UAE shoppers opting for contactless payments over cash purchases

UAE shoppers are ditching the cash in favour of contactless payments through the Covid-19 crisis, according to the results of a survey from Dubai Police, Dubai Economy and Visa.

Sixty-eight percent of respondents surveyed in the UAE have reduced shopping in-store since the outbreak of the pandemic and 49 percent are shopping online more. 

When they do shop at stores, 71 percent are using digital payments over cash with the majority using contactless cards (54 percent) and mobile wallets (46 percent) more.

For respondents shopping more online, the majority (61 percent) use cards or digital wallets more to pay online over cash on delivery(COD). Increased trust in the security of the payment technology, speed, convenience and limited human contact, were the top reasons cited for their increased preference for digital payments.

Forty-three percent of consumers surveyed believe they will continue to use contactless payments more in-store post the pandemic and 48 percent said they will continue to opt more for paying online with card or digital wallet over COD.

Mohammed Ali Rashed Lootah, CEO of Commercial Compliance & Consumer Protection (CCCP) sector, Dubai Economy, said: “The study shows that consumer behavior changes due to the pandemic – such as shifting online and increasing use of digital payments, are likely to continue even after the pandemic – an important take-away for businesses developing strategies for the post-Covid-19 consumer and market overall.”

Cybercrime has proven to be a major issue, which has been highlighted during the coronavirus crisis. According to the survey, up to 53 percent of respondents were comfortable sharing personal data with banks, telecom operators, and government owned entities. Name, demographic data and contact information were cited as data that needs to be protected the most.

While 63 percent percent find biometrics secure and for 55 percent biometrics is convenient to use. Sixty percent trust paying with mobile wallets such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.

Neil Fernandes, Visa’s head of risk for Middle East and North Africa, said: “With increased usage both among experienced and first-time users, cybercriminals too are keen to capitalize on the increased activity and vulnerability, especially of first-time online shoppers. That is why educating consumers about safe payment behavior is critical not only for the moment but as we move forward and adapt to the new normal.”

The survey release corresponds with the launch of Visa’s fifth annual “Stay Secure” – this year in partnership with both Dubai Police and Dubai Economy – social media campaign on Facebook (@VisaMiddleEast @DubaiPolice) and Instagram (@VisaMiddleEast, @DubaiPolice @DubaiDED) to promote safe digital payment practices.

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