Fri, Feb 09, 2007 - Page 12 News List

Visa turns attention to Platinum, Infinite credit card users

By Jackie Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Visa Infinite and Visa Platinum cardholders have become a major consumer group as purchases on those cards overseas last year grew 6 percent year-on-year to account for 66 percent of Visa cards' total usage, a report released yesterday by Visa International said.

The number of the two high-end cards surpassed 6.85 million as of the end of September, representing 28 percent of Visa's cards in circulation.

The average transaction on Infinite and Platinum Visa cards abroad was approximately NT$6,200 last year, compared with NT$5,700 for Visa credit cards, the report said.

"The market of classic and gold cards is shrinking and now we're targeting Platinum and Infinite cardholders as the major contributors," said Visa country manager in Taiwan Marco Ma (麻少華) during a press briefing yesterday.

Although the banking sector last year was dented by consumer bad loans, Taiwanese traveling abroad were big spenders, swiping close to NT$52 billion (US$1.6 billion) on their Visa credit cards. The total was similar to the previous year.

The figures showed the growing interest in overseas travel, which stimulated Visa to add card perquisites for buying airline tickets, eating out, staying in hotels and visiting golf courses in countries especially popular with tourists, Ma said.

The report said that most Taiwanese tourists chose destinations within Asia-Pacific, with credit card consumption within the region accounting for 60 percent of the total amount charged to cards last year.

Taiwanese Visa holders spent the most in the US at 22 percent of overall consumption.

Next came China at 16 percent, Hong Kong at 13 percent, Japan at 10 percent and the UK at 7 percent.

Card holders charged the largest average sums in Italy and France, swiping on average NT$13,600 and NT$10,730, respectively, mostly on luxury goods.

Average transaction amounts were also high in Macau, with an average of NT$10,780, mostly on sports and entertainment, the report said.

In terms of retail channels, popular locations included department stores (NT$3.6 billion), jewelry shops (NT$2.1 billion) and clothing stores (NT$1.6 billion).

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