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Iraq Gets Its First Credit Cards; ATM Network Is on the Way

From Bloomberg News

The Trade Bank of Iraq on Tuesday issued the country’s first credit and debit cards, from Visa International Inc., at a ceremony in Baghdad.

Visa cards were given to cabinet ministers, government officials and financial professionals, the bank said. Bank Chairman Hussein al-Uzri presented the first card to Adel Abdul Mehdi, one of two vice presidents and a former finance minister.

The bank said it would issue 30,000 Visa cards in Iraq by the end of the year. The company also plans to install the country’s first network of automated teller machines, which would enable cardholders to withdraw Iraqi dinars or U.S. dollars from their accounts.

The Trade Bank of Iraq is a state-owned bank founded in 2003 to facilitate Iraq’s international trade. It is capitalized at $100 million and has issued 1,537 letters of credit worth $5.7 billion since its establishment, the bank said.

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Iraq’s economy has been slow to recover since the 2003 U.S. invasion amid safety concerns that have left almost 30% of the workforce unemployed.


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