Mastercard Cluster Manager for the Saudi Arabia as well as Bahrain territory JK Khalil, elaborated how the Pandemic has enhanced the Gulf’s E-Commerce voyage.
With the Gulf Nations, more likely with the majority of rest of the world, have stimulated their inhabitants to stay home, remotely do office work over varied parts of COVID-19 Pandemic, with the contactless payments to have taken the centre stage.
JK Khalil, the Mastercard’s cluster Manager for Bahrain as well as Saudi Arabia stated further that “it has hugely been motivating for observing the shift within client habits as they’ve witnessed transition in the behaviours specially for the spending side-touted as transition from the finance to electronic payments across the spectrum of channels.”
Mastercard has gathered down on aiding contactless payment mechanisms across the territory over the course of the pandemic, both in stores and online. “This aided drive contactless payments, such as wallet payments, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and, in Saudi Arabia specifically, mada Pay.” Khalil stated GCC residents are in favour of using these payment methods in the long term, citing the results of a second-quarter survey in which 80 percent of Saudi respondents said they would continue to use them post coronavirus.
Contactless safety and convenience: –
“In Saudi Arabia alone contactless transactions earlier in 2020 has expanded three times as swifter as non-contactless over the same period last year.” Khalil further added that the coronavirus has placed a limelight on contactless transactions, thanks to its importance on social distancing. “It’s discouraged people from touching cash, with all the potential hygiene risks that would come with it. Contactless transactions, E-commerce transactions and mobile currency solutions are all the obvious winners from that perspective.”
Mastercard recently partnered with Delivery Hero to create a MENA-broad digitised payment chain for the global food delivery and ordering platform. “In MENA up to 20 million consumers, 650,000 riders and 100,000 restaurants are definitely impacted by the enablement of touchless security for transactions and, beyond, delivery solutions. It’s been great for the industry and definitely a much better experience for the consumer and merchant as well.”
Contactless payments aren’t only about security – suitability is also a big factor powering adoption. “Whenever we’ve carried out time and motion scrutinize, they show that contactless transactions are about 10 times faster than regular ones at the checkout stage.” It was just a matter of adoption and awareness, Khalil added, and the coronavirus has simply augmented the process and forced us to learn.
Saudi Arabia: A hub for fintech start-ups: –
With a huge and young population, Saudi Arabia has been keen-sighted a start-up revolution. “The previous year, there were 20 FinTechs – now we have 60,” said Khalil. Through Start Path, its global start-up engagement platform, Mastercard is partnering with (mainly late-stage) FinTech and emerging technology start-ups and SMEs. “This is no different in Saudi Arabia. For young entrepreneurs in the kingdom, Start Path has been a remarkable programme as well.”
One of the means by which Start Path has been supporting young SMEs in the kingdom is the Fintech Express programme. “It allows us to swift track a new player – who has very limited experience in the payments business – through the motions, because payments are a regulated business.
We have the authorization to deal in every one of the 200 nations in which we operate globally, so we be indebted it to our partners to help guide them through a complex and rigorous process of governing approvals, making sure that all banking standards are upheld.
Women are the core to territory’s growth story: –
Mastercard aims to have 10 million SMEs using its solutions by 2025 across MENA – half of which Khalil said would be run by women. “We aim to continue to enlarge the aids of women entrepreneurs, especially in the kingdom, given the size and magnitude of that potential.”
An issue Khalil is keen to see addressed is the unexploited potential of women in the Saudi population. “Less than 2 percent of business owners in Saudi Arabia are women, according to a 2018 survey we did at Mastercard,” he said, adding, “This is not just a problem in Saudi Arabia, but MENA.”
He points to an OECD estimate that suggests gender-based discrimination and social laws cost the entire region about half a trillion dollars a year. “It’s really about forming the right regulatory environment and incentives for the right segments of the population. And you not only automatically increase the share of the wealth within that segment of the labour force but also relieve a lot of the pressure on government coffers, which have been typically subsidising families.”