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Lack of trust hampers online payment adoption in the Middle East and Africa

Germany-based yStats.com, specialized in secondary market research on global E-Commerce and payments, has released a new report “Middle East & Africa Online Payment Methods: Full Year 2017” The publication summarizes the main online and mobile payment developments in 10+ countries of the region and compares them to global trends.

On the global average, credit cards and electronic wallets like PayPal and Alipay are the leading payment methods used by online shoppers, according to the findings in the yStats.com’s report. However, in most countries in the Middle East and selected African markets, cash on delivery prevails as the favorite payment method used in E-Commerce. In addition to lower penetration of formal financial services than in regions such as North America and Europe, another factor that hinders a wider adoption of online payment methods is lack of trust in their security.

A double-digit percentage share of respondents in the Middle Eastern countries stated not being comfortable making payments online, a recent survey cited in the yStats.com report shows. As a result, a major share of online shoppers in countries such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Lebanon prefer cash over all other payment methods in E-Commerce. Consumers in Israel perceive lack of payment security as one of the disadvantages of buying online and shoppers in the UAE believe that store-based retailers are more likely to use payment security tools for fraud prevention than their online rivals.

barriers to online shopping in the GCC

Among African markets, the payment method preference is more diverse. Online shoppers in South Africa pay more by credit and debit card than by other means, although non-online shoppers name lack of trust in online payments as the second most important barrier to digital purchase. Egypt’s consumers choose cash on delivery over credit card when placing orders on the Internet, as do online shoppers in Kenya. However, the latter market also demonstrates rapid adoption of mobile payment solutions, with M-Pesa becoming the second most popular payment method in E-Commerce. Overall, mobile payment user penetration is on the rise among Internet users in the Middle East and Africa, having gained several percentage points between 2015 and 2017, according to a survey cited in the yStats.com report.