Visa Asia Pacific Holiday Season Hits New Record - Spending Tops US$19 billion

Travel News Asia 20 January 2006

Visa Asia Pacific announced Thursday that consumers spent more than US$19 billion on their Visa cards over the holiday shopping season in the region, an increase of more than 6% when compared with the same period last year, and the highest-ever total spending recorded at this time of the year. The amount spent was generated by more than 227 million transactions, up 11% from last years 203 million.

In particular, India and China saw robust spending growth on Visa cards. Indias amounted to $731 million, while Chinas rose to $386 million, representing growth of more than 35% and 21%, respectively. The number of transactions grew by more than 34% in India to more than 13 million. In China, transactions picked up by more than 15% to just over two million.

India and China also saw an impressive surge in spending on Visa Debit products. Visa cardholders in India generated spending of more than $278 million an overwhelming 158% growth when compared with the same period last year. Spending by Visa Debit cardholders in China totaled more than $94 million, up 49%. The total number of debit transactions in India soared by 205%, compared to more than 40% in China.

Spending across the region on Visa Debit and Prepaid products, which access funds on deposit instead of a credit line, grew more than 20% to $2.8 billion. Visa cardholders paid for more than 16% of their holiday season transactions using debit or prepaid cards.

Spending on Visa credit cards amounted to $16.3 billion in 2005 as compared with $15.6 billion in 2004 a 4% growth. Spending on debit cards, however, is increasing at a much faster rate up by more than 20% in Asia Pacific and at five times the growth rate of credit cards, said Visa Asia Pacific General Manager Products Group Rahul Khosla. As more consumers see the benefits that Visa Debit cards bring - convenient and reliable access to their own funds no matter where they are - we can expect this growth trend to rise even faster. This is particularly so given the large number of people with bank accounts in the region and the potential to turn even more consumers away from cash to electronic payments.

Globally, consumers and businesses spent $34 billion more on their Visa cards over this holiday season than last year. Overall, global holiday season spending processed by Visa rose 13% to $291 billion during the payment networks standardized 45-day peak processing period of 17 November to 31 December. This compares with $257 billion over the same period in 2004. In all, Visa settled a total of 4.4 billion transactions during the holiday season, up 16% from the 3.8 billion transactions settled in 2004. Spending on Visa debit and prepaid products grew 22% to $123.6 billion compared with $101.2 billion the previous year.

In other regions, robust growth was seen in the Visa Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region and in the Visa Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEMEA) region. Visa LAC saw the number of Visa transactions increase by nearly 24% to 181 million, while spending on Visa cards grew by nearly 39% to $6.7 billion, indicating higher average purchase amounts this season. In Visa CEMEA, the number of Visa transactions increased by 55% to 32 million, while spending on Visa cards grew by nearly 45% to $3.1 billion.

The day on which the highest spending was recorded in Asia Pacific, CEMEA and Europe was 19 December with spending amounts of $210 million, $99 million and $1.9 billion respectively. The US and LAC regions saw peak spending on 23 December with $5.7 billion and $209 million respectively, settled on 24 December.

For transactions submitted by merchants on any given day, Visa provides settlement the next day for the issuing and acquiring financial institutions. Based on these settlement volumes, the highest global spending was recorded for transactions made on 22 December and settled on 23 December, totaling $8.5 billion in a single day.

All data are based on transactions processed through VisaNet, Visas global transaction processing network, and includes both consumer and business transactions.

See other recent news regarding: Visa, Credit Cards

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