Saudi Arabia has reported an
annual transaction of SR47.2 billion worth of cash and purchases via
Visa card, the world’s leading payment card. The figure covers
transactions during the year ending March 2001.
This was disclosed
here yesterday by Rob Clark, Visa International’s vice president for
Clark said that the
total number of Visa cards distributed in Saudi Arabia exceeded 1.9
million this year, compared to one million in 1999, demonstrating the
sophistication of the electronic payment industry and the increasing
consumer preference for convenience and safety over cash.
He said that the
Kingdom has traditionally been Visa’s biggest market among the Gulf
states especially in terms of cardholder expenditure and number of
cards issued. An independent survey conducted recently indicated that
65 percent of Saudi Visa cardholders use their visa card for
personal/family shopping, and 60 percent for personal travel and
Asked about the
growth in terms of issuance of Visa cards, Clark said that the number
of the cards in Saudi Arabia rose by 30 percent during the current
year compared to a year before. The expenditure through Visa cards, he
said, grew by 37 percent in the Kingdom alone, where Visa card is the
most preferred card according to a global monitoring agency.
He said that the
automation drive and growth of local electronic industry especially
introduced by the banking sector in Saudi Arabia has led to the
introduction of new products and services in different areas.
said that the Middle East region as a whole has great potential for
Visa. Banks in the Middle East, Central and Eastern Europe and Africa
run the fastest-growing Visa businesses in the world. Over the last
five years, they have consistently shown the highest percentage
increase in card numbers, transaction numbers and sales volume.