|KARACHI, Jan 16: Pakistan is second only to China, and much ahead of India in the region, in adoption of credit and debt card payments as Rs15 billion transactions were made through Visa international cards in just one quarter of July to September 2006.
“Cardholders used their cards most often to purchase retail goods that constituted almost 39 per cent of their Visa purchases, followed by 26 per cent transport, nine per cent professional and commercial services, eight per cent in restaurants and food outlets, four per cent healthcare and four per cent in accommodation,’’ James Murray, the Executive Vice President (South and Southeast Asia), Visa International, said.
James Murray inaugurated on Tuesday the first Visa office in Pakistan where it operates through 16 local and international banks in more than 25,000 business houses.
Seven banks are already involved in transactions, and they are Bank Alfalah, Dubai Islamic Bank, Habib Bank, Standard Chartered , United, MCB, while nine others are to join the club soon.
“Pakistan’s economy is booming and it is well reflected in about annual 80 per cent growth in Visa card business after 140 per cent growth by China,’’ James Murray said who pointed out that India showed 65 per cent growth. “Continuing from past three years’ trend, Pakistan showed consecutively more than 50 per cent growth in card sales volume,’’ he said.
This, he said, illustrates how Pakistani cardholders are becoming increasingly sophisticated and are more willing to embrace electronic payments in more aspects of their lifestyle.
He said that Visa has had many successful programmes across the world with banks, merchants, cardholders and with local governments.
“We hope to continue this trend in Pakistan as we explore how best Visa’s payment products will best be able to address this issue here which is very close to the hearts and minds of public,’’ he said.
James Murray expects 10 million Visa card holders in next one year — six million debit card holders and four million credit holders. Globally, Visa products generate more than four trillion dollars in sales volumes, and it is being accepted in more than 24 million locations.