UAE consumers increasingly trust digital payments over cash, according to latest Visa-DED security survey

  • 84% of surveyed consumers consider digital payments highly secure over cash
  • 92% of those customers preferring cash on delivery would pay by card if a mobile POS machine was available upon delivery

Dubai: The Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai, and the world’s leader in digital payments, Visa (NYSE: V), today launched ‘Stay Secure,’ a consumer education campaign that aims to promote safe digital payment (card and mobile) practices among UAE consumers. The Visa-DED 2019 campaign addresses consumer concerns and provides relevant tips and advice to help consumers protect themselves against payment-related frauds. This is the fourth successive year that DED and Visa have partnered on this initiative. Previously running for one week, this year’s campaign will run for one month.

Visa and DED surveyed consumers across the UAE regarding security of digital payments both online and in-store. According to the survey findings, UAE consumers are increasingly comfortable paying and transacting with cards overall (in-store and online), with 84% of respondents finding cards more secure than cash. Among online shoppers, specifically, 73% prefer paying by card driven by factors such as security (73%), budget management (58%), and spend rewards (52%). 87% of the respondents claimed to have started making more card payments online in the past two years.

For in-store transactions, security (75%), convenience (69%) and budget management (66%) were identified as being the top three drivers for consumer preference. The survey findings also noted that 82% of respondents trust digital wallets (contactless transactions with mobile) and 75% trust contactless cards.

Ahmad Al Zaabi, Director of Consumer Protection in the Commercial Compliance & Consumer Protection (CCCP) sector, DED, said: “The ’Stay Secure’ survey findings reveal that consumer confidence and trust in online shopping has significantly increased over the last few years, and in the coming years it is only going to expand further thanks to the rising adoption of digital wallets, arrival of better security technologies and modernization of eCommerce platforms. We are delighted to see our efforts with Visa translating into tangible outcomes and promoting digital commerce, particularly when Dubai reaffirms itself as a shopping destination of choice and accelerates its transition to a Smart City.”

Neil Fernandes, Visa’s Head of Risk for Middle East and North Africa, commented: “At a time when businesses and consumers are becoming more digital and the impact of new technologies is felt by everyone everywhere, security must remain at the forefront. If digital commerce is the way ahead then consumers need to feel secure about using it. One of the ways we are doing this is by continuing with our mission of educating consumers on digital payments and making them aware of the multi-layered security that is in place to protect their card data.” 

He added: “We are delighted to see our efforts paying off as evident with the positive results of our survey indicating improvement in consumer confidence in transacting digitally using digital wallets and contactless cards. As our partner in this initiative, DED has played a key role in imparting knowledge among consumers and fueling the growth of digital commerce through new initiatives – all of which are catalysts in accelerating UAE’s digital transformation and movement towards a cashless future.”

Achieving Higher Customer Conversion Rates

An important finding that emerged from the survey and one for retailers to take note of was offering card payment option (mobile POS) upon product delivery could help with converting Cash on Delivery (COD) customers into digital payers. According to the survey, 92% of those customers preferring COD would pay by card if a mobile POS machine was available upon delivery.

Visa’s survey also provides insights on how online merchants can tackle consumer security concerns and encourage more shoppers to use their sites. Consumers prioritized the following factors when transacting on an online platform: visibility of logos of payment providers & trust badges (63%); providing strong customer service (61%); displaying customer reviews (49%); and displaying SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates (35%) on the sites.

Consumer Security Measures

Consumers prefer dynamic, one-time passwords (OTPs) for authenticating digital transactions compared, driven by more familiarity / usage and the fact it is provided by their own bank – with 42% claiming to prefer it and 44% considering it is more secure compared to fingerprint scanning (20%), captcha (12%), iris scanning (13%), facial recognition (7%) and voice recognition (2%). This is an opportunity for online retailers to partner with Visa to adopt Verified by Visa, an authentication protocol for shoppers that uses OTPs to ensure payments are made by the rightful owner of the Visa account.

Digital wallets for contactless payments are protected by multiple layers of security, so shoppers can use these new payment technologies both in-store and online with the comfort that they are secure. Visa’s tokenization technology, for example, replaces card data, including the 16-digit card number, with a “token”, a random number, to protect cardholders’ account information. During the transaction, the token is submitted instead of the actual card information. Digital wallets, such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay, are enabled by Visa tokenization, meaning shoppers have a safe and seamless experience whether paying in person or online. Visa also recommends consumers protect their mobile phones with passcode and biometrics as an added layer of protection for mobile payments.

The Visa-DED Stay Secure campaign will run for one month on  Facebook (@VisaMiddleEast and @DubaiDED) and Instagram (@visamiddleeast and @dubai_ded). Consumers can also visit the Stay Secure campaign page to learn more about digital payments security.

To read the full Visa-DED Stay Secure survey, please click here.


About Visa’s MENA research on Consumer Attitudes and Behavior Towards Card Security, 2019
Over 450 people were interviewed for 15 minutes each in February 2019, comprising UAE citizens (16%), expat Arabs (34%), expat Asians (46%) and Westerners (3%). 66% of the respondents were men and 34% were women. Respondents lived in Dubai (62%), Abu Dhabi (24%), Sharjah (10%) and other emirates (4%). Each had a banking relationship in the country of residence and was a user of payment cards – having made at least one online payment in the past six months. Research was conducted by 4SiGHT Research & Analytics.

About Visa Inc.
Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) is the world’s leader in digital payments. Our mission is to connect the world through the most innovative, reliable and secure payment network – enabling individuals, businesses and economies to thrive. Our advanced global processing network, VisaNet, provides secure and reliable payments around the world, and is capable of handling more than 65,000 transaction messages a second. The company’s relentless focus on innovation is a catalyst for the rapid growth of connected commerce on any device, and a driving force behind the dream of a cashless future for everyone, everywhere.  As the world moves from analog to digital, Visa is applying our brand, products, people, network and scale to reshape the future of commerce. For more information, visit ,  or follow us on Twitter @Visamiddleeast.

For further information, please contact:
Dhanya Issac | Marianne Möller
asda’a bcw – Dubai, UAE
E-mail: ; 
Telephone: 971-4-450-7600

© Press Release 2019


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