Morocco’s card payments channel recorded robust growth during the review period (2008-2012) and registered a CAGR of 15.14%, growing from MAD92.1bn (US$12bn) in 2008 to MAD161.9bn (US$18.9bn) in 2012. The growth was driven by infrastructural improvements such as contactless technology, an increase in the adoption of smartphones, and a reduction in card fraud.

Over the forecast period (2013-2017), the channel is projected to grow from MAD174.9bn in 2013 to MAD207.2bn in 2017, after registering a CAGR of 4.32%. A rise in disposable income levels, stable inflationary forecasts, positive employment opportunities and an increasing volume of corporate and leisure travelers are some of the key factors expected to drive the growth of the channel over the forecast period.

Payment infrastructure has supported the growth of card payments channel

Banks and retail outlets in Morocco expanded their infrastructure networks during the review period. The number of automatic teller machines (ATMs) installed grew from 3,629 in 2008 to 5,421 in 2012, at a review-period CAGR of 10.56%. The increasing acceptance of debit and credit cards at retail outlets and a consumer shift towards making purchases directly with cards resulted in an increasing number of point-of-service (POS) transactions during the review period. The number of POS terminals in Morocco recorded a review-period CAGR of 4.67%, rising from 19,000 terminals in 2008 to 22,802 in 2012. Due to these figures, the use of cards as a payment channel is expected to register widespread acceptance over the forecast period.

In addition, these banks and retail organizations have been adopting new technologies to further improve their payment processes. Contactless, Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) and mobile payments are being rolled out extensively across Morocco. As of 2012, all leading banks in the country offered EMV-compliant card solutions. Mobile payments grew at an annual rate of 19.2% during 2010-2011 to reach MAD82.0m in 2011. The introduction of contactless technologies is expected to provide customers with an advanced and efficient payment technique that will increase the use of cards.

Adoption of effective security measures to combat card fraud

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During the review period the central bank mandated the use of chip-based ATM cards, and EMV standards for credit cards, resulting in all leading banks offering EMV-compliant cards by the end of 2012. Moreover, the introduction of transaction alerts via short message services (SMSs) and the adoption of stronger authentication methods for online transactions resulted in a decline in card fraud at a review-period, from MAD31.0m (in 2008 to MAD22.4m in 2012.

Banks and other card issuers are offering customized cards to target specific consumer groups

Banks and other card issuers have been focusing on various customer segments by offering customized products. With competitive pressures in the Moroccan cards and payments industry, banks and issuers are developing marketing strategies with the aim of attracting larger customer bases. In addition to mass-market offerings such as cashback, discounts for retail outlets, buy-one-get-one-free offers, and rewards points, banks and card issuers are also issuing customized cards focusing on particular customer groups.

Banks are segmenting their customer base in order to maximize the potential of expanding their market shares in each card category. Banks such as Attijariwafa Bank have launched prepaid cards specially targeting women, while Banque Populaire and Attijariwafa Bank launched bank cards for students and the youth demographics aged 12-17. Credit and debit cards specifically designed to meet the needs of corporate customers are also prevalent.