Research and Statistics

Credit cards around the world: Colombia


Our ongoing series heads to Colombia for a look at credit card use and credit card statistics in this sometimes-troubled nation.

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Our ongoing series heads to Colombia for a look at credit card use and credit card statistics in this sometimes-controversial nation.


Credit report

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

Credit card fraud a problem
The United States and Australia are among the governments that have taken steps to warn travelers of the problem of credit card fraud in Colombia.

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.

Local voices

Official tourism site

Financial news sites
Am\xe9rica Econom\xeda
La Republica
Colombia personal financial blogs

Country info

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

Famous Colombians: Author Gabriel Garc\xeda M\xe1rquez, musician Shakira, auto racer Juan Pablo Montoya

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