Standard Chartered Bank launches Visa business debit card

Card is the first of its kind to be launched in the Middle East and is targets small to medium size enterprises (SMEs).

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By  David Robinson Published  October 25, 2004

United Kingdom-based banking giant Standard Chartered Bank is introducing its Visa business debit card in the United Arab Emirates. The card is the first of its kind to be launched in the Middle East and is targeted at small to medium size enterprises (SMEs). “SMEs are an engine of local economic growth and employment and face unique challenges in trying to develop their businesses,” the bank says. Research carried out by Visa International into the SME sector indicated that there was a clear need for an effective solution to cash flow management problems, the bank says, adding that: “SMEs are looking to improve their accounting practices, have better control on expenditure, separate personal from business spend and access their account funds more conveniently.” The new card aims to respond to these needs giving employees increased convenience and security and provide employers with a flexible and effective means of controlling and tracking spending locally, regionally and globally. “Standard Chartered is strongly committed to SMEs, a sector which continues to contribute significantly to the rapid economic growth of the United Arab Emirates and remains committed to providing tailored solutions to the business community at large,” say Ray Ferguson, chief executive, Standard Chartered Bank UAE. While specifically suited to SMEs, which Standard Chartered defines as a company with less than US$5 million annual turnover, the card may also prove an attractive business solution for large corporate account holders and multi-national corporations. “The new Visa business debit card will provide both our SME and corporate account holders with greater convenience, efficiency and control over expenditure. Furthermore, specific business-related benefits will be offered, such as discounts at international merchants and global assistance services,” Ferguson explains. Cardholders can use the new cards, which are accepted at ATM machines and point of sale terminals globally, as a substitute for less efficient cash and cheques. “We are very proud to partner with Standard Chartered on this unique and flexible product and are particularly pleased to be able to support the development of business entrepreneurship in the United Arab Emirates,” says Kamran Siddiqi, general manager, Visa International. “With enhanced security features, this product allows issuing banks to set more stringent risk control standards meaning they can reach an entirely new cardholder segment that may not have qualified for a Visa card in the past,” he adds. The Visa business debit card is intended to reduce the amount of paperwork required for purchases and remove the need for time-consuming approval processes. The card will also provide businesses with convenience, utility and acceptance when employees travel, both within the United Arab Emirates and abroad. At the same time, it provides access to detailed transaction information, allowing businesses to track and monitor all purchases and expenses. Individual, predefined spending limits can also be set for each card, which means employees are provided with different levels of spending power according to the needs of the employer.

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