"Cash rules everything around me" used to be the case back in the 1990s but things have flipped 180 degrees since in the world of money handling.
This is especially true in recent weeks as the novel coronavirus drove people to dig a hole infested with technological worms and hide in there till the period passes over. And so many began resorting to cashless options and online orders; at the same time, many companies began introducing contactless options as well whereby deliveries are made without any contact with the rider.
One such retailer to move towards both options is Middle East e-commerce giant Noon. The latter recently partnered with Visa to fully shift to cashless payments in the UAE to ensure complete safety to customers via 100 percent contactless payments amid the pandemic.
The platform has seen a spike in home deliveries in both the UAE and Saudi Arabia as people are glued to their homes to restrict the spread of the highly infectious virus. It also introduced a "Leave at my door" option at checkout, a popular feature many other online platforms have welcomed during this period.
"We are experiencing elevated levels of demand on the platform, as well as increased levels of concern from our customers regarding the safety of their online deliveries," CEO Faraz Khalid told Arabian Business.
To ease this concern, the e-commerce retailer has shifted to a card-only payment model in the UAE; in Saudi Arabia, a big portion of their catalog has been moved to cashless options as well.
Visa's MENA general manager Marcello Baricordi explained that research conducted by the payment solution provider revealed that two-thirds of local consumers had already preferred using cards over cash when shopping online.
A 2019 Visa study showed that after activation, contactless payments in the UAE increased transactions by 56 percent and mobile wallets (e.g. Apple Pay/Google Pay/Samsung Pay) increased transactions by 150 percent.
In both the UAE and Saudi Arabia, "smartphone penetration levels and consumer openness to change are fueling the demand for a better alternative to cash," as stated in the report.
The report also revealed that consumers in the UAE highly consider (70 percent) mobile wallets such as Apple Pay. This probably explains why PayBy, an innovative fintech company, officially launched its fast and secure mobile payment services in the UAE recently. With PayBy, consumers can use their smartphones to make contactless and cashless payments in physical stores. The payment solution also allows users to pay for deliveries on arrival, order goods and services online, transfer and receive money instantly, and even share cash gifts with family and friends — all in just a few clicks.
There are different types of cashless payments in this day and age
There are many different ways by which a user can make payments without the need for physical cash. The most common one is "banking cards," which includes both debit and credit cards. This type of cashless payment is one of the most used as it's secure, convenient, and a large portion of the population owns one. They can be used in various ways whether online, PoS machines, or even mobile wallets.
This brings us to another cashless payment method that has been slowly entering the region. Mobile wallets allow the user to send, receive, and store money all in one place: their smartphone. A user can connect their bank account to the wallet to add/store money. The user can also send money to any individual by entering certain information.
QR codes are also used in the process of cashless payments; users are required to scan the QR code of the retailer to complete the transaction.
There are many other options, but these are some of the most common types of cashless payments — especially in the Arab world where online payments only recently began gaining momentum and trust of the people. But it seems people are keen on moving towards a cashless society from here on out.