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Four ways for MENA merchants to enhance the payment experience

By Remo Giovanni Abbondandolo, General Manager – MENA at Checkout.com

By Inc.Arabia Staff
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As the digital economy in MENA grows in size and sophistication, payments are at the heart of the opportunities it presents. No longer just a business necessity but a key source of innovation, digital payments can significantly impact the bottom line by eliminating inefficiencies and unlocking new revenue. Merchants across the region see the potential and are more ambitious than ever, so fine-tuning the payment performance will be a decisive factor in gaining the much-needed edge over the competition.

Based on findings from our report ‘Seizing the Digital Opportunity in MENA 2023’, part of Checkout.com’s annual MENA Report series, today there are four key ways in which merchants can perfect their payment lifecycle and streamline the user experience.

  • Putting data at the heart of the payments strategy - The volume of digital payments moving through MENA’s economy is on the rise, and so is the region’s technological maturity. Vital information can be collected on an ever-larger scale, unlocking precious insights in real time.

However, with many merchants entering the online space at breakneck speed, payment data collection and analysis have often been overlooked and underutilized. Checkout.com’s report shows that 49% of the merchants based in KSA and UAE agree that despite having access to payments data, they do not have time to analyze it and turn it into powerful insights.

This finding proves that payments are not yet widely treated as a strategic business function that brings sustainable value. From optimizing checkouts to evaluating the efficiency of internal processes and operations, payments data can go a long way in boosting revenue for businesses.

  • Keeping fraud at bay - In these uncertain economic times, safeguarding revenue emerges as a top priority for companies. Nonetheless, fraud is an increasingly tough opponent to fight. While innovation stimulates advancements in the payments industry, it forces fraudsters to refine their scam methods and innovate new more advanced ones. A case in point is made on MENA’s home ground, with 65% of businesses in the UAE claiming to struggle to prevent payment fraud. Designing an end-to-end fraud strategy, built around an agile fraud detection solution that uses cutting-edge technologies, such as machine learning, is key to protecting businesses.

Our report shows that almost two thirds of consumers in MENA may avoid shopping online if they have safety concerns. This is testament to the importance of monitoring the health of your business risk strategy, payments data can be a powerful tool to do so, and to identify areas of weakness that require increased focus. Diagnosing the root causes of recurring flaws in performance is necessary for optimized execution.

  • Taking payments to the next level - Consumers have increasingly higher expectations in terms of how – and how quickly – they can move their funds. To meet their demands, fintech companies are pushing to improve performance in this area, particularly by speeding up transactions and delivering the best end-to-end experience.

This is where account funding transactions (AFTs) become a true game changer. As the name suggests, this type of transaction is used to fund accounts and other embedded financial solutions, such as third-party digital wallets. Card-to-card transfers in particular have an unmatched potential for taking the eCommerce ecosystem to the next level, bringing tangible benefits to fintechs and end users alike.

  • Choosing a partner, not a provider - With consumers ready to dive deep into digital-first experiences, a payments performance that isn’t optimized is holding merchants back. Understandably, they might find themselves overwhelmed by the number of considerations and metrics involved. That’s why the payments optimization journey is not one to embark on solo. Indeed, our research shows that 41% of merchants in UAE and KSA look for payment providers with the most modern technology and expertise to support the most advanced payments setups.

Merchants in MENA increasingly look for added value from their providers – be that easy integration, a deep understanding of their business, or the ability to improve their operational efficiency, often leaving price at the bottom of their priority lists. Providers with on-the-ground presence and knowledge of the regional payment ecosystem are ideally positioned to become trusted partners to merchants in optimizing digital payments. This strengthens the theory that merchants need more than just a payment provider, but rather the right partner that is invested in their business by their side.

In summary, if merchants focus on harnessing the power of data-driven insights, robust fraud protection solutions, enhanced payment performance through AFTs, and productive partnerships, they will be on the right track to seize the exciting growth opportunities posed by the MENA digital economy.

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