MANILA, Philippines - Visa International is seeing continuing positive prospects in the credit, debit and prepaid markets in the Philippines, projecting to hit double-digit growth levels in 2013, a top company official said.
Iain Jamieson, Visa country manager for the Philippines and Guam, told a press briefing that based on a 2012 study, there is a huge potential for prepaid cards as Filipinos have been used to similar transactions such as in telecommunications.
“We expect double-digit growth for prepaid this year while for credit and debit, we are overly optimistic,” he said.
Of the $1.4 billion cardable opportunity for prepaid cards, about 56 percent accounts for Asia Pacific. The bulk of the potential prepaid card users market are Filipino workers abroad sending money home, which accounts for 28 percent of the prepaid pie market. Others are for general purpose, corporate, travel, government and payroll.
“In Southeast Asia, our priority is the Philippines where we find a huge potential for growth in terms of usage of prepaid cards,” he said.
In 2012 alone, debit and prepaid spending recorded a 25 percent increase compared to 2011.
Jamieson also said that there would also be a strong growth potential for e-commerce, which increased 25 percent last year. E-commerce are those transactions done over the Internet.
“Although relatively new to online payments, Filipino consumers have discovered the fascinating world of shopping online, which allows for convenient transactions and a few simple clicks. The Visa e-Commerce Consumer Monitor Research 2012, a recent study conducted by Visa in collaboration with TNS, found that 97 percent of people surveyed had browsed online for products and services over the last 12 months, and 71 percent successfully made an online transaction,” he said.
He added that recognized as a developing market in the digital space, only 49 percent of Filipino respondents said that they have had more than a year’s experience in online transactions, but 86 percent of respondents indicate that they are likely to make more purchases this year.
Product categories with the highest conversion from browsing to payment include movie tickets (52 percent), holiday and travel tickets (50 percent) and bill payments (48 percent), and a significant growth in online transactions is expected across all payment categories for this year.
Over the past 12 months, among the standout categories of online purchases were groceries (172 percent growth), movie tickets (147 percent) and fashion (131 percent growth). Purchases for movie tickets also grew 113 percent from the previous year.
“While e-commerce is still in its early stages in the Philippines, we expect to see rapid growth across all purchase categories in the next year,” he said.
“Besides increasing consumer trust in online merchants when it comes to product delivery, online payment security concerns also have to be addressed. As we have seen in the survey, as important as it is to develop innovative solutions to improve security online, it is also crucial to communicate these measures frequently and effectively to the Filipino consumer, from both the banks and the merchants,” Jamieson said.