About three quarters stated that they would like to know how security technology works to be able to trust digital payment methods

Survey corresponds with launch of Stay Secure consumer education campaign by Dubai Police, DET and Visa

Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Eighty-four percent (84%) of consumers said security of payment facility offered on a merchant website was the top reason they would choose to pay online with their cards rather than Cash on Delivery (COD), according to the 2022 Stay Secure survey conducted jointly by the Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) in Dubai and Visa. Guarantees their payment data would be protected (maintaining privacy) was second (64% of consumers) while price of goods or services was the least important consideration (17%) for choosing payment option.

The same trend was also observed in-store, wherein consumers ranked security of merchant’s payment facility (65%) as the topmost factor when considering digital payment options to pay for goods and services, followed by guarantees and return policies (49%) and safety and hygiene (45%).  Three out of four consumers surveyed have made a digital payment in the last month, and nearly half of respondents are using more digital payments in stores - especially contactless - and online since the onset of Covid-19.

Majority of consumers (79%) said they would switch stores or online shopping sites and apps, based on the payment methods offered, with most consumers indicating a strong preference for digital payments over cash.  The survey found that 34% of consumers prefer using cash for tipping at hotels, restaurants or tourist locations and utilities.

And while majority of consumers (70%) say they are confident about recognizing a fraud or scam, a third surveyed in the UAE still struggle in this area.

Data privacy and security is critical for consumers: What merchants can do 

A majority (85%) of respondents want to know how their personal information will be handled and protected before providing it to an eCommerce site. Additionally,

about three quarters stated that they would like to know how security technology works to be able to trust digital payment methods in general, reinforcing the importance of consumer education by payment industry stakeholders – financial institutions, payments companies and governments, to build consumer trust in digital payments.

Based on the survey findings, merchants can take the following steps to increase consumer trust and improve payment experience: disclosing measures to protect consumers' personal information, providing clear information about guarantees and refund options, and displaying logos/symbols of banking and payment partners.

Neil Fernandes, Visa's Head of Risk for Middle East and North Africa, commented: “That consumers value security more than price when it comes to how their personal data is handled are important insights for merchants looking to build and maintain consumer trust in their payment offerings. And the fact that a third of consumers are still unable to identify a potential fraud reinforces the need for all players in the payments ecosystem to continue to work together to ensure consumers are protected. Now in its seventh year, our Stay Secure campaign continues to be an important platform for Visa, Dubai Police, and the Department of Economy and Tourism in Dubai, to help educate consumers about payment security and support merchants in meeting the increasing need for secure, seamless digital payments both in-store and online.”

New payment trends


More than three quarters of (75%) consumers are familiar with BNPL (Buy Now Pay Later), of which over a third (33%) have used it in the past. An average of 65% said they would be likely to switch stores or online shopping sites or apps that offered a BNPL option, demonstrating the growing popularity of BNPL and the need for more retailers to consider offering new financing options.


Less than a quarter of respondents said they feel comfortable using newer forms of payment such as cryptocurrencies to pay for goods or services, while 17% of respondents were not aware of cryptocurrencies - indicating need for more consumer education and awareness before cryptocurrencies can evolve as a common and trusted form of payment in the UAE.

Stay Secure social media campaign

The survey corresponds with the launch of Visa's seventh annual "Stay Secure" social media campaign on Facebook and Instagram (@VisaMiddleEast, @DubaiPolicehq @Dubai_ded) in partnership with Dubai Police and DET. 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 UAE Stay Secure webpage  also includes fraud prevention tips for consumers and information on security features of digital payments.