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Credit cards around the world: Indonesia

By Tyler Metzger

Our series moves to Indonesia. This Southeast Asia nation is the largest Muslim nation -- and world's fourth largest overall -- in terms of population. It's still mostly a cash-driven society, but the credit card business is definitely growing steadily. 


 

Credit report

Expanding use
Cash and checks remain the predominant methods of payment -- around 97 percent -- but credit card use rose 32 percent in 2007 to about $6.5 million (The Jakarta Post).

Credit card circulation growing
There were about 26 million credit cards and 19 million debit cards in circulation in 2007. One non-bank financial institution and 19 banks issue credit cards; the largest issuers are Citibank, Bank Mandiri, Bank Central Asia and HSBC (Euromonitor).

Shariah and credit cards
As the world's most populous Muslim nation, there's demand for cards that are compliant with Shariah, or Islamic law. That business is expected to show substantial growth in coming years.

The super rich
Credit card companies are paying more attention to the region's young, wealthy citizens. Last year MasterCard released its World MasterCard, which has a spending limit up to $100 million (The Jakarta Post).

Cards and crime

Shoppers beware
Credit card fraud is becoming more common in Indonesia. Frequently, employees of small shops and restaurants record credit card details or use "skimmers," which extract credit card data in order to make fraudulent cards (OSAC).

Improved technology
After police discovered a counterfeiting syndicate in February 2008 that duplicated data from about 2 million cardholders, regulators responded by making plans to require chip-and-PIN technology on all credit cards, according to the Xinhua News Service.

Crediting education
The Indonesian Credit Card Association educates people on credit card fraud and proper use of cards. They expect to see fewer cash withdrawals and fraud cases due to their programs (Crime Research).

Be careful where you use your plastic
The State Department recommends limiting credit card use to major hotel chains and familiar businesses (State Department).

Local voices

Official tourism site
- My-indonesia.info

Financial news sites
- The Jakarta Post
- Tempo Interactive

Indonesian personal financial blog
- Sarapan Ekonomi

Country info

Location: Southeastern Asia; between China and Australia and bordering the Pacific and Indian Ocean (map)

Population: 237 million (July 2008)

Area: 248,428 sq. mi. or 643,427 sq. km. (slightly less than the size of Texas)

Internet users: 25 million (June 2008)

GDP: US$843.7 billion (2007 estimate)

Currency: Indonesian rupiah (IDR)

Key exports: $118.1 billion worth, including oil, natural gas, appliances, textiles

Key imports: $84 billion including food, chemicals, capital goods, consumer goods

Religion:Islam (86.1%), Protestantism (5.7%), Catholicism (3%)

Published: November 11, 2008



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