fast to upgrade their terminals include Jordan, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Visa-branded cards generate more than $2.3 trillion in annual volume with a global acceptance of 810,000 ATMs. The Visa organization develops innovative payment products and technologies for its 21,000 member financial institutions and their cardholders. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)