Lebanon-based Bank Audi is hoping to continue to grow its share of the credit card market in the Levant region by segmenting the market according to lifestyle and behaviour.

The company had a 2 per cent share of the card market in Lebanon in 2004 but has increased this to 44 per cent by 2010.

“We used new technology features to enhance the cards. This rise would not have come without technology,” says Randa Bdeir, group head of electronic banking & card services.

The new technologies include credit cards that ‘talk’, pre-loaded with personal messages that users can send to friends or family. Bank Audi is hoping the strategy will tap into the rise in e-commerce transactions online. According to Dubai-based group-buying website Gonabit, 97 per cent of online transactions in the region are made by credit card.

In 2010, $250m e-commerce transactions were made in Lebanon, but only 10 per cent went toward Lebanese businesses.

Bdeir highlights the importance of a robust telecommunications infrastructure for successful electronic and mobile banking services. “A good telecoms systems is now a must for the banking sector, particularly to fight fraud. We send SMS alerts whenever a transaction is made, the infrastructure is important in connecting transactions to user movement,” she says.

Bank Audi currently has a 50 per cent market share of the credit card market in Syria.