Iraq Gets Its First Credit Cards; ATM Network Is on the Way

Visa yesterday issued the first of what they expect to be 30,000 credit cards in Iraq by the end of the year.

Iraq Gets Its First Credit Cards; ATM Network Is on the Way (Bloomberg News)

The Trade Bank of Iraq on Tuesday issued the country’s first credit and debit cards, from Visa International Inc., at a ceremony in Baghdad. Visa cards were given to cabinet ministers, government officials and financial professionals, the bank said. Bank Chairman Hussein al-Uzri presented the first card to Adel Abdul Mehdi, one of two vice presidents and a former finance minister. The bank said it would issue 30,000 Visa cards in Iraq by the end of the year. The company also plans to install the country’s first network of automated teller machines, which would enable cardholders to withdraw Iraqi dinars or U.S. dollars from their accounts.

The Trade Bank of Iraq is a state-owned bank founded in 2003 to facilitate Iraq’s international trade. It is capitalized at $100 million and has issued 1,537 letters of credit worth $5.7 billion since its establishment, the bank said. Iraq’s economy has been slow to recover since the 2003 U.S. invasion amid safety concerns that have left almost 30% of the workforce unemployed.

I’m surprised this has not gotten more attention. It’s a rather big move and, presumably, a sign that a major financial corporation expects the Iraqi economy to take off in a significant way.

Next: credit counselors.

FILED UNDER: General
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Anderson says:

    Oh, as if Abu Ghraib didn’t do us enough damage, now we’re giving them credit cards ….

  2. Scott in CA says:

    Not to be outdone, Zarqawi’s network has begun to issue the coveted “Jihad Platinum” cards to selected, pre-screened insurgents. Bonus points will be earned for each bomb attack. As an added service, a monthly “estate planning” fee is being added in the event the cardholder decides to become a splodeydope.

  3. Mikey says:

    And with any luck the aspiring Jihadi can be upgraded to the Uranium Card…

  4. McGehee says:

    And with any luck the aspiring Jihadi can be upgraded to the Uranium Card…

    Already depleted on issue.