Number of payment cards rise six percent to 2.78 million
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The number of payment cards in circulation increased 5.5 percent in 2018 to 2.78 million, mainly driven by the growth in debit cards and prepaid cards, according to Central Bank data.

This compares with a decline of 4.7 percent in 2017 and a slight increase of 0.3 percent in 2016.

Payment cards held by residents represent 97 percent of the total number of payment cards, with the remaining three percent held by non-residents.

Debit cards, accounting for 58 percent of the total number of cards held by residents, increased six percent last year compared with a decrease of eight percent in 2017.

The number of prepaid cards, which represent 17 percent of the total cards held by residents, rose ten percent, compared with a growth of 11 percent in 2017.

Credit cards continued to increase at a slow pace, rising by one percent in 2018 after growing by two percent in 2017 and falling three percent in 2016. They account for 21 percent of the total number of cards held by residents.

The total number of cards held by non-residents increased eight percent in 2018, after rising in the three previous years at an annual average of 12 percent.
Reported by Shikrallah Nakhoul
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Date Posted: Jun 03, 2019