Mideast leads global prepaid market

The Middle East looks set to lead the heady growth of the prepaid market worldwide, according to leading experts gathered in Dubai at the fourth Prepaid Summit Middle East 2013.

By (Staff Report)

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Published: Sat 20 Apr 2013, 11:30 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 9:33 AM

“In the last twelve months, the Middle East has emerged as our number one region in terms of prepaid card spending across all Asia-Pacific, Central Europe, Middle East and Africa territories — basically this hemisphere. In just one year, total prepaid spending in the Middle East has over taken India, Australia and Africa, traditionally the areas where we’ve seen the greatest prepaid spend over the past 10 years,” said Scott Salmon, head of Prepaid Products, Visa Asia-Pacific, Central Europe, Middle East and Africa.

“This reflects the transformation we’ve seen in the prepaid business in the Middle East as there is more active engagement by a range of different stakeholders including banks, retailers, exchange houses, airlines, corporations and government agencies. As we enter the mainstreaming stage of prepaid in the Middle East, the next significant opportunity we expect to see unfold is in the travel sector — both for leisure as well as corporate prepaid travel cards,” Salmon noted.

The prepaid sector has grown by 50 per cent in the Mena region over the last 12 months, according to Kamran Siddiqi, Visa general manager for the Mena, who opened the summit with an introduction on the local market.

“From our perspective in Visa, prepaid allows us to reach consumers who don’t have access to credit or debit cards — there is a huge growth opportunity, more so with the sector’s synergy with mobile payments. As a trusted partner, Visa continues to work with governments and regulators to ensure the safety, convenience and efficiency of the payment networks,” said Siddiqi.

“The Middle East is growing at a faster pace than other regions. New opportunities are emerging driven by the fact that so far prepaid has been mainly leveraged for payroll purposes leaving significant untapped opportunities in the unbanked and youth segments,” said Francesco Burelli, partner at Value Partners and a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for Cards International.

More than 20 prepaid experts shared their insight in the potential and opportunities of the prepaid as close to 120 participants attended the one-day event in Dubai.


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