Egypt’s Cards and Payments Industry: Emerging Opportunities, Trends, Size, Drivers, Strategies, Products and Competitive Landscape

Date: 2015-09

“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. With the government and banks striving to offer basic financial services to the unbanked population and banks expanding their presence in rural areas, the Egyptian cards and payments industry registered positive growth during the review period (2009โ€“2013).

In July 2014, the newly elected President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi announced a wide range of reforms, introducing new taxes, increasing selected taxes, and reducing energy subsidies which are anticipated to spur economic growth over the forecast period (2014โ€“2018). Other Arab countries including Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait have committed around US$20.0 billion to Egypt, through a mix of central bank deposits, cash grants, in-kind grants, and project aid, of which about US$15.0โ€“16.0 billion was received as of June 2014, according to the World Bank. The reforms are anticipated to have a positive effect on the cards and payments industry.

Credit transfers and payment cards were the preferred payment instruments, having a combined industry share of 94.6% in terms of transaction value in 2013. The share of payment cards is increasing as the government and banks are increasing the awareness levels and benefits among consumers and merchants.

In terms of the number of cards in circulation, Egyptian payment cards (including debit and credit cards) registered positive growth during the review period, recording a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.17%, increasing from 10 million in 2009 to 15.3 million in 2013. In terms of transaction value, payment cards valued to EGP161.7 billion (US$23.5 billion) in 2013, after registering a review-period CAGR of 9.07%.

In 2013, the average transaction value (ATV) in Egypt was US$97.7, which was the lowest among Egyptโ€™s peer countries: Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Kuwait recorded the highest ATV with US$919.6, followed by the UAE with US$263.1, Oman with 207.4 and Saudi Arabia with US$128.8.

In terms of card penetration, Egypt recorded 0.18 cards per inhabitant in 2013, while the UAE recorded 1.96, Kuwait recorded 1.32, Oman recorded 1.03 and Saudi Arabia recorded 0.69. In terms of frequency of use, Egypt recorded 15.7 transactions per card in 2013, while Saudi Arabia recorded 91.1, Kuwait recorded 47.7, the UAE recorded 43.1 and Oman recorded 13.4.”

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