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Digitizing the future of payment requires constant innovation

Experts at the Impact Council say innovation is the enabler of seamless digital payments transformation in the region.

Digitizing the future of payment requires constant innovation
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

In the Middle East, the payment industry is of budding innovations going mainstream. It’s an exciting evolution for customers and companies as they adapt to new and advanced technologies, whether cryptocurrency or Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL). 

On Wednesday, Fast Company Middle East’s Impact Council sub-committee on the Future of Payments, in partnership with Amazon Payment Services, gathered industry leaders to explore the latest trends and innovations in payment technology, including the impact on businesses, consumers, and the wider economy. As new payment innovations pop up, so do bad actors, and so businesses are tasked with innovating to meet evolving consumer expectations without compromising that all-important trust.

The pandemic has catalyzed the digitization of payments, and consumers expect frictionless, personalized experiences.

“It’s essential that we create a frictionless experience for our customers so that we take the trouble out of paying. We should offer many choices to customers and make it easy so that they continue using digital forms of payment,” said Sandeep Gomes, Regional Head of Merchant Acquiring of UAE and Emerging Markets at Amazon Payment Services.

The payment revolution is getting compressed within a very short time: digitization, new payment types, and formats, but also new options for customers who have been underserved. This shift has also pushed cryptocurrencies and NFTs.

Ahmad Khair, Director of Digital Marketing & E-commerce of Five Hotels and Resorts, reaffirmed that cryptocurrencies are not going away anytime soon, and businesses must equip themselves with the necessary tools to meet customer expectations. ”We all need to adapt this new technology to fulfill the customer demands and grow within the market.”


A larger segment of the population is lagging in adopting digital payments due to reliance on cash on delivery, resulting in issues within logistics companies, said Arham Khan, Co-founder of Moover Global. He stressed that ensuring customer education to build trust in digital modes of payment is necessary. 

“Customers in this region are concerned about being cheated. If merchants want to build trust and ensure that more people can adopt online payments like credit cards or any other form, there needs to be a campaign through the government or service providers to educate the customers and build more trust.” 

Businesses should be head-first in tackling digital payments and be fearless of the constant technological changes. “Change is the only constant phenomena, and in the current world, disruption is the new change, and we are here to adopt it,” said Tamil Selvan Ramadoss, Group CFO & Business Transformation officer at RMB Holdings.

Imagination, persistence, and integrity are vital, but for the past decade, “innovation” has been a leading battle cry in the payment industry. Corporate leaders have continually been told that the only way to grow is to innovate and disrupt the industries or their companies. 

Market-creating disruption is essential, Alaa El Huni, Chief Business Officer of CAFU, pointed out. “Don’t be scared of breaking the model; don’t be scared of breaking the mold.” 

The future of payments in securing the power of technology holds tremendous potential for the industry while benefiting organizations. However, as Habeeb Furqan, Founder and CEO of Kapturise, says, “Potential is only good until a certain amount of time. It should then turn into productivity. If not, what’s the point?”

The Impact Council leaders meet multiple times yearly to address the most significant opportunities and pressing challenges. These gatherings provide a platform for networking and collaborative idea generation, fostering connections among some of the most brilliant minds in the industry.

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