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While most consumers (70 per cent) say they are confident about recognising a fraud or scam, a third surveyed in the UAE still struggle in this area. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: A large majority of UAE’s consumers have growing concerns about cybersecurity and privacy when making card payments online.

Around 84 per cent of consumers said security of payment facility offered on a merchant website was the top reason they would choose to pay online with their cards rather than cash on delivery (COD), according to a survey conducted jointly by the Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) in Dubai and Visa.

“That consumers value security more than price when it comes to how their personal data is handled are important insights for merchants looking to build and maintain consumer trust in their payment offerings,” said Neil Fernandes, Visa’s Head of Risk for Middle East, and North Africa.

“And the fact that a third of consumers are still unable to identify a potential fraud reinforces the need for all players in the payments ecosystem to continue to work together to ensure consumers are protected,” said Fernandes.

For consumers, guarantees that their payment data would be protected was second (64 per cent of consumers), while price of goods or services was the least important consideration (17 per cent) for choosing payment options.

The same trend was also observed in-store, wherein consumers ranked security of merchant’s payment facility (65 per cent) as the topmost factor when considering digital payment options to pay for goods and services, followed by guarantees and return policies (49 per cent) and safety and hygiene (45 per cent). Three out of four consumers surveyed have made a digital payment in the last month, and nearly half of respondents are using more digital payments in stores - especially contactless - and online since the onset of Covid-19.

Majority of consumers (79 per cent) said they would switch stores or online shopping sites and apps, based on the payment methods offered, with most consumers indicating a strong preference for digital payments over cash. The survey found that 34 per cent of consumers prefer using cash for tipping at hotels, restaurants or tourist locations and utilities.

While most consumers (70 per cent) say they are confident about recognising a fraud or scam, a third surveyed in the UAE still struggle in this area.

Key observations of the '2022 Stay Secure Survey' Image Credit: Vijith Pulikkal/Gulf News

Enhancing protection

A majority (85 per cent) of respondents want to know how their personal information will be handled and protected before providing it to an eCommerce site. Additionally, about three quarters stated that they would like to know how security technology works to be able to trust digital payment methods in general, reinforcing the importance of consumer education by payment industry stakeholders – financial institutions, payments companies and governments, to build consumer trust in digital payments.

The survey said that merchants can take the following steps to increase consumer trust and improve payment experience: disclosing measures to protect consumers’ personal information, providing clear information about guarantees and refund options, and displaying logos or symbols of banking and payment partners.

New payment options

More than three quarters of (75 per cent) consumers are familiar with BNPL (Buy Now Pay Later), of which over a third (33 per cent) have used it in the past. An average of 65 per cent said they would be likely to switch stores or online shopping sites or apps that offered a BNPL option.

Paying in crypto

Less than a quarter of respondents said they feel comfortable using newer forms of payment such as cryptocurrencies to pay for goods or services, while 17 per cent of respondents were not aware of cryptocurrencies - indicating need for more consumer education and awareness before cryptocurrencies can evolve as a common and trusted form of payment in the UAE.