Singapore top in Asia in credit cards owned per person: survey

Singapore cardholders owned the most number of credit cards across the region, with an average of 3.3 cards per individual, according to a latest survey by HSBC.

Hong Kong and Taiwan are a distant second, with people there owning an average of 2.7 cards.

The survey, which tracked both HSBC and non-HSBC cardholders, also revealed 7 in 10 Singapore cardholders owned a platinum card, which usually requires at least $30,000 annual income for approval but in some cases much more.

Singapore cardholders were the second highest spenders in the region with an average monthly spend of US$1,020 (S$1,273) per month , up 19% over the previous year.

The highest spenders in Asia were Australian cardholders, with an average monthly card spend of US$1,320 in 2011.

Around three in four cardholders in Singapore (73%), Hong Kong (76%) and Taiwan (72%) also hold more than one credit card.

But while Singapore cardholders use more than one card, they consolidate 77% of their card spending on their main card, a trend also seen in their regional counterparts, Hong Kong (78%) and Taiwan (77%).

On the key drivers or perks influencing Singapore respondents on the choice of main credit card, an attractive rewards programme (42%) is perceived as most important followed by attractive usage benefits (14%).

Paul Arrowsmith, head of retail banking and wealth management at HSBC Singapore, said: "Our survey points to an emerging trend towards increased take up of platinum cards in the Singapore market."

"Credit cards have become an integral part of the consumer lifestyle in Singapore, in particular the mass affluent whose expectations are also rising in tandem with their search for more value from their credit cards such as exclusive privileges, distinctive rewards and a high quality of service," he added.

The survey, which was carried out in the second half of 2011, interviewed around 5,000 general cardholders, mostly between the ages of 18 to 54. The survey was conducted in eight markets including Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia, India, Australia, Indonesia and Philippines.

This includes all credit cardholders, HSBC as well as non-HSBC.

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