The Middle East is one of the fastest growing e-commerce markets in the world, according to BMI research. This year’s sale figures are expected to double by 2020. The biggest trend in the e-commerce market, is mobile payments. It seems that the region went from offline and shot straight to mobile, almost bypassing online altogether. The online payment options in the Middle East are quite different to other areas of the world. A payment gateway is an e-commerce application that authorises online payments. It is the online version of a card machine that you would find at a shop till. All sales websites must choose a programme that is safe and reliable, as it will store sensitive customer data and will deal with any payment disputes and refunds.
PayFort, an Amazon company, is renowned as the most trusted payment gateway in the Middle East. Amazon has been making its presence increasingly known throughout the region and is expected to remain a key player. PayFort has low set-up fees, making it a popular choice for small to medium businesses. It offers a “Redirection” gateway (often referred to as off-site), meaning your customers will be automatically redirected to the PayFort site to complete the transaction. This process is somewhat lengthy and can lead to customers dropping off without completing their transaction. The other option is to choose a “Merchant Page” setting, where the customer stays on the website and a small PayFort inline frame (which stays in keeping with your website) to process the transaction. This is often the better choice as it feels like a straightforward and trustworthy transaction. Keeping transactions on-site leads to a higher rate of completed purchases. It offers auto-schedule online payments for recurring bookings (such as monthly subscriptions). Payfort also offers add-ons, such as fraud protection schemes at an additional cost.
Paypal is recognised and trusted throughout the world. It is currently in six countries in the Middle East and Gulf regions. Paypal allows international online payments, accepting 25 different currencies. Unlike Payfort, where fraud protection is purchased as an add-on, Paypal provides it built in already. They offer options for small businesses which has a templated checkout process. This accepts both card and Paypal accounts. Their medium business alternative is exclusively for Paypal online payments and results in fewer clicks at the checkout.
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