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Wed 5 Jan 2011 12:35 PM

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Credit card numbers in UAE rise by 11.5%

Total value of transactions increased 15.6% year-on-year in Q3, says MasterCard

Credit card numbers in UAE rise by 11.5%
MasterCard

MasterCard
reported an 11.5 percent year-on-year growth in the number of credit cards
issued in the UAE in the third quarter of 2010, Arabian Business has learned.

The
total value of transactions in the same period – or gross dollar volume (GDV) –
jumped 15.6 percent, when compared to the same quarter a year earlier, the
company said.

The
figure is slightly below that seen in the wider Asia Pacific/MENA region, which
reported a 17.5 percent growth in GDV in the three months to September 30,
2010.

Credit
card issuance, however, is slightly higher than the regional average of 10.2
percent showing that, while credit cards remain popular with UAE consumers,
they are slightly more conservative in their use.

The
news follows a survey released earlier this week that found nearly half of
10,468 consumers across the Middle East believe their cash situation is set to
improve over the next year.

In
the UAE, 50 percent said their personal finances were looking up, though 20
percent felt the job market would decline over the next 12 months.

Credit
card skips were a significant issue in the UAE at the peak of the economic
downturn, as jobless expats fled the country leaving debts unpaid.

A
report by the research and advisory firm Lafferty Group in August 2010 found
that an average of $1,135 was owed on each of the 6.8 million credit cards in
the Gulf.

The
percentage of defaults, however, has tumbled in the last year, said Eyad Al
Kourdi, vice president and UAE country manager, MasterCard Worldwide.

In
a December interview, he told Arabian Business that that the number of credit
card defaults had “come down tremendously versus what they were in 2008.”

“At
the end of the day, if the banks were suffering major losses we would have seen
a lot of the banks going out of business,” he said.

“You
can see most of the banks in the country, the same 55 or 56 that are registered
in the market, are the same ones that are still operating.”

 

 

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