A Verisk Business
Verisk Financial Research Logo Link
Sign In
Back home  /  Country Reports  /  Middle East  /  Kuwait

Kuwait Country Report

Already purchased?
  • Published Date: October 2016 – Update to be published in June 2021

A comprehensive overview of the cards, payments, consumer banking and merchant acquirer market in Kuwait.


  • Kuwait is predominantly a cash-orientated society with cash being used for the majority of low-value purchases.
  • Following a government bail-out of highly indebted Kuwaiti citizens in 2013, the central bank has imposed strong restrictions on the expansion of consumer credit.
  • Islamic banking is increasingly popular in the country: five domestic banks and one foreign bank currently have Islamic banking divisions in Kuwait and are offering sharia-compliant products.
  • The payment cards market is developing significantly, with total payment card billed volume (debit and credit card) reaching $62.9 billion in 2015, an increase of 93 per cent when compared to 2009.
  • There are a growing number of premium cards in the market. This segment has proven attractive to issuers thanks to its high spend and low-risk profile.
  • The shift towards premium has contributed to the changing usage pattern of credit cards – from credit instrument to payment tool.
  • Despite lower borrowing levels, credit card profitability is high and growing. Profit per card was $191 in 2015 – an increase of 22 per cent when compared to 2009.
  • The Kuwaiti credit cards industry enjoys one of the lowest loss rates within the Middle East. The net credit loss rate was about 1.8 per cent in 2015, a drop from 2.5 per cent in 2009.
  • Kuwait has one of the highest usage rates of debit cards in the Middle East and North Africa. The average billed volume per debit card in 2015 was $16,723.
  • Acquiring is carried out by the issuing banks. Four local banks control over 90 per cent of both the credit card issuing and acquiring markets in Kuwait.

Kuwait Payments Research | Report Contents

Demographics and Economy:
Outlines the key metrics and trends which influence the development of retail banking and payments in the country:

  • Population structure
  • Income
  • Mobile and internet use
  • Economic data

Retail Banking:
Explores the structure of the local banking system, its infrastructure and the leading players. Data includes:

  • Aggregate retail banking indicators
  • Bank branch, ATMs and POS terminals
  • The profitability of top banks

Consumer Finance:
Overview of consumer finance in the country. Categories analysed include:

  • Mortgage loans
  • Personal loans
  • Credit card loans
  • Vehicle loans

Credit Cards:
Industry-leading credit card coverage. We detail the past present and future of the industry through our data and commentary, including:

  • Market size split by consumer and commercial credit cards: number of cards, transaction volume, billed volume
  • Profit pool analysis
  • Competitive landscape: networks, issuers

Debit Cards:

  • Market size: number of cards, transaction volume, billed volume
  • Competitive landscape: networks, issuers

Prepaid Cards:

  • Market size: number of cards, transaction volume, billed volume


Verisk reports deliver invaluable market and competitor intelligence on payments cards, e-money, acquiring/processing, retail banking, and consumer credit throughout the Middle East. Analysts and researchers use both primary and secondary source data and conduct in-depth interviews with senior industry executives and Middle East experts.

See more Middle East Country Reports or explore the full range of worldwide cards & payments reports available for 72 markets world-wide.

To find out more or to discuss subscription options, please email: research_enquiries@verisk.com or telephone: +44(0)20 7337 4200.