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How technology is driving a card payment revolution in the Middle East

How technology is driving a card payment revolution in the Middle East

Verifone Middle East and North Africa vice president and general manager, Ozgur Ozvardar, gives his thoughts on the future of digital payment methods

What are the current payment trends in the Middle East? Many economies overseas are still cash-based. Is that still the same here and are things changing?

“While most transactions are still cash based in many Middle Eastern countries, we have witnessed rapid growth in the number of non-cash transactions in recent years. New technologies in payment systems are welcome in the region and the adoption rate to new instruments is very high. We fully expect this growth in non-cash transactions to continue in the coming years as well.”

What innovation and new technology have you got in place to drive this growth in digital transactions?

“The company is among the leaders in creating innovative and secure terminals that are purpose-driven and easy-to-use for both clients and consumers. We have capabilities in place to meet market demands now and in the future. Our solutions are feature-rich yet simple; they are PCI and EMV compliant and are used globally in everything from retail, hospitality and transport.

“Banks, governmental bodies and multinational corporations are among the biggest users of our mobile terminals. These can be used for anything from deposits, transfers and withdrawals to value-added services such as paying bills, using e-vouchers, paying taxes and for simple, everyday essentials.

“Merchants must feel reassured their choice is future-proof before making a big investment. And by developing devices that can accept the most advanced payment methods including the latest ‘near field communication’, we can give them that reassurance.

“Furthermore, through our numerous mobile ‘point of sale’ solutions, we eliminate the need to replace the terminal with every tablet or smartphone upgrade. This ensures a merchant’s investment is fully protected and allows them to improve their efficiency and customer service.”

The firm has recently launched its new product called Verifone Engage. Could you tell us more about this?

“It is the latest in our mobile terminal collection. This family of products harnesses the power and performance of a connected framework and will pave the way to a digital-driven commercial future.

“This is our very first fully integrated, Linux-based collection and comes with a complete range of payment options. Our goal is to bring unique value to the consumer experience using intuitive, connected and commerce-enabled technology. And the benefits are twofold: the shopping experience becomes more profitable for retailers while also becoming more rewarding for consumers.

“And by facilitating fresh communication between retailers and their customers, Verifone Engage creates a new wealth of possibilities at the point of sale.”

As the world becomes increasingly mobile, how do you think payments will evolve? And what role does your MPoS solutions play in this?

“You will definitely see more mobility in the future of payments systems. In fact, this decade will be the most dynamic and important yet; electronic payments, digital commerce, credit slip analytics and mobility will all converge together. Alongside this, there will be an increased use of contextual marketing, digital advertising, couponing and social media.

“And as smartphones become ubiquitous, users will be able to use them for more than just making payments. But, in order for the MPoS solution to continue its growth, it has to make life easier and better for consumers and merchants. We will be at the forefront of this: we are the ones who provide the tools so that retailers can maximise and leverage a technology-enabled consumer.

By providing this commerce-enablement, the company helps merchants deliver more value at the point of service – and ultimately sell more. And because of that, our mobile business in the mid-to-large retail segment is skyrocketing.

“As well as being flexible and futureproof, our mobile solutions operate at a lower cost. One such device is the e335 – a revolutionary new mobile terminal that integrates seamlessly with almost any consumer smartphone or tablet. The e355 is designed to integrate with all major types of tablets and smartphones – regardless of the type of operating system – to securely accept all forms of payment from consumers.

“In short, we offer the most important market requirements; and those are for secure, well integrated and easy-to-use payment methods. A bonus is that our products also make an attractive addition to a retail counter.”

Finally, how do you think payments globally will evolve over the next five to 10 years? And how does this affect your company?

“When you consider the huge growth in payment systems in the world, we see a bright future for the industry. Although several markets remain heavily cash-based, things are changing fast as debit cards become increasingly seen as a safe alternative to cash.

“Our prime focus is to offer multiple solutions to both banking and nonbanking customers. Alongside our current services in bill payment, tax collection and government subsidy programmes we are also bringing out a new voucher system.

“We have many governmental projects, and banks use our terminals not only for their retail customers but also in a variety of different industries including hospitality. So I believe that our growth is reflective of other sectors and not simply limited to the retail space. It has boundless potential over the coming years.”

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