Visa card transactions in Middle East surge 120 percent
Visa International has launched a new brand strategy for the Central Europe Middle East and Africa (CEMEA) region focusing on the relevance of Visa in everyday life. The new campaign, which will run under the name ‘Visa Takes You Places', aims to leverage recent statistics that point to a shift in consumer behavior from cash payment to card use for everyday goods and services.
In recent years, Visa has witnessed a change in spending habits with a move away from cash towards the payment cards. The introduction of a new brand strategy, which has been specially designed for the CEMEA region, will support this by encouraging further migration from ATM to point of sale (POS), explained Premal Patel, head of Marketing Visa.
Since 1999, Visa has observed a surge in card transactions at shops and other service outlets with an average increase in number of transactions of 120 percent across the eight countries within the Middle East. Figures also reveal that the highest growth market is Lebanon with an increase in number of sales transactions of 261 percent followed by Oman with 194 percent and United Arab Emirates (UAE) with a rise in merchant transactions of 118 percent over the past three years.
The Middle East is one of the fastest growing regions for Visa in the world. By the end of March 2002, more than six million Visa cards had been issued by member banks across the region—an increase of 32 percent on the previous year. Transactions rose to 110 million and cardholder expenditure reached $33 billion, up 23 percent on March 2001.
“Another market sector which has noticeably changed in recent years is the reduction in value of average transactions, proving that cards are no longer only used for high cost purchases and the trend for using plastic for every kind of spending—increasingly on everyday items such as food, clothes and petrol—is set to accelerate,” said Patel.
Figures for March 2002 show a seven percent reduction in the average transaction costs across the region, compared to the same period last year. The UAE posted an average of $86 per transaction, compared with $93 the previous year. Jordan saw the largest reduction in average transaction value of nearly 20 percent in the past year from $146 to $120 while other markets have seen further reductions—Saudi Arabia from $175 to $168, Qatar from $152 to $137 and Kuwait from $217 to $206.
Visa is an international payment brand and the largest payment system worldwide. Visa-branded cards generate more than two trillion dollars in annual volume and are accepted at over 27 million locations around the world through its 21.000 member financial institutions and their cardholders. — (menareport.com)
© 2002 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)