News Column

Electronic payments trend gaining ground in KSA

July 7, 2014

By Khalil Hanware, Arab News, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

July 07--JEDDAH -- The Saudi and Middle East market for payment cards, including credit and debit cards, is witnessing significant growth, according to Ahmed Gaber, country manager-Saudi Arabia, Visa.

Visa's total transactions across all payment cards in Saudi Arabia in 2013 amounted to SR518,616,131.

"The Kingdom registered a record overall growth of 43 percent in e-commerce in Q1 2014 compared to the same period last year, making it the highest growth rate in the MENA region," he told Arab News in an exclusive interview.

It is against this background that Visa launched a month-long risk awareness campaign for consumers in Saudi Arabia titled 'Be Card Wise and Be Card Safe'.

The campaign is designed to highlight Visa's security and fraud prevention initiatives and educate consumers on how they can protect themselves when using electronic payment cards at all points of sale, including both online and offline transactions, he added.

These are highlights of the interview:

What is Visa's month-long risk awareness campaign for consumers in Saudi Arabia?

Visa launched a month-long risk awareness campaign for consumers in Saudi Arabia titled 'Be Card Wise and Be Card Safe'. The campaign is designed to highlight Visa's security and fraud prevention initiatives and educate consumers on how they can protect themselves when using electronic payment cards at all points of sale, including both online and offline transactions. It also highlights Visa's security standards and processes, including tips on protecting oneself from online security fraud and safely transacting when abroad.

How does Visa support electronic payments trend in the Kingdom?

Visa is supporting the electronic payments trend by aggressively leading educational and brand building programs, including efforts to open Debit BINs (Bank Identification Number) for online transactions. Earlier this year, Visa announced the launch of a month-long risk awareness campaign for consumers in the Kingdom. The campaign is designed to highlight Visa's security and fraud prevention initiatives and educate consumers on how they can protect themselves when using electronic payment cards at all points of sale, including both online and offline transactions.

Visa is committed to empowering customers with the right tools. Which are they?

Given the growing reliance of electronic payments in the Kingdom, Visa is committed to empowering customers with knowledge about our products so that they can use their Visa cards with confidence, anytime, anywhere.

Visa has been developing financial literacy programs that teach individuals how to spend, save and budget responsibly. The first program was launched in 1995 then spread globally in 1996. In 2009, Visa pledged to reach 20 million people through financial literacy education by 2013. Today, Visa's global financial literacy initiative is localized across more than 30 countries. Visa's Practical Money Skills for Life program is an award-winning website that is aimed at helping consumers manage their money through all stages of life. In the Middle East, the financial literacy website, MyMoneySkills (ehsib.com/), available in Arabic and English, covers financial basics such as budgeting, saving, bank account management, using cards wisely, online shopping and precautions against fraud. It helps students -- from preschoolers and elementary school students, to teens and college students -- learn the essentials of personal finance. The site also includes teacher-training material.

What is the extent of growth in Visa's card transaction volume in the Kingdom?

The total number of Visa cards in circulation across Saudi Arabia as of the end of 2013, including debit, credit, commercial and prepaid cards was 11,367,834. Visa registered a 13 percent growth since the previous year, with 10,037,658 cards being circulated in 2012. Visa's total transactions across all payment cards in Saudi Arabia in 2013 amounted to SR 518,616,131. The Kingdom has registered a record overall growth of 43 percent in e-Commerce in Q1 2014 compared to the same period last year, making it the highest growth rate in the MENA region.

What is the total number of Visa cards in circulation in Saudi Arabia?

The market for payment cards, including credit and debit cards in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia in particular, is witnessing growth in recent time. The total number of Visa cards in circulation in Saudi Arabia as of the end of 2013 including debit, credit, commercial and prepaid cards was 11,367,834.

An increasing number of banks in the Kingdom have been introducing payment cards targeting specific segments of the market, including women, Shariah-compliant cards and those aimed at frequent travelers. How is Visa coping with such trends?

Visa has a range of products that are flexible and diversified by nature. As a result, our payment platform can run all of these programs without any intervention on our part. In fact, Visa is well-equipped to manage more complicated products such as SME and multicurrency cards as well.

What are key features of the Visa Everywhere Travel Report for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil?

Visa released the Visa Everywhere Travel Report for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil earlier in June, which analyzes travel data and cross border spend on all Visa products, including credit, debit and prepaid payment cards.

During the four-day opening period of the tournament (June 12-15), Visa found that GCC visitors spent more than $ 500,000 on their Visa accounts -- with Saudi Arabia and the UAE making up 70 percent of the total. This represents a five-fold increase over the same four-day period in 2013, and 47 percent more when compared to the opening four-day period of the Confederations Cup (June 15-18, 2013).

The global attraction of the FIFA World Cup, and growing confidence and understanding of the convenience of electronic payment platforms has combined to see the enormous increase in card usage from the GCC region. The GCC spending was part of a total spending of $27 million from global visitors to Brazil during the 4-day opening period of the tournament.

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(c)2014 the Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)

Visit the Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia) at www.arabnews.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


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Source: Arab News (Saudi Arabia)


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