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A comprehensive overview of the cards, payments and consumer banking market in Tunisia.
Many Tunisians work and live outside the country. The number of expatriate Tunisians has almost doubled since 2009, and reached two million in 2016. The remittances sent by these expatriate Tunisians constitute a significant part of foreign exchange inflows..
Payment cards in Tunisia are predominantly used at ATMs, accounting for 86 per cent of total card billed volume. Issuers have segmented their customer base into individuals, youths, professionals, Tunisians residing abroad, and the corporate sector.
The majority of prepaid cards are targeted towards the youth segment, while Premium credit cards are targeted at professionals, Tunisians residing abroad and corporate customers. Debit cards are generally targeted at the mass market.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Consumer finance market
Pricing and enhancements
The networks: credit cards
The networks: debit cards
Merchant acquiring and processing
Regulatory and other cards market information
Appendix I: Demographics
Appendix II: The economy
Appendix III: Retail banking
Appendix IV: Consumer finance market
Appendix V: Cards market
Appendix VI: E-money
Appendix VII: Profit pool
Appendix VIII: Pricing and enhancements
Appendix IX: The networks: credit cards
Appendix X: The networks: debit cards
Appendix XI: Card issuers
Appendix XII: Merchant acquirers and processing
Appendix XIII: Online acquiring
Demographics and Economy
Tunisia is a relatively small country with around 11.2 million inhabitants at the end of 2016. Growth improved marginally during 2016 to reach 1.2 percent, supported by expansion in the chemical industry. Economic growth is expected to increase further.
Tunisia had 23 licensed commercial banks at the end of 2016. Total banking assets in Tunisia increased from $38.1 billion at the end of 2015 to $42.2 billion in 2016 – an increase of 10.7 percent.
Consumer Finance Market
Mortgage credit is the largest component of total consumer debt, comprising almost 86 percent at the end of 2016. Personal loans are the second-biggest contributor.
Tunisia has a cash-based economy, with about 85 percent of transactions being paid for using cash. Nevertheless, the usage of cash and other paper-based instruments (including cheques) are slowing down, with Tunisians increasingly shifting towards electronic payment modes – cards in particular.
Considering the high level of mobile phone penetration in the country, improving the mobile financial services landscape could prove a viable option to increase financial inclusion.
The Tunisian credit cards market is underdeveloped, with only about 166,000 credit cards in circulation at the end of 2016, comprising just four percent of total payment cards in issue.
Two international brands, Visa and Mastercard, are present in the Tunisian payment cards market. In addition to these international card schemes, banks issue debit cards using the local card scheme, CIB. Three card schemes are active in the debit cards space: Visa, Mastercard, and CIB.
Key Retail Banks and Issuers
Although there were 23 retail banks operating in Tunisia at the end of 2016, the top five banks accounted for 46 percent of the country's total banking assets at that time.
Acquiring and Processing
The acquiring business in Tunisia is highly fragmented due to the presence of all major banks in the market. A majority of the private sector commercial banks undertake both issuing and acquiring processing in-house, although a number of different suppliers in Tunisia provide related services.
E-commerce in Tunisia is still in its nascent stage; it represented only about 0.16 percent of total retail sales in 2016.
Regulatory and Markets Information
The lack of issuance of payment cards for international use in Tunisia is in part due to restrictions imposed on the movement of foreign currency leaving the country.
Financial reports include detailed market and competitor intelligence on payments cards, e-money, acquiring, retail banking, and consumer credit in Africa. Analysts use primary and secondary source data and conduct in-depth interviews with senior industry executives and Africa finance experts.
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