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MasterCard registers strong growth in Middle East transactions in third quarter
Source: BI-ME , Author: Justin Smith
Posted: Sun November 23, 2008 12:00 am

INTERNATIONAL. MasterCard today announced third quarter 2008 results for the Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa (APMEA) region. For the quarter ending 30 September 2008, the region registered growth in gross dollar volume (22.7%), purchase volume (24.6%), purchase transactions (20.9%), cash transactions (29.1%) and cards issued (16.9%) versus the same period in 2007. 

As of 30 September 2008, some 232 million MasterCard cards (excluding Maestro and Cirrus) had been issued by MasterCard customer financial institutions across APMEA. Cardholders in the region made 901 million purchase transactions in the third quarter of 2008 and could use their MasterCard cards at 28.4 million acceptance locations worldwide.

“I am pleased with our third quarter results. Despite unprecedented economic turmoil, MasterCard was able to achieve growth in the region. The collaboration with our customers on products such as Debit MasterCard resulted in a year-on-year increase of 54.0% in Debit MasterCard gross dollar volume which can be attributed to growth in preference for debit in markets such as Indonesia, India, Thailand, Singapore, Australia, Kuwait and Egypt,” said Andre Sekulic, President, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, MasterCard.
“As the economic uncertainty continues, MasterCard believes it is imperative that we continue to provide valuable insights on opportunities within our region to customers and merchant partners and focus on developing our product range to meet changing needs of consumers across the region."

In addition to the performance highlights, MasterCard in the APMEA region also reported a number of significant achievements for the quarter ending 30 September 2008.

To encourage usage of the unique TaiwanMoney Card, MasterCard launched a promotion to commemorate the launch of Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit’s (KMRT) new orange line. TaiwanMoney Card cardholders were entitled to free rides on the newly opened orange line during its first week of operation and given a flat discounted rate of NTD 15 per trip on all KMRT rides for a selected period.

MasterCard launched the TaiwanMoney Card in collaboration with Kaohsiung City Government and KMRT in first quarter 2008. The card is the first contactless payment solution interoperable between the KMRT, public buses and ferries in Kaohsiung, as well as retail channels across Taiwan and internationally. It combines MasterCard credit and stored value features, access to the Cirrus Global ATM network and MasterCard PayPass contactless functionalities.

The first Debit MasterCard products for the mass affluent segment in the Malaysian market were launched by Alliance Bank. The Alliance Debit MasterCard Platinum and Premium cards are linked to the interest-bearing Alliance Hybrid Account with rates of up to 2.8%, one of the highest currently offered in the market.

RHB Banking Group in Malaysia launched its first Debit MasterCard programmes, the Cash-Connect and the Islamic My Cash-I debit MasterCard cards. These are also the first Debit MasterCard cards in the world to bear the special mc² design.

In Taiwan, the SinoPac Prepaid Debit MasterCard card was launched to meet the payment  needs of young consumers.

The APMEA region saw significant momentum with the introduction of several innovative co-brand card programs with well-known retailers and financial institutions. Woolworths, Australia’s leading supermarket retailer, and HSBC, teamed up with Mastercard to launch the new Woolworths credit card.

In Malaysia, Public Bank and ING Insurance launched unembossed Credit and Debit MasterCard cards, incorporating wellness features such as personal protection, health, sports and beauty privileges. The cards are EMV-Compliant and equipped with the MasterCard PayPass functionality.

MasterCard, Allied Bank and Philippine Airlines introduced the Mabuhay Miles World MasterCard card, the first World MasterCard card in the Philippines. It offers the most competitive point-to-mile conversion rate within the Philippine Airlines, bringing cardholders closer to getting complimentary flights aboard the airline than any other card.

In Taiwan, Fubon Bank and MasterCard launched the Fubon Titanium Card for young working professionals, offering them greater value for their money. Cardholders receive three times the number of usual bonus points every time they use the card during weekends and Fridays.

MasterCard strengthened its focus on the women consumer segment with the launch of two new Titanium card programmes. In Taiwan, the Cathay United Bank Phoenix Titanium MasterCard card offers female consumers a range of special privileges, including discounts at selected restaurants and beauty salons, and exclusive travel packages to international fashion festivals.

In Kuwait, the National Bank of Kuwait launched the market’s first card designed specially for women, the 'Laki' MasterCard Titanium Credit Card.

In Malaysia, Bank Rakyat launched its first Islamic credit card, the Bank Rakyat MasterCard credit card-i. The card, which is targeted at civil servants, government-linked-companies and public listed companies’ staff, offers a wide range of incentives and features including free group family Takaful coverage; Umrah or holiday points; profit rebates paid into the cardholder’s Umrah or holiday fund with no compounding elements; and Zakat payment facilities.

In South Korea, KB Card introduced the world’s first credit card with a large sized memory chip, display, and various multimedia functions. The ‘&d Card’ card, which operates on the MasterCard payment platform, includes USB storing capabilities for up to 2 GB and NAND based flash memory. It also provides multimedia contents from the affiliated website

The MasterCard-ESSEC Luxury Brand Management Executive Programme was expanded to include a session in Hong Kong. Some 15 senior executives from the Asia Pacific luxury goods and services industry were awarded full scholarships by MasterCard to attend the four-day intensive course which focused on the growing luxury market in China and affluent consumer behaviour.

Punjab National Bank introduced the MasterCard MoneySend Programme to its customers. This card-to-card money transfer program enables Bank ATM consumers to transfer money quickly, easily and securely to family members or friends. MasterCard MoneySend enables funds transfer from Debit MasterCard cards issued by PNB to any MasterCard or Maestro account at participating banks across India.

The Bank of Taiwan and MasterCard launched the Diamond Business Card programme targeted at business travellers. The card programme offers 1.4% cash rebates, the highest rebate currently offered in Taiwan. Other benefits include customised privileges to business travelers traveling within the Greater China region, such as NTD 30 million worth of travel insurance coverage, free parking at Taiwan airports for 20 days a year, and no administrative fees for currency exchange at Bank of Taiwan’s airport counters.

Holders of Japan-issued MasterCard cards for businesses were rewarded as part of the 'MasterCard Business Offer' programme. For a one year period, cardholders receive businesses privileges and discounts on many products and services from a range of 13 leading merchants including Tokyu Hotels Co, Nissan Financial Service Co, Mazda Car Rental Corp and DHL Japan.

MasterCard presented the MasterCard Luxury Week Hong Kong for the second year running. The five-day event in August supported Hong Kong's positioning as a fashionable city and a preferred shopping destination for luxury goods in Asia Pacific. Invited guests, including selected MasterCard cardholders, viewed the latest Fall/Winter collections by A-list international fashion designers, and enjoyed shopping and lifestyle privileges at participating outlets.

The MasterCard All Blacks Roadshow toured 20 towns and cities across New Zealand. The Roadshow brings the All Blacks rugby experience to the grassroots supporters. Legendary All Blacks captain, Buck Shelford, was present at many of the Roadshow destinations along with current captain, Richie McCaw.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand and MasterCard launched the '72hrs Amazing Thailand, Chiang Mai' campaign showcasing Chiang Mai's stylish resorts and hotels, shopping destinations, chic dining outlets and leisure activities. The campaign, targeted at both Thais and tourists, includes a guidebook and map in English featuring exclusive privilege for MasterCard cardholders.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Asia Pacific and MasterCard brought back their complimentary weekend promotion for the second year running, expanded to include an additional 30 hotels and resorts. The promotion gives all MasterCard cardholders and Starwood Preferred Guests the chance to receive a complimentary weekend stay at Starwood Hotels across Asia Pacific, under the brands Sheraton, Westin, Le Meridien, St Regis, The Luxury Collection, Aloft, Four Points by Sheraton and W hotels.

In Malaysia, the Emirates MasterCard Europe Euphoria program meoffered premium MasterCard cardholders the exclusive opportunity to fly Business Class to one of 20 destinations across Europe for just MYR 11,888, for a selected period.

MasterCard and Marhaba, the premium meet and greet and lounge provider service for passengers traveling through Dubai International Airport, formed a strategic marketing alliance giving all MasterCard Premium cardholders complementary, unlimited access to Arabian 24-hour hospitality at the Marhaba Lounge.

Further expansion of MasterCard’s knowledge leadership program saw the release of survey results on several topics, including the relationship consumers have with their primary bank in 13 markets across the globe, as well as the differences in online shopping behavior between men and women.

The Youth Education Programme 2008 survey revealed interesting differences in the way students in mainland China and Taiwan manage their finances and choose their credit cards. The survey comprised 2,500 college and graduate students from 30 universities across Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Taipei and Kaohsiung.

Results of the latest MasterCard Worldwide Index of Travel and MasterCard Worldwide Index of Retail were also announced.

For more information on MasterCard products and promotions go to



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