21.7% of Bahrain’s population uses credit cards: BMA survey
Credit card usage continues to grow in Bahrain, posting a growth of 17.6% 2005, compared with the previous year, a survey conducted by the Bahrain Monetary Agency (BMA) has found.
The survey, conducted by BMA’s Financial Stability Directorate, shows that the number of people owning credit cards in 2005 rose to 157,550 representing 21.7% of Bahrain’s population.
The total number of credit card accounts stood at 129,668 in 2005, an increase of 31.4% over the 2004 figure of 98,705. Of the total number of credit card accounts, 97,126 were held by Bahrainis.
“Consumers in Bahrain are showing an increasing preference for cash-less transactions, with one in five persons owning a credit card,” said Sh. Salman Bin Isa Al-Khalifa, Director of Financial Stability, at the BMA.
The survey shows that the vast majority of credit card users are Bahrainis, who represent about 74.6% of credit card customers.
Total outstanding debt rose 15.9% to BD77.9 million in 2005, from BD67.2 million in 2004.
The value of rollover accounts, where the account-holder partially pays the debt incurred, increased by 13.0% to BD58.3 million at 2005-end, from BD51.6 million in 2004. Such debt represented 74.8% of total outstanding credit card debt, which was about the same as in 2004.
“The increase in credit card usage is to be expected as people’s financial sophistication increase and they make use of non-cash services.” said Sh. Salman.