Home Brand View Here’s how the future of payments looks like in the Middle East As the MENA market matures, several nations are shifting towards more sophisticated and customised payment options says Ozgur Ozvardar, vice president and general manager, Verifone Middle East and North Africa by Gulf Business November 21, 2021 Can you outline to our readers the industry-specific solutions that you offer? Built on a 36-year history and more than 30 million installed devices, Verifone has operations in more than 150 countries, collaborating with known retail brands, financial institutions and payment providers. We are a global business partner that enables merchants to securely accept all forms of digital payments through our flexible devices wherever customers are in the store. We provide businesses with cloud-based digital services that turn the point-of-sale into a point of interaction with their customers. We further transform daily payment transactions into new business opportunities for enterprises and create a bond between consumers and merchants on our next-generation digital platform. What are the main challenges being faced by the payment industries in the region? How can they overcome them? In the Middle East today, we assume that majority of payments are still cash-based. But at Verifone, we are observing growth as we move towards less cash to more digital and contactless payments in the region. By educating the market and encouraging the right environment for e-payment investment, we can increase acceptance availability and capability to include all types of non-cash payments. Security remains a critical issue for retailers and consumers across the region. Verifone resellers can rest assured that Verifone POS are all PCI certified and offer advanced security capabilities, including P2PE and tokenisation. For customised applications, we can also provide biometric POS solutions, including fingerprint scanning. We are also supporting and enabling businesses to grow. We, along with our partners, allow the clients to focus on their core business and handle the full scope of payment solutions installation and ongoing service directly with their merchant clients. Payment services include software, warranty and logistics. This means delivering a turnkey solution to merchants so that they can unpack their complete POS system, set up, and begin accepting card payments promptly. During the pandemic, how did Verifone manage to maintain business continuity? The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we live and work. The usage of contactless payment technologies was on the rise even before Covid-19, but the global pandemic helped increase their deployment, mainly with the hospitality sector seeking ways to serve customers better. As a result, there’s been an increasing focus on contactless payment solutions that enable the processing of transactions without users having to touch the terminal. Banks are upgrading to enable contactless solutions, and third-party providers are developing solutions to keep up. We have offered contactless payment-enabled terminals since 2008 – the first in the industry to do so – and now, nearly all of our products can receive contactless payments. We remain fully operational and accurately focused on helping our clients run and grow their businesses. How does the future of payments looks in the Middle East? Do you see a growing appetite for crypto payments in the region? The future will be contactless, whether that’s in the form of NFC enabled cards, mobile wallets or payment apps. Contactless payments will be the most significant whether people use a card, smartphone, or wearable to process the payment. Ultimately, we are living in an age where the empowered consumer dominates the retail environment. The adoption of innovative payment and commerce technologies in-store will prove to be the catalyst for broader acceptance of cashless transactions, benefiting retailers and enriching the shopping experience for consumers. As the MENA market matures, several nations are shifting towards more sophisticated and customised payment options. This implies that many of our partners are increasingly prioritising local technological capabilities. That is why, at Verifone, we go above and beyond products to provide regional experts and global development resources. Verifone is now enabling crypto payments. Even merchants without a BitPay account will now be able to accept crypto payments directly from Verifone, and consumers will be able to pay with their preferred native wallet via a straightforward, one-step transaction. The solution supports major wallets including Blockchain.com, BRD, Metamask, and BitPay to make purchases in Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Dogecoin (DOGE), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC), Litecoin (LTC), and five USD-pegged stable coins (GUSD, USDC, PAX, DAI, and BUSD). Customers select their preferred crypto wallet on a Verifone device and scan an on-screen QR code to complete the transaction when they check out. The merchant receives an approval notification on the in-store terminal after the crypto funds have been validated. Funds will be deposited promptly into the merchant’s bank account in traditional currency (e.g. USD) via Verifone. Can you share your plans for the year ahead? Verifone’s innovation is focused on improving payment security and consumer experience. We enable the acceptance of new alternative payment types like digital wallets, bluetooth, barcodes and others. In addition, biometric authentication offers higher levels of security seamlessly. 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