Mastercard Research Shows Surge in Digital Payments as Ecommerce Reaches New Heights in the UAE

August 17, 2020 | Dubai, UAE

Study shows consumers worldwide opting for touch-free, secure and seamless ways to pay

  • Mastercard consumer sentiment data finds that 54% of UAE consumers believe the preference of e-commerce over in store shopping is a trend that is here to stay
  • New tokenization technology, MDES for Merchants (M4M) designed to protect security of consumers and merchants as shopping goes increasingly digital

The way we shop is changing. As constraints are being imposed on our daily lives due to COVID-19, consumers are adopting new payment habits at an accelerated pace, according to a global study by Mastercard conducted in 15 markets including the United Arab Emirates.

Consumers are increasingly moving away from cash and opting for contact-free and digital payments experiences – and they don’t expect to go back. Ecommerce is also seeing a surge as Mastercard Spending Pulse reports record growth rates across the globe as consumers increasingly shop online. According to the company’s consumer sentiment data, 54 percent of UAE consumers say that they believe less in store shopping will continue to be a trend due to the convenience and ease that e-commerce provides.

With the rise of e-commerce, it is imperative to provide consumers with seamless solution to save and manage their card details across multiple websites. Mastercard’s tokenization technology ensures the cards consumers store on file stay seamlessly up to date. Unlike physical cards, network tokens do not expire – when consumers receive a new physical card from their bank, their credentials are automatically updated, eliminating the hassle of reentering their card numbers.

As part of Mastercard's commitment to support the financial data and security of consumers and merchants alike, it recently introduced MDES for Merchants (M4M) offering in UAE. The new service uses Tokenization technology to speed up and simplify the purchase process online and in app, as well as for subscription-based and recurring payments like streaming music and video services, and utility bills. The new tokenization technology is also designed to protect security of consumers and merchants as shopping goes increasingly digital.

Girish Nanda, Country Manager, UAE & Oman, Mastercard said: “Online shopping has gained significant traction in the UAE, and it is imperative for merchants of all sizes to ensure that they are offering a convenient, enjoyable and secure digital experience. At Mastercard, we are protecting the interests of businesses and consumers alike and building technologies that ensure all digital transactions are trusted, secure and frictionless by enabling technologies like tokenization and leveraging our payment gateway capabilities with MPGS to bring them into market.”

Kartik Taneja, EVP – Head of Payments, Mashreq Bank: “Online commerce has picked up significantly in the region and we at Mashreq are committed to create industry leading payment solutions that enable our merchants to take their businesses online.  Providing secure, frictionless and easy to integrate payment solutions has been the core design principal of our solutions. Emergence of tokenization has not only enhanced the security of card holder data but has enabled seamless checkout experience for the customers. We are confident that these solutions will help in enhancing customer trust as well as increase the adoption of digital commerce in the region.’

Currently, Mastercard has partnered with and FOO in the region to roll out this technology.

“ has been working with Mastercard to introduce innovative features and products that enable our merchants to seamlessly accept payments and unlock more value from every transaction", said Sebastian Reis, EVP Global e-commerce at "We've seen an acceleration in the shift from offline to online commerce in the UAE driven by the pandemic. As such, the ecosystem requires constant innovation such as tokenization, to ensure that consumers and merchants are protected in an increasingly digital world."

Ghady Rayess, Managing Partner, FOO said: "During the pandemic period, we have noticed an exponential growth in demand for online payments. Striving to always deliver the best solution for our customers, M4M provided the perfect fit when it came to security and user experience. Together with Mastercard, we are looking forward to rolling out M4M to all our clients in the region and keep pushing towards a better payment ecosystem."

Tokenization encrypts consumer data by replacing card numbers with digital tokens. Every time a transaction is made online or with a mobile wallet, a unique token is created to make the payment and ensures that a consumer’s 16-digit card number is not stored anywhere. This prevents improper usage at any other location and provides additional security and peace of mind for consumers and merchants alike, resulting in higher approval rates while minimizing online fraud.