Visa International reached the one million Visa card milestone in Jordan, making it the fourth country in the Middle East and first country in the Levant region to reach this landmark.
“In a country of just five million people, Jordan boasts over one million Visa cards—this is an incredible achievement. And with a total of 7.3 million Visa cardholders across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Levant region, Jordan represents nearly 15 percent of this figure, demonstrating the growing importance of this dynamic country,” said Anne-L. Cobb, president of Visa International’s CEMEA region.
From approximately 65,000 cards five years ago, card numbers have increased by nearly 1300 percent—the fastest growth in the Middle East. Issuance of Visa cards over the past year was particularly high, averaging more than 20,000 cards per month. This means that nearly 700 cards were being issued every day.
Expenditure for the five-year period shows an equally impressive growth of over 500 percent to $1.4 billion, with 65 percent of this growth recorded over the last 12 months. This is a clear indication that Jordanians are becoming more accustomed to using cards, according to a company press release.
Proof that Visa cards are gaining in popularity can also be seen in the number of transactions, which at the end of March 2003 stood at 12 million—1,000 percent more transactions than in March 1999.
“A few years ago, there were a mere 70,000 Visa cards in circulation in Jordan. Use of cards was largely confined to international travel and high value purchases by affluent members of society. Since then, retail banking in this country has come a long way. The Jordanian banks’ determination to extend the benefits of modern payments to all sectors of society has resulted in phenomenal growth, culminating in this million card milestone,” explained Anne Cobb.
“This remarkable shift from cash to plastic would not have been possible without significant expansion of Jordan’s acceptance network. Visa has been working very closely with its member banks to establish the infrastructure for accepting card payments and will continue to work with the banks to promote the benefits of Visa cards and services to the banks’ customers.”
In the past five years, the payment infrastructure has radically improved offering Visa cardholders a far greater choice of places to use their cards. The number of Visa acceptance locations in Jordan including ATMs, shops and service outlets has doubled from 6,200 in 1999 to 12,400 at the end of March 2003.
Moreover, Jordan banks have jointly cooperated to implement chip technology resulting in a total of 5,000 chip-enabled terminals in the country—this figure represents 20 percent of all chip terminals in the Middle East, demonstrating that Jordanians are fast embracing modern payments.
Visa is an international payment brand, generating more than $2.3 trillion in annual volume. With its 21,000 member financial institutions and their cardholders, Visa is also operating Internet based payments. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )