Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 February 2020

Almost two thirds of UAE retailers increased revenue after accepting digital payments

Merchants also saw a footfall boost after rolling out card and mobile transactions

The UAE mobile wallet market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 24 per cent and reach $2.3 billion by 2022, according to a report from US-based TechSci Research. Getty Images
The UAE mobile wallet market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 24 per cent and reach $2.3 billion by 2022, according to a report from US-based TechSci Research. Getty Images

Around two thirds of small UAE retailers said their revenues and footfall increased after accepting digital payments, a new study from Visa found.

While 68 per cent of those polled by the global payments company said revenue rose after installing a contactless point-of-sale device or other payment technologies, 63 per cent experienced an increase in footfall. In contrast, close to half of cash-only retailers said they lost a transaction because customers were not carrying cash at the time of purchase.

“Acceptance of digital payments clearly benefits small retailers as evident by the survey findings,” said Marcello Baricordi, general manager at Visa for Mena.

“Not only are they more secure, quicker and more convenient than cash, digital payments provide a data trail — something cash doesn’t do — that can help merchants better communicate and target offers to customers and offer loyalty programmes, and enhance overall customer experience, to name a few, which help improve profitability."

Use of mobile wallets in the UAE has increased with global giants such as Google Pay, Samsung Pay and Apple Pay entering the market along with local players like Etisalat Wallet and Beam Wallet, as well as banks. The UAE mobile wallet market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 24 per cent and reach $2.3 billion (Dh8.44bn) by 2022, according to a report from TechSci Research in the US.

In addition, many credit and debit cards now come enabled with contactless technology.

Digital commerce and cashless payments are identified as top priorities in the UAE Vision for 2021, and it aims to become a cashless society by 2020, as per the Smart Government initiative.

The Visa survey, conducted by 4SiGHT research and analytics company, interviewed 208 small retailers in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah, of which only 50 accepted cash payments and 158 accepted digital payments.

Among the merchants accepting credit card and mobile digital payments, 56 per cent have a contactless point-of-sale machine and 77 per cent said they plan to invest in the new technologies soon.

Seventy per cent of digitally-enabled retailers said they are satisfied with such payments, citing the benefits of preventing fraudulent purchases and offering a convenient payment method for consumers. They said cash-associated challenges include possible theft from employees, a higher risk of error and a more complex accounting process.

More than 80 per cent of the merchants accepting digital payments are likely to recommend them to other businesses who currently only accept cash.

Among the cash-only retailers polled, half said they intend to invest in new payment technologies and anticipate that in-store footfall will increase as a result. Close to half expect their revenue to increase once they accept digital payments.

“In light of the UAE’s goal to become a cashless society by 2020, we want to encourage and support small retailers in every possible way in their migration from cash to digital payments,” Mr Baricordi said.

Updated: July 1, 2019 11:41 AM

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