Rising confidence in the market and growing affluence among consumers is driving electronic payments in Jordan, according to Visa (NYSE:V), the global payments technology firm, that witnessed 18.5% year-on-year growth in point-of-sale transactions on Visa cards in 2014.
The results from VisaNet, the global payments company’s processing platform, released at a media roundtable in Amman, also showed that eCommerce purchases on Visa cards grew by 20% in 2014, compared to the previous year.
Overall, Visa cardholders in Jordan are spending more at retail and department stores, and on utilities and lodging.
Saleem Sawalha, Visa Country Manager for Jordan, Iraq and Palestine, said: “We are seeing a strong uptake in card usage and acceptance in Jordan, with the shift to cashless transactions becoming more of a norm in the country than ever before. The fact that retail spending tops overall Visa card transaction volumes shows a strong change in consumer purchasing behaviour.”
“Additionally, Jordan’s digital economy, comprising 2.3 million Internet users as of 2013 according to Ipsos MENA, is showing greater potential to accelerate eCommerce purchases in the country. The double-digit growth in online purchases on Visa cards supports this trend, and signals growing opportunity in the country to promote online retail.”
Notably, debit products take precedence in the Jordan market, with nine Visa debit cards in circulation for every credit card. At the end of December 2014, Visa products in the market included 86% debit cards, 10% credit cards and 3% prepaid cards. Even so, 53% of total purchase volumes were made on Visa-branded credit cards.
Findings from Visa also indicate that cross-border spending only constitutes 28% of the total volume of payments made by Visa cardholders in Jordan 2014. To promote its cashless travel message, Visa has launched ‘Take off and land a MINI’, a campaign to reward cardholders in Jordan, for choosing electronic payments over cash transactions in overseas destinations. Running until 31st May 2015, the promotion will give every Visa cardholder in Jordan a chance to enter a draw to win a car – the 2015 MINI – for every $100 spent abroad using a Visa card. The promotion is valid on any Visa debit, credit or prepaid card issued by all partner banks in Jordan.
In addition, Visa has also entered into a partnership with the Jordan Tourism Board to raise the country’s profile as a tourist destination. Through the alliance, Visa will promote Jordan through marketing campaigns and will work with financial institutions to create travel benefits in the country, including enhancing card acceptance across merchants and hospitality concepts.
As a global payments technology company, and in Jordan, Visa is also working to foster strong synergies with banks and merchants in the country. The company is working on multiple initiatives to enhance electronification of payments, in line with the objectives of the Central Bank of Jordan.
Notably, in a first for the market, Visa has granted an acquiring or processing licence to Middle East Payment Services company (MEPS), the pioneering payments servicing – a move that will open up significant opportunities for banks, merchants and cardholders, and transform the payments landscape in the country.
This is in addition to Visa’s collaboration with Emerging Markets Payments (EMP), the region’s leading electronic payments processing company, to expand acceptance and introduce new technologies such as Visa payWave and mPOS that will help drive card usage.
In other initiatives, Visa is also working with Injaz, the youth-centred non-profit organization to deliver financial literacy lessons to 1,000 students across Jordan.
Sawalha concluded: “The market is ripe for growth and Visa is well-poised to empower citizens and merchants with the right tools to create a robust electronic payments ecosystem, which is vital to realizing Jordan’s ambitions as a prospering economy and a tourist destination.“