City Bank, the lone franchise of American Express (Amex) cards in Bangladesh, aims to expand the credit card service across the country within this year, a senior official of the bank said.
"We are working to spread the Amex card business in every district of the country within this year to help facilitate our clients' day-to-day financial transactions," Additional Managing Director (AMD) of the bank Mashrur Arefin told the FE recently.
The bank is also planning to launch several new Amex products, including business to business (B2B) card, in addition to the existing ones, he added.
At present, the bank offers Amex Platinum, Gold, GreenBlue, a co-brand credit card in partnership with Agora supershop, and CityMaxx, with the credit ceiling of up to Tk 1.0 million.
Bangladesh Bank statistics show that there are 0.95 million (9,53,780) credit card users in the country as of February this year.
Of the total users, more than 0.25 million are Amex clients, according to available data with the City Bank, which introduced the service in Bangladesh in November 2009.
Since then, Amex business is growing at a rate of around 30 per cent per a year, which is double the industry's average of nearly 15 per cent.
When asked about the reasons behind the success of Amex service, Mr Arefin said American Express card is a unique plastic money service for its diversified facilities offered to the clients.
"Unlike other credit cards, we call it (Amex) a lifestyle card," he said.
"This is the first Bangladeshi payment card that offers various benefits like discounts on air ticket, hotel room rent, restaurant services and products of fashion houses," he said.
The Amex card offers various facilities at its partners' outlets all the year round, in addition to special benefits during special occasions like Eid-ul Fitr, Eid-ul Azha, Pahela Baishakh, and the New Year, he said, adding that customers also get membership reward points and get instant support through the call centre.
The city bank issues around 5,000 cards per month. It has more than 800 partners and 16,000 Point of sale (POS) machines in 61 districts across the country.
The New York-based American Express has more than 91 million clients across the globe.
Mr Arefin believes that overall credit card business in Bangladesh would grow further against the backdrop of the country's economic development in coming years.
Credit card business in Bangladesh will flourish at much higher rate in the coming years in line with the country's economic growth, he hoped.
Besides, the requisite logistic facilities to execute plastic money transactions are spreading all over the country, which were confined to major cities like Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet until recently, he said.
With a rise in people's income, the demand for credit cards is also growing, he added.
When his attention was drawn to the security issue, Mr Arefin said the number of scams in the country is negligible compared to the global situation.
The number of credit card scam in Bangladesh is very negligible. Moreover, the banks concerned have duly compensated the clients following a recent ATM card scam, he said.
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