The Argentinian cards and payments industry registered marginal growth during the review period (2008-2012). Combined card volume recorded a growth rate of 11.5% in 2012 over figures from 2011. The positive economic outlook, a need for more sophisticated products in terms of prepaid and charge cards, the growth of retail commerce and an increased demand for prepaid products supported the overall growth of the industry. During the review period, the size of the cards and payments industry, in terms of volume, increased at a CAGR of 12.84% to reach 57.6 million cards in 2012. In value terms, Argentina's cards and payments industry valued ARS217.5 billion (US$52.8 billion) in 2012. Over the forecast period, card payments are expected to deliver strong growth as consumers increasingly move away from cash transactions. The Argentinian government's continuous implementation of economic policies in 2011 and 2012 enabled strong economic growth. This caused an increase in imports and exports which were up by 31% and 23% respectively in 2011. Foreign investment is heavily encouraged and, currently, around 500 US companies operate in Argentina employing over 155,000 Argentinian workers. Government policies created positive income growth, particularly in vulnerable sectors, leading to the increased adoption of various cards and heightened consumer purchasing power.