Extension of consumer credit has been an integral part of the Company's operations since shortly after the business was founded almost 160 years ago. Consumer credit is a key element of the sales offering in the emerging markets in which the Asia Company operates as other forms of credit are less readily available for middle- and lower-income consumers in these markets than is the case in more developed countries.
Approximately 48% of Singer Asia's sales during 2010 were on credit. In addition to providing a strong impetus to sales, consumer credit continues to be an important component of revenue and profit; finance charges on consumer installments represented approximately 8.1% of the Asia Company's total revenue in 2010.
The Asia Company's credit activities generate installment accounts receivable which are outstanding from three to 36 months and bear interest at rates based upon prevailing consumer interest rates in the various local markets. These accounts receivable are financed by the local Singer Asia companies. It is the Asia Company's consistent practice to finance such accounts receivable by borrowing funds in the country and in the currency where such accounts receivable originate. Singer Asia had a total of 426,035 active installment accounts at December 31, 2010, with a total installment accounts receivable, net of unearned finance charges and allowances, of $70.8 million.
At the end of 2010, Singer Thailand, an affiliate, had an additional 140,730 active receivable accounts with a total installment accounts receivable, net of unearned finance charges and allowances, of $34.6 million.
Singer Asia continually reviews and updates the credit granting and collection process. This includes: monitoring and refreshing point scoring systems, use of credit bureaus and consumer blacklists, use of call centers for customer verification and collection calls, use of third-party collection agencies, and enforcing strict repossession policies.
Singer Asia's collection experience has generally been good. The percentage of installment receivables in arrears for the Asia Company at December 31, 2010 was 1.9%, ranging from a low of 1.0% in Sri Lanka to a high of 4.5% in Pakistan.
In addition to credit, Singer Asia also offers a variety of consumer protection plans including extended warranties, protection against product loss or damage due to fire, theft or natural calamities, and debt forgiveness in the event of the death or other extraordinary interruption in a customer's repayment ability.
Starting in Sri Lanka, but now including Bangladesh and Pakistan, Singer Asia has significantly broadened the scope of the financial products and services offered to customers. These include bill collection on behalf of utility companies and financial institutions, disbursement of remittances from overseas, and the sale of mobile phone air-time. The Asia Company successfully completed 9.2 million financial services transactions during 2010.