American multinational financial services company Visa’s Back to Business report has revealed that 97 percent of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in the UAE have adopted new forms of digital payment technology by the end of last year, while compared to the global average of 83 percent.
According to the reports, this trend is anticipated to continue in 2021 as customers search for safer and easier payment options due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than four out of five (86 percent) UAE SMBs expect consumers to continue to use mainly contactless payments, even after a vaccine becomes widely available.
The report found that 44 percent of UAE businesses had only begun providing contactless payments for the first time, whereas around the same percent started to offer the service even before.
SMBs are similar in terms of size and features to SMEs but vary by employment, with the former often relying on part-time employees or outsourced staff and the latter employing full-time workers.
“While there has been a sudden surge in eCommerce and digital payments due to the impact of COVID-19, our report suggests that these trends will continue to prevail in 2021, even as the vaccines become more widely available in the country and the wider region. We believe 2021 will place greater attention [on] security and fraud, and [the] trial of more emerging digital commerce tools that can help SMBs in the UAE thrive.”
The US company surveyed 250 small business owners at companies with 100 or fewer employees in Brazil, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Russia, Singapore, the UAE, and the US. Visa also surveyed more than 1,500 adults in these areas to know about buying habits.
According to the survey report on buying habits, UAE customers are the least likely to increase the amount of time they spend shopping in person (37 percent, compared to 53 percent globally) after a vaccine is widely available, and 47 percent of the buyers commented that they will not shop from a store that does not offer a contactless way to do the payment.