While almost four in ten UAE consumers have experienced online fraud attempts in the past year, trust and usage of digital payments both in-store and online see no signs of ceasing as consumers still prefer them over cash, citing improved technology, and security measures as reasons why they still feel more secure with these methods of payment. These findings were revealed in the 2021 Stay Secure survey conducted by Visa, Dubai Police, and Dubai Economy (DED), according to a joint press release.
According to the study, the use of cash in the UAE continues to decline. While eCommerce and contactless payments have increased in popularity and use since the start of the pandemic, paying by Cash on Delivery (COD) has declined significantly (75 percent), while the use of digital payments (contactless cards and mobile wallets) for payment online or on delivery has almost doubled (by an average of 98 percent). Consumer feedback reinforces the belief that there is no reversal of this trend, with 40 percent of consumers saying they are less likely to use COD and 45 percent are more likely to use contactless payment methods in the future.
Nearly two-thirds of consumers (63 percent) have high level of confidence in digital payments (contactless cards and mobile wallets) for shopping in-store and payment on delivery, an increase since the start of the pandemic. Top reasons consumers gave for their trust in contactless include convenience (60 percent), speed (59 percent), control (the card or mobile never leaves consumer’s hand during transaction) (46 percent), avoiding human touch (56 percent) and innovative way to pay (48 percent).
Biometrically-verified payments – such as mobile wallets – also scored high with 67 percent consumers saying it is secure, and 60 percent saying it gives them complete control as it never leaves their hand in a transaction and eliminates the hassle of having to remember passwords.
Knowledge of the technology that protects digital payments is a driver of consumer trust. Among consumers who trust digital payments, a majority (52 percent) said having knowledge of underlying security technologies that protect digital payments, such as tokenization, helps build their confidence in cashless options.
Those who do not have adequate levels of knowledge of the technology, still have lagging doubts about the safety of digital payments. For example, 47 percent fear misuse of lost or stolen contactless cards mostly due to a lack of understanding of how the technology work (27 percent). These findings reinforce the importance of continual education on safe digital payment practices among consumers to maintain their trust.
The survey also sheds light on consumers’ experiences with fraud, with 39 percent of UAE consumers surveyed admitting they have experienced an online fraud attempt. Around a quarter of consumers (27 percent) have experienced phishing, while just under a fifth have experienced credit card fraud (19 percent) and receiving counterfeit goods (17 percent). In the event of fraud, informing the bank (67 percent) or customer service (58 percent) and changing their password/PIN (72 percent) are the most important actions consumers are likely to take. As a testament to the trust consumers have in local law enforcement, half of UAE consumers said they would contact the authorities in the event of fraud.
The survey corresponds with the launch of Visa’s sixth annual Stay Secure social media campaign on Facebook and Instagram in partnership with Dubai Police and DED. The campaign reinforces safe digital payment practices and reminds consumers on how they can protect personal data even as they enjoy the benefits and convenience of eCommerce and contactless payments. The UAE Stay Secure webpage also includes fraud prevention tips for consumers and information on security features of digital payments.