Credit card usage statistics for 2003 show that Middle East consumers are actively favoring cards over cash. Official figures issued by Visa International report a 41 percent increase in card sales expenditure for the 12-month period ending December 31, compared to that of 2002.
Annual cardholder sales volumes for credit and debit cards nearly touched the eight billion dollar mark representing a new record for the region and a clear move away from cash, a press release revealed. Figures also showed a 36 percent increase in Middle East Visa card usage at points of sale, markedly demonstrating the shift from use of cash to card payments, for everyday items.
While the use of cash still dominates spending patterns, the proportion of card transactions at point of sale versus cash withdrawals in the region, increased significantly, indicating that consumers are increasingly aware of point of sale electronic payment facilities.
“A few years ago card use was largely confined to international travel and cash withdrawals," said United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based member of Visa International’s Board of Directors for the CEMEA region, Khamis Buharoon Al-Shamsi. "Over time we have seen there has been a steady growth in Visa retail purchases as people now rely on their cards for every kind of spending,” he said.
For the twelve-month period of 2003, volume of expenditure made by Middle East Visa cardholders was to the tune of $50 billion, reporting a 25 percent jump from the same period in 2002.
Visa is an international payment brand, generating nearly three trillion dollars in annual card sales. With its 21,000 member financial institutions and their cardholders, Visa is also operating Internet based payments. — (menareport.com)
© 2004 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )