COVID-19 sparks boom in Middle East digital payments

According to a study from London based payment systems provider, stubborn cash use could fall in the Middle East after an acceleration in the uptake of digital payments amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The study, which hinges on a regional survey of more than 5000 consumers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Pakistan, found that 47% of consumers are expected to shop online more frequently over the next year. Only 15% expected their online shopping frequency to decline, while the remaining 38% expected it to remain the same. Among those who shop online at least once a month, 62% usually pay by card or digital wallet, compared with 44% among the less frequent online shoppers. Accordingly, the study expects a surge in e-commerce and digital payment industries in the region in 2021.