Why Middle Eastern CIOs need to embrace fintech and digital payment trends

Fintech opens up opportunities for businesses to innovate and expand operations as Middle Eastern consumers increasingly shop online and utilise digital payment systems including QR codes and digital wallets. .

Conceptual abstract of digital transactions / online banking / open banking / FinTech
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Across the Middle East, banking and payment preferences are changing at an unprecedented pace. CIOs and other technology executives need to keep up with these trends, as fintech (financial technology) and various forms of digital payment services are opening up opportunities for businesses to innovate, expand operations and enter new markets.

A record 95% of consumers in the Middle East will consider using technology like contactless, biometric, or QR payments within the next year, according to the Mastercard New Payments Index global survey.

“As the demand for emerging payments and choice continues, it requires a wider range of payment solutions, insights, and products to meet the accelerating enthusiasm for the future state of play,” says Pankaj Asthaana, vice president of digital payments at Mastercard Middle East. “With huge investments in 5G, the advancement of real-time payment infrastructure, and growing smart city amenities in several GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] countries, there is enormous scope for new open finance mechanisms and the wider adoption of new payment methods.”

Research indicates that this shift will be permanent. Ninety percent of payment practitioners interviewed in McKinsey’s “The Future of Payments in the Middle East” survey predict that at least half of consumers enjoy the safety, convenience, and added value of digital payments so much that they will not revert to cash again in the future.

Twenty-five percent of Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) investment deals belonged to the fintech sector in 2021, thanks to business-friendly regulations in the GCC. Market Data Forecast found that Middle East investment in fintech is expected to soar to US$3.45 billion in the next five years.

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