MasterCard reports two-fold rise in card numbers in Middle East and Africa

MasterCard has reportedly doubled the number of its cards to about 100 million in the Middle East and Africa in the past three years.

MasterCard reports two-fold rise in card numbers in Middle East and Africa

The company has also started establishing partnerships with governments in the region to provide access to its payments system.

In the region, about 90% of transactions are performed in cash, compared with an average of 85% globally, reported Reuters.

In March this year, the Egyptian government has signed an agreement with MasterCard to extend financial inclusion to 54 million citizens through digital national ID program that links citizens’ national ID to the existing national mobile money platform.

The company has also unveiled plans for a similar deal with the government of Nigeria, which also has a low rate of financial inclusion.

The publication said that MasterCard and Visa earn over 60% of revenue from outside the US, while less than a third of MasterCard’s revenue comes from Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa.

Last month, MasterCard said that purchase volumes in Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa increased by 15.2% for the first quarter of 2015, greater than the 11.8% for worldwide volumes. Also, the size of transactions in the region rose by 20.9%, versus a 15% rise globally.

MasterCard Worldwide president Middle East and Africa Michael Miebach told Reuters: “This is the fastest growing region. We continue to expect growth above the global average.”

“We see in the Middle East as well as Africa a fairly high cash dominance. If you go to Nigeria it is about 94% cash.”

Miebach said that business had been faster in debit cards than credit cards across the Middle East and Africa, with expansion also driven by prepaid cards.