Visa recently commissioned a consumer survey according to which the overall usage and acceptance of payment cards in Egypt is growing but there is still a need for more cooperation to increase point-of-sale (POS) options.

According to the survey, Egyptian consumers are using their debit, credit and prepaid cards to make both small, everyday purchases on consumer goods and at restaurants as well as larger, less frequent purchases such as air travel, accommodation, and international transactions.

The survey found that; 73% of cardholders use their payment cards at least once every two weeks and 65% of all payment card purchases are for dining and entertainment followed by 41% for consumer goods and 41% for fashion and accessories.

According to the survey, the leading areas of payment card spending in Egypt, in descending order are on; dining and entertainment (65%), fashion and accessories (including cosmetics and skincare products) (41%), consumer electronics (41%), travel expenses (30%), recurrent services (phone and internet bills) (30%), and household appliances (23%).

The overall perception and knowledge of payment card usage is communicated through the frequency of use (73% use their cards at least once every two weeks), the large percentage of respondents using their cards for both direct purchases and cash withdrawals (82%) and an awareness of the option to do both with their electronic payment cards (98%).

Consumers cited inadequate and unreliable infrastructure as the greatest obstacles to greater payment card usage, with 69% of respondents highlighting lack of POS machines as the main issue.

A total of 766 Egyptians from the ages of 25 to 45 were interviewed with an equal amount of men and women surveyed.

Tarek Elhousseiny, general manager for North and West Africa at Visa, said: “Based on the survey results, we can see more and more Egyptians using their payment cards for direct payment rather than just withdrawing cash from an ATM. With this survey, it is clear that with further cooperation from all parties, including banks and retailers, we can make payment cards the way of the future in Egypt.”