Mideast credit card spending up in 2010

Customer spending increased 13 per cent in 2010 in the Middle East, according to Amex (FILE)

American Express (Amex) Middle East said customer spend increased 13 per cent and corporate spend rose by 30 per cent year-on-year in 2010.

American Express Middle East announced a strong set of results, characterised by steady performance and profitability for 2010. New card accounts, a key performance indicator in the payments industry, increased by 16 per cent year-on-year. 

The company expects to see solid growth this year in its consumer and corporate businesses, following a successful 2010 with a double-digit growth. 

William Keliehor, Chief Executive Officer, American Express Middle East, said: “Despite tough economic conditions, I am pleased to say that American Express Middle East and North Africa performed strongly in 2010. The fact that our Card members increased their spending, given the prevailing market conditions, is a great example of the value that we are able to bring to our merchant partners. This spending was in part driven by our rewards programmes which give Card members much flexibility and a wide range of additional benefits from their purchases.”

Looking ahead to 2011, American Express Middle East expects responsible lending to be a key trend for the payments industry, as financial institutions and individuals alike remain cautious. The “return of the business traveller” is also anticipated, as the corporate travel sector recovers from the effects of the global economic slowdown. American Express Middle East also expects to see the continued strength of the premium customer, with spending projected to grow strongly in 2011.

Keliehor said 2011 will see the financial services sector in the Middle East begin to return to normal.

“We expect to see growth in both the consumer and corporate sides of our business. Customer demands, however, have changed. Financial services that are fulfilled in a safe, trusted and responsible way will be the paradigm of 2011. As our cards are not mass-market in nature, and we have strict risk management policies to ensure we focus on financially responsible customers, American Express Middle East is ideally placed for growth in 2011.”

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