The future of payments in the Middle East

Ozgur Ozvardar, vice president and general manager of Verifone MENA, looks at how engagement, contactless transactions and e-commerce are changing the face of payments in the region



While the Middle East may lag more developed markets such as Europe and the US in terms of payments, the region has some surprises. For example, the Middle East is ahead of some developed markets when it comes to the adoption of certain technologies such as contactless payments.

This positions the region for even more growth and development in payment systems. The future is going to be contactless, whether that’s in the form of NFC enabled cards, mobile wallets or payment apps.

Banks are already upgrading their systems to enable contactless payments and third-party providers are developing solutions to keep up. Verifone is well placed to leverage this, having offered contactless payment-enabled terminals since 2008. We were the first in the industry to do so, and now nearly all of our products are able to receive contactless payments.

Furthermore, the rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets is also driving change by leading a convergence of the offline and online payment worlds, further opening the value chain to organisations ready to upgrade their systems. This paves the way for Verifone to help merchants create bespoke experiences at the checkout with services and applications designed to offer speed, convenience and growth.

Understanding the needs of retailers combined with Verifone’s solutions will really help the company deploy its technology and transform payments in the region. The 21st century retail environment is a jungle, and just when merchants think they’ve hacked their way through it, it gets more complicated. With regulatory advancements, technological growth, and generational forces constantly changing the landscape, it is important for merchants to turn these challenges into opportunities and cater to the evolving needs of the connected consumer.

A start to a new age of customer engagement – through payments

Recently we launched Verifone’s next generation product line, which is called Verifone Engage. The next generation family of payment devices that globally redefines what’s expected of point-of-sale (POS) hardware and software. It is the result of a new strategy at Verifone to bring unique value to the POS and the consumer experience with intuitive, connected and commerce-enabled solutions.

We are leveraging the power and performance of our open and flexible architecture to bring an entirely different level of interaction between consumers and merchants. With a two-way conversation that can happen at the counter and anywhere in store, we are making the shopping experience more profitable for merchants and more rewarding for consumers.

By continuing to educate the market and encourage the right environment for electronic payment investment, we can increase the availability and capability of non-cash environments. We expect big growth, as people here are eager for innovative technologies that make their lives easier. This is driving change in the industry, and Verifone is facilitating this change by providing clients with services and solutions that increase options.

Essentially, consumers are setting the pace for mobile and digital payments. E-commerce and digital payments are growing by double digits in the region, and while Europe is still ahead in terms of cashless payment adoption, once tech adoption takes hold in our region, it tends to grow very fast.

When we consider the huge growth in payment systems in the world, we see a bright future for the industry. Modern technologies in payment systems are welcomed in the region and the adoption rate for new payment instruments are very high. We are expecting this high growth to continue in the coming years.

You will see more mobility in the future of payment systems. Smartphones are now universal, providing extra value to consumers, and are enabling them to do more than just make a payment. For these solutions to continue to grow, they need to make life easier and better for consumers and merchants.