Middle East Leads Global Prepaid Market; 4th Prepaid Middle East Summit closes on optimistic note

Prepaid Summit: Middle East 2013
Conference, Expo and Awards Networking Dinner,
Concluded on April 17th, 2013
Dubai UAE April 17 2013: The Middle East looks set to lead the heady growth of the prepaid market worldwide, according to leading experts gathered in Dubai today at the fourth Prepaid Summit Middle East 2013.
“In the last twelve months, the Middle East has emerged as our number one region in terms of prepaid card spends across all Asia-Pacific, Central Europe, Middle East and Africa territories – basically this hemisphere. In just one year, total prepaid spend in the Middle East has over taken India, Australia and Africa, traditionally the areas where we've seen the greatest prepaid spend over the past 10 years,” said Scott Salmon, Head of Prepaid Products, Visa APCEMEA (Asia Pacific, Central Europe, Middle East and Africa) in his key note address to delegates.
“This reflects the transformation we've seen in the prepaid business in the Middle East as there is more active engagement by a range of different stakeholders including banks, retailers, exchange houses, airlines, corporations and government agencies. As we enter the mainstreaming stage of prepaid in the Middle East, the next significant opportunity we expect to see unfold is in the travel sector – both for leisure as well as corporate prepaid travel cards,” Salmon said.
Visa Inc. the leading payment technology company is on board as Title Sponsor for the summit.
The prepaid sector has grown by 50 per cent in the MENA region over the last 12 months according to Kamran Siddiqi, General Manager, MENA at Visa, who opened the summit with an introduction on local market.
“Prepaid Summit in the Middle East is a reminder of how prepaid has gained ground. The prepaid sector has grown by 50 per cent in the MENA region over the last 12 months and today is the accepted solution across many industries such as healthcare and insurance, among others, he said.
“From our perspective in Visa, prepaid allows us to reach consumers who don't have access to credit or debit cards – there is a huge growth opportunity, more so with the sector's synergy with mobile payments. As a trusted partner, Visa continues to work with governments and regulators to ensure the safety, convenience and efficiency of the payment networks,” said Siddiqi.
Salmon's address was followed by a session on the prepaid value proposition by Richard Bialek, Director of Prepaid for CEMEA at Visa.
These sentiments are echoed by Francesco Burelli, another leading card expert and a regular at the summit. Burelli presented a session on evolution of prepaid in the region and also identified key drivers of prepaid growth.
“The Middle East is growing at a faster pace than other regions. New opportunities are emerging driven by the fact that so far prepaid has been mainly leveraged for payroll purposes leaving significant untapped opportunities in the unbanked and youth segments,” said Burelli, partner at Value Partners, and the member of Editorial Advisory Board for Cards International.
More than 20 prepaid experts shared their insight in the potential and opportunities of the prepaid as close to 120 participants attended the one day summit at Dubai's Shangri La Hotel.
“The 2013 summit is the best event in terms of participation and the range of expert sessions we had. This is the fourth prepaid summit in Dubai and clearly the market has come a long way from when we introduced this event to the market,” said Andy Cook of the event organiser, VRL Financial News.

Posted by : Strategic Solutions Online, Sarah Azad
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Posted on : Thursday, April 18, 2013  10:08:00 AM UAE local time (GMT+4)
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