Kuwait City, Kuwait, 13 July 2021: Consumers in Kuwait are increasingly stepping away from cash and putting their trust in digital payments in both in-store and online environments during the pandemic, according to the 2021 Stay Secure survey launched today by Visa, and the Kuwait Banking Association (KBA).
Cash is unlikely to return to its previous high level of use
According to the study, the use of cash in Kuwait 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 by 88%, while the use of digital payments (chip & PIN + contactless cards + mobile wallets) for payment online or on delivery has grown by 50%. Consumer feedback reinforces the belief that there is no reversal of this trend, with 41% of consumers saying they are less likely to use COD and 38% are more likely to use contactless payment methods in the future.
Trust driving consumer preference in contactless and digital payments, but some concerns remain
Close to half of the consumers (more than 40%) surveyed have high level of confidence in digital payments (contactless cards, mobile wallets and QR Payments) for shopping in-store, an increase since the start of the pandemic. Top reasons consumers gave for their trust in contactless include speed (43%), avoiding human touch (37%), convenience (37%), control (the card or mobile never leaves consumer’s hand during transaction) (34%) and wide acceptance (33%).
Knowledge of the technology that protects digital payments is a driver of consumer trust. Among consumers who trust digital payments, half (49%) said their knowledge and understanding of how their digital payments are protected by innovative technologies such as tokenization has helped, helps them feel secure about cashless options. These findings reinforce the importance of continual education on safe digital payment practices among consumers to maintain their trust.
Consumers' experience with fraud
The survey also sheds light on consumers' experiences with fraud, with few consumers surveyed in Kuwait (1 in 10) admitting they have experienced an online fraud attempt. About a quarter (26%) have experienced receiving counterfeit goods, non-receipt of goods (23%) and phishing (20%). In the event of fraud, deleting online profile (73%) and posting on social media (53%), informing the bank (47%) are the most important actions consumers are likely to take. As a testament to the trust consumers have in local law enforcement, over a third of Kuwaiti consumers (41%) said they would contact the authorities in the event of fraud.
Dr. Hamad Al-Hasawi, Kuwait Banking Association Secretary General, commented “Kuwaiti banks were proactive in adopting modern financial technologies, and continue to provide complete and distinguished services to meet the needs of its customers. Corona pandemic proved that, as safe and easy-to-use electronic banking services provided to customers, were not interrupted even during periods of full curfew. Kuwaiti banks are well aware of the challenges posed by the spread of financial technology, and are investing large sums of money in this field and are continuing to develop their systems, in addition to conducting customer awareness campaigns to ensure protection of their data confidentiality as well as their money. I am very pleased with the continuous cooperation between Kuwait banking Association and Visa for the fourth year in a row in the awareness campaign "Stay Secure", and glad to see that the results of the study confirm the success of the banking sector's approach in the field of digital transformation.”
Neil Fernandes, Visa's Head of Risk for Middle East and North Africa, commented, "As our survey results indicate, Kuwait consumers have fully embraced digital payments in the COVID-19 era but that does not come without risks. As consumers shift online, fraudsters have sought opportunities to exploit these changes in how people pay for goods and services. This is why constant consumer education is so much more important than ever before. The fact that majority consumers surveyed would contact banks and law enforcement in the event of fraud is a credit to the diligent efforts of our partners in Kuwait who are committed to keeping consumers safe and empowering them to use digital payments and online channels with confidence. However, as an industry we cannot afford to let our guard down. Our ongoing Stay Secure campaign is our effort in bringing together all participants in the payments ecosystem to work together to advance efforts to educate consumers on how to stay vigilant, identify potential fraud, and what actions they should take if they are affected."
The survey corresponds with the launch of Visa's fourth annual "Stay Secure" social media campaign on Facebook and Instagram (@VisaMiddleEast, @KBAOnline), this year in partnership with Kuwait Banking Association. 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 Kuwait Stay Secure webpage also includes fraud prevention tips for consumers and information on security features of digital payments.