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Latest Country Survey - Middle East & Africa

Bahrain cards market at all time high

  • Author: EPI editorial
  • Published: 30 Jan 2017

Card penetration in Bahrain is relatively high by regional standards, and card use is rising as a result of initiatives by the government and local issuers. Sharia-compliant banking and products are also gaining popularity, leading to increased levels of competition. Global Data’s research team takes a closer look. read more

Lebanon- fertile ground for payments growth

  • Author: EPI editorial
  • Published: 4 Jan 2017

Cash is the dominant instrument in Lebanon, with card penetration lower than in many of the country’s regional peers. Banking penetration is relatively low but rising, while contactless is also slowly gaining consumer attention – although high fees and poor infrastructure remain obstacles to widespread growth. read more

Kenyan cards and payments market is a sleeping lion

  • Author: EPI editorial
  • Published: 19 Dec 2016

Kenyan society is largely dependent on cash, but with its large rural area mobile payments have gained a notable level of acceptance, particularly through the M-Pesa system. Agency banking to build the banked population is gaining ground, while Islamic financial products are also increasingly popular. read more

UAE financial inclusion beats back cash

  • Author: EPI editorial
  • Published: 11 Dec 2016

By volume nearly 90% of payments in the UAE are made in cash, which is seen as safe, quick and easy to manage. Card use is relatively low, but banks and the government are looking to promote financial inclusion and cashless transactions. The large expatriate population is also driving demand for prepaid. read more

Kuwait’s the state for paying late

  • Author: EPI editorial
  • Published: 6 Dec 2016

A safe environment and low levels of street crime mean cash remains a popular payment instrument in Kuwait, but the emergence of contactless and growth in Islamic banking are changing consumer attitudes and preferences. Recent Timetric research provides an overview of the payment scene in the Gulf state. read more

Omani payments market- scorchio!!

  • Author: EPI editorial
  • Published: 16 Nov 2016

Use of payment cards in Oman is low but rising, following the launch of a number of Sharia-compliant products. The payment infrastructure is also improving, and various other initiatives are slowly leading consumers to abandon cash in favour of cards. Demand for premium cards is another key driver. read more

Post-sanction Iran's cards and payments sector is flourishing

  • Author: EPI editorial
  • Published: 14 Oct 2016

With international sanctions removed and most operators reconnected to the SWIFT system, Iranian banks have resumed cross-border transactions and international card issuers and schemes are looking to invest and build market share leading to increases in uptake and competition. read more

South Africa banking on reducing cash

  • Author: EPI editorial
  • Published: 7 Jun 2016

Large rural and unbanked populations are key issues in South Africa, but some banks are stepping up to the challenge. Credit cards are often better value than loans, and other innovative electronic solutions are also being launched. read more

Saudi’s card and payments market soars

  • Published: 27 Apr 2016

Another market with a government drive to encourage cashless payments, Saudi Arabia has seen POS transactions almost triple in value since 2010. EMV-enabled cards and a rise in e-commerce have also fuelled the payment market’s growth. With an appetite for new technology, it is set to grow further. read more

Morocco’s payments recovering post-crisis

  • Published: 11 Jan 2016

Morocco’s economy was adversely affected by the financial crisis. However, domestic demand for goods and services, driven by a fiscal policy to push stimulation and the protection of purchasing power, helped to sustain non-agricultural activities and was an engine of growth for Morocco’s payments industry. read more

Country Survey: Egypt fostering opportunities for cards

  • Author: EPI editorial
  • Published: 16 Dec 2015

The Egyptian economy is the second-largest in the Middle East after Saudi Arabia. The economy depends largely on agriculture, tourism and cash remittances from Egyptians working abroad, mainly in Saudi Arabia and Gulf countries, but how is the card market faring in this climate?. read more

Kenya and Nigeria innovating their cards

  • Author: Patrick Brusnahan
  • Published: 6 Aug 2015

African payment markets are flourishing. With the development of solutions outside of banks, such as prepaid cards and mobile payments, more and more of the African population is becoming financially included. Kenya and Nigeria have adopted these new methods with aplomb. Patrick Brusnahan writes. read more

Country Report: Oman

  • Author: EPI editorial
  • Published: 29 Apr 2015

Oman is in severe need of diversification. The country remains highly reliant on oil, a resource that is quickly growing scarce. One sector which could solve this problem, through the creation of jobs and garnering a greater share of the country's GDP, is finance; particularly payments, cards and e-commerce. read more

Country Report: Morocco

  • Author: EPI editorial
  • Published: 21 Apr 2015

Morocco is on the path to recovery post-2008 with payment cards recording good signs of growth. In addition, debit cards are gaining a strong presence in the market and contactless payments have begun to inspire some growth in the sector. But how long will these signs of recovery last and are they enough?. read more

Country Report: Bahrain

  • Published: 23 Mar 2015

Bahrain has a diversified economy with well-developed infrastructural facilities, and is home to a large number of multinational companies in the Middle-East and North Africa (MENA).. read more


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