economies such as Qatar’s are slowly ac-cepting mobile as a primary means o pay-ment. Where there is a traditional relianceon cash or even a historical attachment toa national currency and an existing nan-cial inrastructure, adoption o cashlessmicropayments tends to remain relatively low. Consumers are slow to change theirpayment habits, or the payment methodsthey inherently trust.“The Middle East is largely a cash-basedsociety,” says MasterCard President orthe Middle East and Arica (MEA) MichaelMiebach. “Consumers tend to take out cashor their daily purchases out o sheer habit.This leads to 90% o transactions in thispart o the world taking place via cash orcheques. Central banks and governmentsaround the world are increasingly lookingat this issue as they realise that cash trans-actions are actually quite inecient andcostly. Multiple studies estimate the cost o cash to be 0.5% to 1.5% o a country’s grossdomestic product (GDP).”These gures may show the region tobe lagging behind the developed world,but there are real signs o progress. Whilegrowth in the number o credit cards ispretty much at in the MEA region, debitcards are growing in double digits and pre-paid cards are growing at close to tripledigits. As ar as transactions are concerned,debit is growing twice as ast as credit, whileprepaid is growing nearly eight times asterthan debit.“This trend can be attributed to a num-ber o actors,” says Miebach, “like tighterlending limits by banks ollowing the globalcrisis. In all markets globally, the electronicpayments cycle tends to start with creditcards, beore the introduction o debit andprepaid, so while credit is maturing in many MEA markets, debit and prepaid starts roma low base. Consumers are starting to preerthe better control on their personal nanc-es that is oered by debit and prepaid. They are also now getting more aware o the ben-ets and appeal o prepaid or giting, travel,purchases by children.”
Emerging markets will drive growth
“The importance o the region stems romthe act that consumers in emerging mar-kets will drive value creation and growth inthe global economy over the coming years,marking a major shit in global consump-tion rom West to East,” explains Miebach.MasterCard’s “Insights” report
Con-sumer Spending Outlook and Value Creationin the New Global Economy
shows that be-tween 2012 and 2016, emerging markets will add an average o $1.2 trillion (QR4.36trillion) o consumer spending to the glob-al economy per year, whereas developedmarkets will add only around $700 billion(QR2.55 trillion).“And as we all know, the MEA region isbecoming a very important player withinthe emerging economies,” he adds.
Payment solutions in Qatar
Worldwide mobile payment transaction values were expected to be $171.5 billion(QR624 billion) in 2012, a 61.9% increaserom 2011 values o $105.9 billion (QR386billion), according to Gartner Inc., a lead-ing inormation technology research andadvisory company; the number o mobilepayment users would reach 212.2 millionin 2012, up rom 160.5 million in 2011. Mo-bile phone penetration in Qatar is currently
out on Cash
The world is moving Towards a cashless socieTy. noTes andcoins represenT only 3% of sweden’s economy, compared wiTh an average of 9% in The eurozone and 7% in The us.however, 90% of paymenTs are made wiTh cash or chequesin The mena region. smarTphones are also paving The way To a mobile paymenTs revoluTion. so is a cashless socieTy jusT around The corner?