In partnership with Bank of Baghdad and Al Amwal, Visa further enhances acceptance and issuance in Iraq
Visa Inc, the world’s leading retail electronic payments network, today announced that Bank of Baghdad, Al Amwal an electronic banking services company, and a consortium of 13 Iraqi banks, have joined the Visa payment network in Iraq. As new Visa members, Bank of Baghdad and Al Amwal will help expand the acceptance network for Visa cards at ATM and point of sale locations within Iraq, and help issue additional Visa payment cards to local customers.
The wider acceptance network will allow Iraqis and individuals visiting Iraq to use their Visa cards to pay for goods and services at merchant locations throughout the country such as airport duty free shops, select hotels, travel agencies and a number of restaurants and other stores. In addition, Iraqi customers will have access to a greater choice of payment cards through Bank of Baghdad.
Commenting on the expansion, Tony Gougassian, Visa Inc.’s Area Manager for Iraq, Levant and Qatar, said: ‘Our expansion in Iraq is an excellent example of Visa's approach to growing electronic payments and extending the value of Visa to new stakeholders and new marketplaces. We are committed to bringing the benefits of electronic payments to new marketplaces through our partner banks and in turn helping banks to become leaders in their region.’
Mr. Gougassian added: ‘We are delighted to extend our global payment services in Iraq and help bring the social and economic benefits which come with electronic payment acceptance. These include stimulating economic growth, promoting transparency and accountability, while also increasing the number of people with access to the formal banking system. Our partnership with Al Amwal and Bank of Baghdad means that Iraqi consumers will be able to take advantage of the increased security, flexibility and convenience that a Visa card offers. Visa debit and credit cards will provide Iraqis and those visiting the country, with a safe and convenient way to shop and access funds, both at home and abroad.
Mr. Atheer Al Qadhi, Executive Director of AMWAL said: ‘This transformation of the Iraqi payments marketplace from cash to electronic payments is our main goal. It is a privilege to be associated with Visa Inc, a leader in advancing global commerce and to be able to provide our customers access to the Visa global payments network.’
Mr. Al Qadhi added; ‘Al Amwal services cover all governorates of Iraq. Today we have 200 of our point of sale devices in Iraq and we are looking to double this by the end of this year. We believe that building our strategic collaboration with Visa will allow us to continue to advance the payments marketplace in Iraq.’
Dr Younes Brouche, Executive Vice Chairman of Bank of Baghdad, said: ‘Bank of Baghdad‘s vision is to be the leading financial services provider in Iraq. We work every day to make our customers’ banking experience simpler and more convenient. For this reason we are continually updating and enhancing our products and services to better meet our customers’ needs. We are delighted to partner with Visa Inc, who have been at the forefront of the payment business globally. This partnership is a vital one for our bank and will enable us to build a robust and accessible banking network for our customers in Iraq and abroad. Bank of Baghdad has grown steadily from a solid foundation and we now offer an unrivalled range of banking services for corporate, business and private customers.’
Bank of Baghdad currently has 25 branches in Iraq and expects this number to reach 35 by the end of 2009. The bank now has ten ATMs across the country and is planning another twelve. [Do we need this last paragraph? I’d rather not include specific forward-looking statements if we can avoid it]
© 2009 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)