Visa International has introduced a new mini payment card, almost half the size of a standard credit card, in the Asia Pacific region.
Some 11 million Visa mini cards are expected to be issued in the region by the end of 2003. The card will be introduced in South Korea first, followed by Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan. In Thailand, the Krung Thai Bank expects to issue the mini payment card by year-end.
The mini payment card, which can be attached to a key ring or mobile phone, was first launched in the US last year. The card can be used with point-of-sale (PoS) magnetic swipe terminals and is available as both a debit card and a credit card.
Shailesh Baidwan, director of Visa premium products, says the card is aimed at the the relatively young population in Asia.
Visa Asia Pacific has 26 million debit cards and 166 million credit cards in circulation in the region, a relatively small proportion of the 1.3 billion branded cards worldwide. Card use in Asia is relatively low at just 4.6 per cent, compared with the global average of seven per cent.
The company says the Bank of America has issued more than eight million mini cards in the US, with usage rates four to five times over original target.