Iraq Credit Cards
Iraq credit cards are of post-Saddam reign origin. As the Iraqi banking system moved towards modernization, credit services were introduced for customers. However, owing to the lack of infrastructure, Iraq credit cards are not yet popular in the domestic economy. Individuals mostly use these for making payments while traveling abroad.[br]
Iraq Credit Cards: Market Watch
Banks began to offer Iraq credit cards after 2005. Trade Bank of Iraq was the pioneer institution to provide credit card products to its customers. As per a report published in Wall Street Journal, the bank had issued 15,000 cards by 2007. However, Iraq credit cards are not much popular among the average Iraqi.
The Iraqi market is cash-dominated. The low growth rate of the Iraqi credit cards industry is attributed to the following:
Lack of infrastructure, such as POS terminals and internet connectivity.
Credit card products are available only to a very small section of Iraqi citizens, as most people do not qualify for the credit facility.
The regional set up, governed by Islamic laws, does not promote credit system.
However, the ouster of the Saddam Hussein regime brought significant changes in the Iraqi banking system. In 2005, Central Bank of Iraq established National Company for Limited Financial Services to offer Al-Fayhaa credit card. In 2009, Iraqi Middle East Investment Bank (IMEIB) joined hands with Bahrain-based Arab Financial Services to provide credit card facilities. To fortify its presence in the Iraqi market, MasterCard has also established ties with Bank of Baghdad and the Commercial Bank of Iraq to provide debit and credit products.
Marketers believe that the Iraq credit card industry has great potential, owing to the following reasons:
Iraqi Dinar has a low buying capacity even in the domestic market. One needs to carry a bulk of Iraqi currency to make average-size payments. Thus, plastic currency can help in overcoming this problem.
As the Internet is gaining ground in the country, credit card usage will open up new avenues for online trade.[br]
Iraq Credit Cards Types
Banks are offering two types of Iraq credit cards to customers based on their financial standing. Customers with a sound bank balance are given standard credit cards. However, those with poor credit ratings have prepaid cards or secured credit cards. Standard credit cardholders in Iraq enjoy rewards, such as gasoline benefits, cash back and 0% annual percentage rate (APR).