Visa sees high growth in PH card marketBy Michelle V. Remo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Visa is bullish about business prospects in the Philippines, saying it expects growth in the number of Filipinos owning credit, debit and prepaid cards to grow at double-digit rates in 2013.
As the Philippine population nears 100 million and as the domestic economy enjoys a robust growth, Visa said the market for plastic money was likewise increasing.
“We are optimistic on all products—credit, debit and prepaid cards. There is really a shift from cash to cards as more and more people want the efficiency of card payments,” Iain Jamieson, Visa country manager for the Philippines, said in a briefing Friday.
By the end of 2012, Jamieson said credit, debit and prepaid cards of Visa each had 2.5 million holders in the Philippines.
He said one of the factors seen fueling growth in the number of Visa cardholders in the Philippines was the growing online-purchase transactions, which are more commonly done using plastic money.
Results of a survey recently conducted by Visa showed that the number of Filipinos who purchased goods online grew sharply to 71 percent of cardholders by the end of 2012 from only 35 percent the year before.
Visa expects more holders of credit, debit and prepaid cards to engage in online transactions this year and sees more people securing plastic money to be able to purchase goods online.
The global payments technology provider likewise expects growth in the number of card holders and card use to be driven by product innovation and partnerships with more merchants and institutions.
Recently, Visa partnered with Western Union to tap overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and their families. With the partnership, recipients of remittances coursed through Western Union now have the option of getting their money through their cards.
The Philippines is the second country after the United States where Visa has signed a partnership with Western Union.
Jamieson also said that technologically enhanced Visa cards would be issued this year. One version of the cards allows holders to simply tap the cards against point of sales equipment of merchants for easier payment transactions.
Another version has the “pay wave” technology, which allows holders to simply wave the cards against a machine to make a payment transaction. Such cards are ideal for motorists as they pay road toll.
Visa likewise is working on further developing its partnerships with banks. For instance, Jamieson said, the state-owned Development Bank of the Philippines has shifted from issuing automated teller machines (ATM) cards to debit cards.
Scott Salmon, Visa’s regional head for prepaid products, said the company would also work on more partnerships to tap the growth potential for Visa prepaid cards. Such cards are seen ideal for beneficiaries of remittances who may want to use cards instead of cash in making purchases.
“In the Philippines, there is a good understanding of how prepaid works. There is much more receptiveness for prepaid cards here and so we are very optimistic [about the growth of prepaid users in the country this year],” Salmon said.
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