Qatar continues to invest efforts in building a smart economy by leveraging the power of digitisation and is embracing it to advance the national economy, said Khalid Elgibali, division president – Middle East and North Africa, Mastercard.
E-commerce, Elgibali noted, continues to “show an upward tick and is also set to play an integral role in the (GCC) region’s economic recovery post Covid-19.”
Covid-19 has transformed the way people want to pay, and this change is here to stay. Hygiene, safety and speed have become the top priorities as social distancing continues to be encouraged across borders.
“In fact, our consumer survey conducted in April revealed that 70% of respondents across MEA are now using some form of contactless payment, citing safety and cleanliness as key drivers,” Elgibali told Gulf Times in an interview.
Consumer insights like this have led businesses to rethink and re-gear their customer offering to ensure that they’re reaching consumers where and how they want, often online.
Industries across the board are taking their businesses online: More restaurants are turning to home delivery, delivery aggregators are closing in on the demand, entertainment giants are offering a slew of content to stream online, and banks are reshaping the consumer reality to offer a tailored and seamless digital experience.
As a “trusted” technology partner to the various stakeholders in this landscape, Elgibali said Mastercard is “doubling down” on its efforts in ensuring that this transition to digital is a smooth one.
“We are supporting SMEs as they look to offer their goods and services online, driving the ease of adopting contactless for consumers, and supporting the Qatari government in the digitisation of government services.
“While these efforts have always been core to Mastercard’s work in Qatar, the pandemic has undoubtedly demonstrated the importance of the digital economy and its ability to ensure sustainability and drive growth,” Elgibali said.
He noted, “The government of Qatar is committed to embracing digitisation to advance its economy and firmly believes that the future of government services in Qatar is also digital. This vision is at the heart of the public-private partnerships we are forging in the country as well as our efforts in growing digital payments usage and acceptance in Qatar.”
“In particular, our proprietary Payments Ecosystem Design & Development (PEDD) methodology helps governments systematically and effectively assess and capture the potential of payment digitisation and over the last several years, we have worked closely with the Qatari Government to roll-out solutions that empower businesses and people to streamline operations, find safer ways to pay, and ultimately improve their overall quality of life.”
Elgibali said a recent whitepaper Mastercard published in May, "Cashing out: Economic Growth through Payment Digitisation" found that countries that prioritise digitised payment economies are better placed to mitigate the associated adverse impact of unemployment, financial exclusion, fraud, theft, cost of cash, and corruption.
“Most recently, in light of Covid-19, we worked with the central bank in Qatar to increase the cardholder verification limit from QR100 to QR300, allowing people to make higher value contactless payments without having to touch the POS terminal keypad.”
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