May 21, 2006

Pakistan credit, debit and ATM card market research

I am now in Lahore, and on to Karachi tomorrow.

The State Bank of Pakistan reports accelerated growth in debit cards, a slight slow down in credit card growth, and a dramatic drop in ATM cards in force. Clearly, the global trend of converting ATM cards into general purpose debit cards is just as evident in Pakistan as it is in many other countries. Now, the trick is to get merchants to encourage debit card acceptance at the POS.

Credit cards grew 6 percent last quarter, versus 13 percent in the preceding quarter.

Debit cards grew 16 percent, versus 14 percent in the preceding quarter.

ATM cards actually declined 21 percent compared to the preceding quarter.

I hope to unearth some bit of insight into merchants' reactions to plastic card growth in Pakistan while I'm here. Hopefully something surprising on a local level, that helps to understand trends on a global level. I sometimes manage to uncover something that even surprises the locals, and hopefully that will happen here too. I really do have the coolest job in the world.

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