The UAE’s online shopping platform, Noon is moving completely to cashless delivery services to minimise the chance of spreading the deadly coronavirus.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) had earlier advised the public to ditch the habit of using cash where possible and take advantage of contactless technology instead, as paper bills are believed to be a source of virus transmission.
Since the onset of the coronavirus outbreak, Noon said it has seen an increase in home deliveries in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. To minimise the exposure of customers to the virus, and to ensure the safety of its delivery personnel, the e-commerce retailer said it has fully shifted to cashless transactions.
“We are experiencing elevated levels of demand on the platform, as well as increased levels of concern from customers regarding the safety of their online deliveries,” noted Faraz Khalid, CEO of Noon.
“To alleviate this concern and to safeguard our delivery agents, we have shifted to a card-only payment model in the UAE,” said Khalid.
Khalid said they have also moved “a vast majority” of their product catalog to card-only payment option as well.
The company backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund and Kuwait’s retail group MH Alshaya also said it is partnering with Visa to offer new customers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia a 10 percent discount when they pay online using their Visa card.
According to Visa’s research, more than two-thirds of consumers in both countries now prefer to use cards over cash when shopping online. “They find [cards] more secure and convenient,” said Marcello Baricordi, Visa’s general manager for the Middle East and North Africa (Mena).
The payment landscape in the country has been changing, with the entry of fintech firms and the introduction of more options, like mobile wallets or contactless technology or tap-to-pay schemes.
According to a white paper from Visa, card payments in the UAE have increased in recent years, constituting 70 percent of transactions in 2018, compared to 68 percent in 2017. Cash on delivery also dropped to 15 percent in 2018 from 22 percent in 2017.
(Writing by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Seban Scaria)
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