Summit to focus on growing prepaid sector
Dubai, December 22, 2010
Prepaid is the fastest growing payment mechanism worldwide, with transactions in the UAE alone expected to exceed $18 billion over the next five years, a report said.
James Ratcliff, editor of Cards International and spokesperson for Prepaid Summit: Middle East 2011, organised by VRL Financial News in Dubai, said that a similar prepaid growth rate is also predicted in Saudi Arabia.
The summit, to be held on March 22 and 23, 2011, at Westin Hotel, Dubai, will bring together Middle East and international experts and successful case studies in prepaid.
“The region’s prepaid opportunities will be fuelled by various factors including the high standard of living, the skilled expatriate population and the vast number of unbanked migrant workers,” he said.
The latest figures place the UAE’s per capita income at $43,000 per person (2008), with the expatriates making up 85 per cent of the skilled workforce in the Emirates and 40 per cent in Saudi. Meanwhile, migrant workers comprise 39 per cent of the UAE’s labour force, and 29 per cent in Saudi Arabia. Ratcliff said that these factors are behind the region’s prepaid spending growth.
According to a recent report from the key sponsor of the summit, Visa, growth in prepaid and debit transactions continues, accounting for more than half of Visa’s business.
“Over the next five years, transactions by prepaid mechanisms will account for almost 60 per cent of purchases globally,” said Ratcliff.
“With credit card expenditure down between seven and 10 per cent this year banks need to look for new products for existing customers, as well as for new customers.
“Prepaid can deliver both. It can allow a range of applications both for businesses and consumers - either as part of a broad card strategy, or as a stand-alone product. Either way prepaid cards provide banks with the unparalleled opportunity to create new revenue and profit streams.”
The 2011 Summit will focus on emerging opportunities in the region such as prepaid cards by Sharia’a. – TradeArabia News Service