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Assessing the Payment Landscape in the Middle East and Africa

Africa card payment market: Ample opportunities for players willing to invest

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2014-04-24 11:37:02 - Assessing the Payment Landscape in the Middle East and Africa - a new market research report on

The Middle East and Africa card payment market emains one of the smallest in the world, ahead only of Eastern Europe. The global card market remained dominated in 2012 by the developed regions of North America and Western Europe, which accounted for 56% of the total US$13.8 trillion in global card payment volume. Not surprisingly, the fastest growth is expected in the regions that are largely comprised of emerging markets – Eastern Europe, Latin America, Asia Pacific and the Middle East and Africa. All posted double-digit growth rates in 2012.

Much of the Middle East and Africa remains untouched by traditional financial services, resulting in ample opportunities for both card issuers and operators. The unbanked population is still large in several



of these markets, due to the area´s heritage, cultural barriers towards certain products and a fear of card fraud. Although many consumers may have relationships with banking institutions, many of those relationships remain shallow as consumers are more likely to use a debit card for cash withdrawal rather then direct payments for goods or services.

A large swath of the Middle East and Africa remains untouched by traditional financial services, which could mean ample opportunities for card operators and issuers willing to venture into this new frontier for card payments. The region remains hampered by a large unbanked population, cultural barriers regarding certain payment products and inadequate payment infrastructure.

Key Headlines

The Middle East and Africa remains one of the smallest card markets globally, meaning ample opportunities for card players willing to invest in the region.

The region has a strong and persistent cash culture. Even those who do carry a card tend to use it for cash withdrawals rather than direct payments.

The Middle East and Africa region had the highest proportion of the population under the age of 30 as of 2012. For payment players, the youth are often the subset of the population most open to new methods of payment.

Card payments are projected to be the fastest-growing payment method as financial cards grow into a mainstream option across the region, and consumers become increasingly comfortable with the use of such cards.

Mobile has transformed Africa over the last decade, as mobile telephones reached parts of the region that fixed telephone lines never did. The mobile phone has been a leapfrog technology, becoming a lifeline for rural and low-income consumers with no connection to the financial mainstream.

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