Our ongoing series heads to Colombia for a look at credit card use and credit card statistics in this sometimes-controversial nation.
Credit card circulation
There were 15 million debit and 5.5 million credit cards in circulation at the end of 2007. The number of credit cards in circulation has more than doubled since 2003 (Euromonitor International).
Debt problem growing
As of November 2007, Colombians’ credit card debt hit US$4.08 billion, a staggering 62 percent year-over-year increase (Business News Americas).
Cards and crime
Raising red flags
Unfortunately, this reputation means trouble for regular Colombians who may want to make online purchases with credit cards. Several different fraud protection services say the mere association of an Colombian IP address or physical address with a card throws up red flags for potential fraud.
Colombian busted for international fraud
A Colombia citizen got nine years in prison for running an elaborate identity theft and credit card fraud scheme. He began the scheme by “illegally installing keystroke logging software on computers located in hotel business centres and Internet lounges around the world.” Estimated losses from the scheme stood at US$1.4 million.
Official tourism site
Colombia personal financial blogs
President: \xc1lvaro Uribe V\xe9lez
Location: Northern South America, bordering the Caribbean Sea, between Panama and Venezuela (map)
Population: 45 billion (July 2008)
Area: 439,735 sq. mi. or 1,138,910 sq. km. (nearly twice the size of Texas)
GDP: US$327.7 billion (2007 estimate)
Key exports: petroleum, coffee, coal, nickel, emeralds, apparel, bananas, cut flowers