KUWAIT CITY: According to official data released by the Central Bank of Kuwait, total spending through credit cards surged by 16.6% in 2023, reaching 4 billion dinars, reports Al-Anba daily. This marked a substantial rise compared to the 3.48 billion dinars recorded in 2022, reflecting a net increase of 581 million dinars. Credit cards remain a popular choice for electronic purchases abroad and offer multiple benefits including cash withdrawals, particularly for travelers. However, it is important to note that interest rates apply to credit card transactions, with additional cumulative interest incurred on cash withdrawals based on repayment terms and withdrawal amounts.

With global interest rates rising to 4.25% over the past year, cardholders withdrawing cash may face higher interest charges, as per the Central Bank’s announcement. Here are the key points from the report: Total Spending — Credit card transactions surged by 16.6% in 2023, reaching 4 billion dinars, up from 3.48 billion dinars in 2022. Interest Rates — With global interest rates rising to 4.25% according to the Central Bank of Kuwait, cardholders face higher interest charges, particularly when withdrawing cash. Domestic vs. International Spending — 62.5% of credit card overdrafts were spent domestically, totaling 2.54 billion dinars. International spending via credit cards accounted for 37.5% of the total, amounting to 1.52 billion dinars.

Quarterly Withdrawals — During the fourth quarter of 2023, withdrawals from credit cards totaled 1 billion dinars, contributing to the overall increase in spending. Purchase Behavior — Direct purchases and payments for services via credit cards at local points of sale increased by 21% in 2023, reaching 2.2 billion dinars. Online spending on websites using credit cards increased by 14.7%, amounting to 1.3 billion dinars. Cash Withdrawals — Cash overdrafts accounted for 13% of total overdrafts, reaching 538.9 million dinars in 2023. Domestic cash withdrawals increased by 5.26%, while international withdrawals rose by 6.8%. Overall Growth — Spending on credit cards for various purposes, including direct purchases, online transactions, and cash withdrawals, saw significant growth in both domestic and international categories. These trends underscore the increasing reliance on credit cards for transactions, both within Kuwait and abroad, and highlight the evolving consumer behavior in the digital age.


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