An ongoing series of reports looking at credit card use around the world.
Credit card penetration
Debit cards dominate South Africa's payment card market. In 2011, there were 35.2 million debit cards in circulation and 8 million credit cards. (Euromonitor International)
At last! Credit for petrol
Regulations in South Africa had prevented motorists from paying for gasoline by credit card in South Africa until 2009. Not wanting to inconvenience a flood of 2010 World Cup tourists, the law changed to lift the ban. Source: South African government
Deep in debt
South Africa has been hit hard by recession. One indicator: "The number of debt counselors has shot up by a third in one year, with more than 12000 companies and individuals now offering their services to embattled consumers across the country." (The Times)
Cards and crime
ID theft just "so easy"
Identity theft can cost South Africans more than 1 billion rand every year, experts say.
Officials with the Consumer Profile Bureau -- the nation's most comprehensive source of credit information -- were quoted in June as saying that ID theft had become "the white collar crime of choice" because it was "so easy."
Standing up for the consumer
In June 2007, the National Credit Act was introduced to boost transparency and consumer protection in the credit industry. The act also aims to prevent "reckless lending, over-indebtedness and unfavourable lending practices."
Combatting ID theft
Retailers generally swipe a card's magnetic strip through a reader and then require a cardholder signature to complete a purchase. However, skimming and fraud is becoming such a huge problem, banks are starting to implement microchip technology. Local voices
Official tourism site
Top financial news publications
- Business Report
- Business Day
South African financial blogs
- TheRandToday.com Country info
Location: Southern tip of Africa (
Population: 43,997,828 (2007 estimate)
Area: 745,000 sq m or 1.2 million sq km (roughly twice the size of Texas)
GDP: US$467.1 billion, world's 25th largest (2007 estimate)
Key exports: Gold, diamonds, platinum
Famous South Africans: President and activist
Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, actress Charlize Theron, surgeon Chris Barnard