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Monday, September 25, 2023

Digital payments ‘key to improving bottom line’


In the fast-growing digital economy in the Middle East and North Africa region, merchants still have significant opportunities to improve their bottom line through digital payments, according to a report published by global payment solutions provider Checkout.com.

The “Seize the Digital Opportunity at Mena 2023” report – part of Checkout.com’s annual Mena report series – acknowledges how the region’s digital economy has grown in recent years, but also demonstrates that the ability of merchants to fine-tune their payment method performance is key to maintaining competition determinant of advantage.

With this in mind, the report offers a guide to help businesses better seize the opportunities of digital transformation. This includes exploring how to take payments to the next level with AFT, putting data at the heart of payments strategies, preventing fraud, and expanding the partnership model for digital commerce platforms. The report includes notable contributions from executives at Visa, Al-Futtaim Group, Azadea Group, and others.

Remo Giovanni Abbondandolo, General Manager of Mena at Checkout.com, said: “Nearly four out of five Mena consumers are already involved in various types of fintech activities, including remittances such as Western Union, wealth management and investments such as Sarwa, Baraka and acquiring equity. At the current pace of the digital economy, optimizing payment performance is not only a necessity, but a strategic asset that can unlock new revenue streams and eliminate inefficiencies. Improving payment strategies and leveraging a data-centric approach can provide much-needed competitive advantage.”

“At Checkout.com, we are committed to supporting merchants in achieving revenue optimization and seizing the best opportunities presented by Mena’s digital economy. After being granted our direct acquiring license in the UAE from the Central Bank, we now have greater control processing results and can drive best-in-class payment acceptance and performance for our merchants,” added Abbondandolo.

Put data at the heart of your payments strategy
The rise of digital payments in the MENA region has led to the need for businesses to collect and analyze digital payment data. This data has the potential to generate revenue benefits for businesses, from optimizing the checkout process to assessing internal processes and operations. While 49% of survey participants reported having access to payments data, a significant number of merchants in Saudi Arabia and the UAE were unable to turn this into actionable insights.

The report revealed that 75% of merchants in the UAE and Saudi Arabia measure payment optimization KPIs, including authorization rates, chargebacks, downtime and fees, as part of their overall financial performance. By understanding their payment data, merchants can also realize significant cost savings by identifying costs such as program fees, interchange fees, markups or real-time foreign exchange fees.

Accessing and regularly monitoring payments data is critical to analyzing conversion funnels and making necessary adjustments to improve performance, says Paul Carey, Executive Vice President, Cards and Payments, Al-Futtaim Group.

“Payment data is critical to our decision-making, especially when it comes to payment solutions, payment methods and inventory options. Deep insights are extremely valuable – you can understand where customers are and how they prefer to pay. We can These trends are tracked across our brand portfolio to ensure peak performance across the board. For example, some studies have shown that Mena’s checkout abandonment rate can be as high as 70%,” he adds.

prevent fraud
Using payments data to monitor the health of risk strategies and identify weaknesses is necessary to optimize execution. According to Checkout.com findings, 65% of MENA consumers are likely to avoid online shopping if they are concerned about security concerns, and 75% of consumers will not try to buy from the same website again if their payment is incorrectly declined, Or not at all. Furthermore, one in four MENA consumers had online payments declined over the past year despite having sufficient funds in their accounts.

Global payments technology company Visa has highlighted the importance of implementing an end-to-end fraud strategy for businesses to protect their revenue and unlock revenue streams previously lost to fraud.

Dr Saeeda Jaffar, Senior Vice President and Group Country Manager, GCC, Visa, said: “As the world recovers from the pandemic, the payments industry can expect fraudsters to turn their attention to financial institutions and merchants, with cybersecurity attacks taking place in New York. In an increasingly digital age. With the right approach and the right technology, industry players can stop threat actors from disrupting the ecosystem, maintain trust in digital payments, and provide consumers with a best-in-class end-to-end payment experience.”

Choose a partner, not a supplier
The payments industry is an important part of the fast-growing digital economy in the MENA region, with many businesses now offering embedded financial services. Therefore, merchants in the region should partner with a professional payment optimization company to speed up their path to success. Data in the Checkout.com report shows that 41% of merchants in the UAE and Saudi Arabia are looking for payment providers with the most advanced technology and expertise to support the most advanced payment setups.

Fintech Saudi Director Nezar Alhaidar also highlighted how fintech can empower merchants in Saudi Arabia through technology and new business models that can help reduce costs, increase speed and remove friction.

He said: “Fintech companies can help merchants get online, improve operations and scale by partnering with vendors with expertise in handling the complexities of online payments.” – trade arab news agency


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