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Consumers in Saudi Arabia opt for digital payments methods: Mastercard

By Leandra Monteiro

May 06, 2021

  • Mastercard
  • Saudi Arabia
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MastercardAs the world went into a pandemic lockdown in 2020, consumers moved towards contactless tap-and-go payments and online shopping. As stores closed and social distancing took hold, retailers worldwide moved their businesses online, embraced e-commerce and explored the potential of new ways to pay. More than a year later, research from Mastercard shows that the adoption of new payment technologies is rising, and consumer appetite for new, fast, and flexible digital experiences continues to grow.

The Mastercard New Payments Index shows 94% of consumers in Saudi Arabia will consider using at least one emerging payment method, such as cryptocurrency, biometrics, contactless, or QR code, in the next year.

Over two-thirds of respondents (68%) agree they have tried a new payment method they would not have tried under normal circumstances, but the pandemic has galvanized people to try flexible new payment options to get what they want, when they want it. With this interest and consumer demand also comes a greater expectation for businesses to provide multiple ways to shop and pay. In fact, 70% of consumers in Saudi Arabia say they would avoid businesses that do not accept electronic payments of any kind. Additionally, nearly 3 out of 4 (73%) Saudi shoppers say that digital payment methods help them save money.

“The pandemic made us think differently, partly out of necessity,” said Craig Vosburg, Chief Product Officer at Mastercard. “To deliver the choice and flexibility that consumers need – and increasingly expect –retailers worldwide need to offer a range of payment solutions that are easy to access and always on.  As we look ahead, we need to continue to enable all choices, both in-store and online, to shape the fabric of commerce and make the digital economy work for everyone.”

Contactless technology was the digital catalyst to explore new payment options because of its fast, secure, and touch-free experience. Between the first quarter of 2020 and the same period in 2021, more than 100 markets saw contactless as a share of total in-person transactions grow by at least 50 percent.  A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, contactless is showing its staying power and dynamism – in the first quarter of 2021 alone, Mastercard saw 1 billion more contactless transactions worldwide as compared to the same period of 2020. All signs point to a continued growth path for contactless, with nearly 7 in 10 consumers globally anticipating using a contactless card this year.

“More than ever, consumers in Saudi Arabia are adapting and embracing payment innovations. Businesses, both big and small, must respond to this evolving trend and deliver on an enhanced omnichannel consumer experience for the new-age shopper. We are closely working with our partners and retailers to deliver secure and diverse payment technologies for the omnichannel generation,” said J.K. Khalil, Country Manager – Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the Levant, Mastercard.

Looking to the future, digital currencies wallets and money transfers, biometrics, contactless and QR codes are trending as emerging payments technologies as people’s comfort with them and understanding of them increases and the use of cash decreases. In fact, 92% of consumers in the region have more ways to pay compared to this time last year. The exploding interest in new payment technologies may encourage businesses to expand their options at checkout.

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