Payment security key to winning consumer loyalty in MENA

Payment security key to winning consumer loyalty in MENA

The adoption of digital commerce in MENA has skyrocketed over the past few years. Countries that were once deeply attached to cash and physical transactions have shot to digital maturity in just a few years. According to’s 4th annual MENA ecommerce report, The State of Digital Commerce in MENA 2024, 91% of the region’s consumers have reported shopping e-commerce in the past two years. The number of people who shop online in MENA at least once per day has grown by 80% since 2020, with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia leading the way with a staggering 90% increase.

In response to evolving consumer demands, merchants across MENA are embarking on ambitious digitization journeys and adopting innovative payment strategies. As digital commerce moves beyond the early-adoption phase, the focus is shifting toward fine tuning performance. In doing so, strengthening payment security has become a top priority.

As innovation stimulates advancements in the payment industry, fraudsters don’t rest on laurels, further sophisticating their own scam methods and tricks. Furthermore, the very aspects of e-commerce that make it an enticing prospect for consumers – speed, convenience, and anonymity – also work in cybercriminals’ favor. Because the e-commerce ecosystem includes multiple stakeholders, the retailer, the customer, the processor, and the networks, fraudsters have multiple potential access points that they can exploit.

According to Remo Giovanni Abbondandolo, General Manager – MENA at, ecommerce fraud can take many forms, such as criminals using stolen credit card numbers to make purchases, transaction replays, and chargeback fraud. The diverse and complex nature of e-commerce fraud emphasizes the importance of vigilance and secure practices merchants must adopt to avoid such incidents.

But it’s not just the initial financial loss that merchants need to be concerned about. Falling prey to ecommerce fraud can damage customer trust and the company’s reputation. Alarmingly, 33% of MENA consumers say they have been a victim of payments fraud. According to The State of Digital Commerce in MENA 2024 report, safe and secure checkout is now a priority for 39% of MENA consumers. In contrast, in 2020, survey respondents placed the highest value on speedy delivery.

Furthermore, up to 30% of shoppers have said a single falsely declined payment- when a payment is declined despite the payee having sufficient funds in the account, would lead them to shop from a competitor’s website. With the cost of customer acquisition for e-commerce merchants having increased, a rise in falsely declined payments adds insult to injury. This makes high-performing acceptance solutions a matter of huge competitive importance in MENA.

To this point, it’s important to mention that the region also continues to see a relatively high number of false declined payments. According to’s latest report, 23% of respondents experienced a falsely declined payment in recent months. In today’s fast-paced digital economy, consumers are also less patient, less loyal, and more savvy than before.

Shoppers want to know their payment is being handled by a safe and reliable partner. The good news for merchants is that fortifying payments security is a much simpler task than dealing with widespread data breaches.

In this context, Abbondandolo outlines effective strategies that merchants in MENA can adopt to minimize payment fraud and false declines, thereby enhancing consumer trust and loyalty.

Choose a trusted partner
Partnering with a regulated payments service provider (PSP) that offers acquiring capabilities, advanced technology support, and comprehensive regional regulatory expertise can significantly bolster a business’s security measures against fraud. Regulated PSPs provide acceptance solutions that enhance payment processes through optimized messaging, routing, and retries, ensuring robust security and seamless transactions throughout. Furthermore, because fraudsters have no boundaries, partnering with a regulated global PSPs with local experience offers advanced technology solutions that include real-time fraud detection systems that are trained on detecting the most advanced global fraud scams and techniques. By analyzing transactional data in milliseconds, identifying suspicious patterns and behaviors that may indicate fraudulent activity.

By partnering with a regulated PSP that offers acquiring capabilities and advanced technology support, businesses can benefit from a holistic approach to fraud prevention and payment security.

Harness the power of embedded AI
Regional merchants are increasingly safeguarding their businesses from fraud by leveraging a combination of tools and machine learning. Advanced payment technology empower merchants to seamlessly integrate fraud detection solutions into their platforms, without requiring additional set up. Meanwhile, AI is now trained on billions of global transactions, with merchants benefitting from a global network effect that allows them to analyze vast amounts of data to detect patterns, anomalies and emerging fraud like never before.

Minimizing fraud and improving performance in payment processing are closely intertwined goals that can significantly impact a business’s bottom line and customer satisfaction. When a business effectively reduces fraud, it tends to experience several concurrent benefits that contribute to overall performance enhancement.

Our merchants in the region have been benefiting from a whole new level of payment performance with Intelligent Acceptance. This product combines advanced Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, vast network data, and deep payment expertise to increase conversion and unlock untapped revenue. We have already recovered $1.1 billion of revenue, and increased acceptance rates on average by 2% for globally.

Make data work for you
Research conducted by alongside Oxford Economics found that $50.7 billion was lost due to false declines in recent years. Large data sets can empower merchants to track and respond to customer payment trends with laser accuracy in real-time. Here we have seen the great benefit from Intelligent Acceptance that draws on insights from these data sets to deliver a whole new level of payment performance, increasing conversion and unlocking untapped revenue, as well as Network Tokens that have helped our merchants achieve higher authorization rates, reduced fraud and allow businesses to offer an improved customer experience, while keeping customers data

Looking ahead, half of all shoppers in MENA anticipate an increase in their online spending over the next 12 months. Abbondandolo believes that MENA merchants still have significant untapped opportunity to combat fraud, reduce false declines and their overall payments costs, while increasing their revenue. As consumers increasingly embrace digital shopping and payments, optimizing every aspect of the ecommerce experience remains crucial for merchants to capitalize on this growing trend.

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