Our ongoing series heads to Mexico for a look at credit card use and credit card statistics in the United States’ neighbor to the south.
Credit card circulation booming
According to Mexico’s central bank, there were about 22 million credit cards in circulation in Mexico as of mid-2007. That’s more than triple the number from 2002.
The big players
Banamex is Mexico’s largest credit card issuer at US$10 billion in purchase volume, followed by BBVA Bancomer (US$6.8 billion) and Banco Santander (US$4.2 billion). BBVA Bancomer (US$5.2 billion) and Banamex (US$4 billion) rule the debit card market (Nilson Report, April 2008).
Debt, delinquencies soaring
The Bank of Mexico said total consumer debt hit a record $39.1 billion in June 2007, double the total from two years before. Delinquencies hit 18.8 billion pesos in June 2008, up 28 percent from March, according to the country’s central bank.
Interest rates hit ridiculous levels
The Bank of Mexico listed the average annual interest rate on Mexican credit cards in June 2007 as 31.72 percent.
Cards and crime
Skimming — a major problem
This form of credit card crime is reportedly a major issue in Mexico — even at fine restaurants. It is enough of a concern for the U.S. State Department to address it on its Web site regarding travel in Mexico and advise tourists to “exercise caution.”
Scope of fraud problem unclear
Recent numbers weren’t readily available, and earlier data is inconsistent, but fraud is clearly a problem in Mexico. Some estimates say fraud losses hit a record $62 million in 2003, while others say it hit $85 million way back in 2001. Still, the consensus is that the problem’s growing and will continue to do so as Mexico’s card penetration grows.
Official tourism site
Indonesian personal financial blog
– Mexico Insight
Location: North America, bordered on the north by the United States and on the west by the Pacific Ocean (map)
Population: 109 million (July 2008)
Area: 761,606 sq mi or 1.97 million sq km (roughly 3 times the size of Texas)
GDP: $1.346 trillion (2007 estimate)
Currency: Indonesian rupiah (IDR)
Key exports: manufactured goods, oil, silver, fruits, vegetables, coffee, cotton