Payments technology company Visa rolled out its 'Click to Pay' service in the Middle East on Wednesday, aimed at allowing its customers to make quick and secure online payments.
The Click to Pay icon will be displayed on participating merchants’ websites and consumers who opt to use it will not have to fill out forms giving details such as their card number, password or shipping address to make purchases.
"Whenever the consumer sees Click to Pay icon next to our logo, it means that merchant is connected with Visa … that merchant can access the users' data saved remotely with us," Hadi Raad, vice president and head of digital solutions for Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa at Visa, told The National.
To ensure that customers’ data is safe, the US-based company is using tokenisation technology that replaces a user’s 16-digit account number with a secure token that protects the underlying card number from fraudsters.
“[The] actual card number will not be shared with the merchants … only a token will be shared that will work only in the context of [a] Click to Pay transaction. Moreover, customers will decide on their own whether to use this service or not,” said Mr Raad.
Click to Pay will save customers time and minimise the scope for “errors and frictions in online purchases”, he added.
“Online transactions involve many frictions as customers need to manually put details on different merchants’ sites. There are cases when they make mistakes and abandon the purchase in-between or move to other merchants, causing a loss to the business.”
First launched in the US in October last year, Click to Pay had more than 10,000 merchants registered by January.
In the Middle East, the service is beginning in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar. Other regional markets will follow soon, said Mr Raad.
“We have plans to expand but I cannot give the timeline. Eventually, we want this experience to become a global standard.
“Hundreds of regional merchants have already opted for this service”, he added, without disclosing an exact number. Some of the early adopters include Emirates, Etisalat, Freedom Pizza and Kcal.
Mr Raad said that Visa is expecting a strong response from customers as many more people are opting for online shopping due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
A Visa-commissioned survey last month revealed that more consumers are shopping online, with two-thirds of UAE consumers making their first online grocery purchase during the outbreak, and 70 per cent making their first online purchase from pharmacies.
Visa is also working with other payment service providers in the region such as Checkout.com, Noon payments and PayGate in a bid to streamline payment processes.
It will provide a “seamless interface for consumers and we are excited to bring it to our merchants”, said Sebastian Reis, executive vice president, global e-commerce at Checkout.com.
“This will empower our merchants to get more value out of every transaction,” he added.