Most Saudi consumers prefer payment with mobile phones

Mobile phones are the preferred device for making payments for a majority of consumers (68%) in Saudi Arabia. (Reuters)

Mobile phones are the preferred device for making payments for a majority of consumers (68 percent) in Saudi Arabia, the new Mastercard Impact of Innovation Study reveals. Tablets and ID cards follow at 35 percent and 26 percent respectively, indicating a growing shift towards innovative payment methods among consumers in the country. Codes received via SMS are the most common form of authentication for Saudi consumers, ranking ahead of PIN codes and fingerprint scan.

The Mastercard Impact of Innovation Study surveyed 23,000 consumers in 23 different countries across the Middle East, Africa and Europe about their attitudes to digital technology. The study was released on the sidelines of the Mastercard Innovation Forum 2016, which opened today in Budapest, Hungary with the participation of more than 500 attendees from the Middle East and Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine.

“The Mastercard Impact of Innovation Study provides a clear indication that consumers in Saudi Arabia are ready to embrace digital innovations and are increasingly seeking better ways to pay,” said Khalid Elgibali, Division President for Middle East and North Africa, Mastercard. “Mobile phones are becoming the go-to device for consumers for online activities, and this trend will gather further momentum as smartphone penetration and Internet usage rates in the Kingdom keep climbing and new technologies and innovations emerge at a rapid pace.”

In general, consumers in Saudi Arabia have a positive attitude towards digitalization and its impact on their lives. Nearly four-fifth of respondents believe that digital services will be used by more people and spread to more areas of life, although the ratio of respondents who think that digital services will remain a privilege of a smaller group is also relatively high.

Smartphones are the most commonly used device among Saudi consumers, followed by laptops and personal computers. The proliferation of technology is increasingly moving banking relationships to the digital domain, with 51 percent of consumers using online banking via web browser, while 44 percent rely on their smartphone app for their banking needs.

Bank account security is the top priority for Saudi consumers when it comes to digital payments, followed by the security of their personal data.

Public transport, healthcare and education were cited as the top areas for improvement in terms of digital services availability, while around a third of respondents felt there was on over-emphasis on technological solutions in areas like networking and traveling.

The study showed that the level of digitalization in Saudi Arabia is strongly influenced by household income. Consumers who actively use and promote new technology typically have a higher yearly income, while as much as 46 percent of resistant consumers were in the lowest income category.

People in the Middle East and Africa were generally found to demand more innovation in all areas. Four out of five (80 percent) consumers across markets said there is enough innovation in social networking, global travel, shopping and financial services. Consumers however want more digital innovation in healthcare, public education and public transport.

Almost two-thirds (60 percent) across regions think digital innovations are a good thing, and have a positive outlook on the future of technology. Only 5 percent of people say they think digital innovations are having a negative impact.

The study results also indicate that consumers who live in technologically less developed countries tend to be more enthusiastic about digital innovation than in markets where it is readily available. Western Europe has the largest ratio of those resistant to digital change (17 percent), while Central and Eastern European countries and those in the Middle East and Africa have the highest number who actively embrace new technology.

This article was first published by the Saudi Gazette on October 3, 2016.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:49 - GMT 06:49
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