Qatar has been witnessing a major shift from traditional to electronic payments, with merchants making more transactions via mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) compared to traditional POS setups. Two factors – cost efficiency and technological advancements – are expected to drive growth in the use of mPOS devices among merchants and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Qatar, says Rahul Joshi, Visa country manager.
“Apart from mobility, other advantages of mPOS include low-cost smartphones, no landline costs and no hassles caused by power outages, especially in developing countries,” explains Joshi, adding that mPOS eliminates transaction hassles, especially in businesses that require customers to pay in cash such as taxis, home delivery, courier services and petrol stations, among others.”
“Merchants who do not see any value from the traditional setup will find mPOS more attractive not from a mobility point of view but because of low cost. Moreover, it is even commercially viable for banks to put up mPOS machines even when volume is less making it beneficial to new start-ups.”
Qatar’s payment industry also has a high potential for growth. According to VisaNet data, cardholder spending in Qatar was mainly directed towards government services, retail and supermarkets. VisaNet data recorded 3Q 2014 indicated that debit cards accounted for about three-fourths of all Visa cards in circulation in Qatar, which means the credit card business in Qatar still holds untapped potential. “Additionally, one out of every three dollars on a Visa credit card issued in Qatar is spent internationally, with retail emerging as the top followed by hotel accommodation. This also indicates growing share of travel expenses, cross-border purchases and e-commerce volumes,” Joshi reveals.
“Visa card usage in Qatar is growing at a consistent, promising pace, although cardholders in this market are still largely skewed towards our debit products. With international spending on the rise, and a promising outlook for e-commerce in the region, we expect Qatar to register strong growth in credit card acceptance and use in the coming years,” he concludes.