Syrian bank to issue Visa credit cards next spring
Syria’s largest bank, the state-owned Commercial Bank of Syria (CBS), announced it had obtained a permit from the Visa International network to issue credit cards. The bank’s Chief Executive Mahmud Nadim Mithqal said that CBS's first Visa cards would be ready sometime in the first quarter of next year, according to Al-Quds Al-Arabi.
Initially the bank will accept international Visa cards issued abroad in its 55 local branches. Following, CBS will issue its own foreign currency Visa cards bearing its logo. At a later stage the bank plans to issue Visa cards in local currency, reported the Gulf Daily News.
Prior to issuing cards to the bank’s clients, CBS must fulfill requirements dictated by the Visa International network. These include establishing an electronic charging network and training employees to operate the system.
Credit card issuance became possible following the fixing of the official exchange rate to the real market rate, currently around 50 Syrian pounds to the dollar. Until now, Syrians would have had to open bank accounts in neighboring countries, in order to hold credit cards. Syria's six banks are run by the government, as the sector was nationalized in 1963, with the accession to power of the Baath party. — (Mena Report)
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