If you’re a business owner in the MENA region, chances are, you’ve seen a lot of changes in the past couple of months.
Thanks to a global pandemic, the way your customers interact and shop with you has drastically changed. We’ve seen a staggering increase in online shopping by consumers this year — especially in Qatar.
Not only has this pushed for an even greater need for digital transformation in the economy, but also brings focus to the importance of secure and reliable payment gateway providers in the MENA region.
What’s a Payment Gateway?
There are three main groups when it comes to processing credit and debit card transactions when you sell online:
- You, the merchant: To accept payments, you need to partner with a merchant bank that will accept payments on your behalf and deposit them into a merchant account that they provide;
- Your customer: To pay for products or services, a customer must have a credit or debit card. The bank that provides your customer with either of these cards is called an issuing bank;
- The technology: In the middle is the technology that enables the other two to conduct business — payment gateways and payment processors.
A payment gateway is an application or tool that allows a business to accept payments from its customers with a debit or credit card. It’s used by both brick and mortar stores and online retailers or service providers.
Payment gateways are responsible for transmitting payments between the customer’s bank and yours. Simply put, a payment gateway is a POS (point of sale) terminal for businesses operating online.
It’s not to be confused with a payment processor, a third-party that handles all credit and debit card transactions for a business. A payment processor acts as a middleman that allows for secure and reliable communication between the merchant and their bank, and the customer and their bank (or credit card company).
Why Should You Invest in a Payment Gateway?
A survey by Mickensy and Company shows that about 58% of consumers will continue to purchase products and services online post covid in Qatar. That means, businesses should jump at the opportunity to set up a secure payment gateway for their business, if they haven’t already done so.
Although Qatar was one of the first countries in the GCC to introduce a data protection law, many consumers continue to show concerns about data privacy issues and sharing financial information online.
And there’s no surprise why. With rampant data leaks, consumers are scared that their information can be accessed by hackers and cause both personal and financial harm.
What you can do to overcome consumer apprehension is to invest in a secure and reliable payment gateway. Here’s how to choose a provider for doing business in the MENA region:
5 Tips on Choosing a Payment Gateway Provider
When you start prospecting a payment gateway provider for your business, you have to ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the provider support merchants in the MENA region?
- What is your budget?
- Are there any particular features you’re looking for (i.e. fraud security, virtual terminals, data protection, etc)?
- Can you benefit from extra support from the service provider?
These questions should help you shortlist service providers and assess them based on these simple tips.
Consider the cost
Most payment gateway providers base their fees on business transactions and several factors influence pricing (such as sales, revenue consistency, transaction frequency, and markets served). So it’s important to understand what the fee structure looks like before you choose one.
You should take a look at your business model and analyze if it coincides with the payment providers’ fee structure. Normally, gateway providers break down their costs in three different ways: set up fees, monthly fees, and/or transaction fees. You may also need to hire developers to implement the payment gateway on your website, which you might need to budget for.
So it’s incredibly important to go with a payment gateway provider with a transparent fee structure so you know you can afford their service. Also, it makes for fewer surprises along the way!
Is It Easy to Integrate?
It’s not easy to implement a payment gateway service on a website or a mobile app. In most cases, you will need to hire a developer or an expert to set it up for you
Payment gateway providers do offer help on how to add their service to popular e-commerce platforms such as Shopify and Magento. But it’s not a DIY project for merchants.
API keys that are offered by payment gateway providers are extremely difficult to integrate, leaving even the most experienced developers in a complicated mess.
To avoid difficulty, select a payment gateway system that doesn’t slow down your website or takes excessive time for setup. When you’re shopping around, ask the service provider specifically how long it takes to integrate the application, and what are the steps and procedures. Ideally, you should select a payment gateway that is easy for your customers to make payments on your website and select a payment method of their choice.
Linking to Your Bank Account
Doing business in MENA is different from the rest of the world. To safeguard consumer interests, there are a lot more rules and regulations businesses have to follow. And payment gateway providers are no different.
When selecting a provider, you need to ensure that they can legally operate in your region and can link to your bank account.
Some providers may require you to create a separate merchant account or contract with a bank of their choice to process payments. This means more communication with two additional parties when doing business and handling finances. But the added benefit is that merchant accounts add an extra layer of security for both merchants and consumers.
In other cases, payment gateway providers might not require a merchant account and will transfer money directly into your bank account. In such cases, they might charge a higher processing fee.
You need to ask a payment provider their preference in linking to bank accounts when doing business with merchants. This should come down to how willing you are to handle multiple layers of operations and dealing with multiple financial institutions.
Does the Payment Gateway Provider Work With Mobile Payments?
There’s a huge shift towards mobile payments in Qatar as more businesses are relying on it to collect payments from customers. That’s because mobile payments offer a fast, easy, and convenient way to accept cash.
It’s estimated that the global mobile wallet market will reach approximately U$3.1 billion by 2022, and many payment gateways are adding support for all major mobile wallets.
These providers enable buyers to transfer money safely and securely using their mobile phones, either with apps or with a mobile-optimized website. Since digital wallet apps such as Apple and Google pay are gaining popularity in MENA, we’re likely to see the demand for mobile payments go up in the region.
When selecting a payment gateway provider, make sure that they can support mobile payments so you’re not far behind in the digital movement.
Reliable Customer Support
Some payment gateway providers limit their support to tickets or emails, making it harder to access live support. In this case, merchants will need to follow manual instructions to fix a problem.
If you feel more comfortable speaking with a human instead of communicating over emails, check whether the provider offers live technical support. You should also note their business hours and what their availability looks like, so you can resolve technical issues as quickly as possible.
Dibsy: An Easy Way to Accept Payments in MENA
Dibsy is a payment processor that drastically reduces the integration time of payment gateways. It also helps improve the ease of transactions for merchants in MENA.
The three main benefits of using Dibsy include:
- Simple checkout experience: We cut down on unnecessary steps and documentation so you can get up and running in no time.
- Easy to onboard: With our API keys, developers can integrate our application within minutes onto merchant websites and mobile apps.
- We’re extremely affordable: You need to invest in your business, but with us, you’ll be pay zero fees for integration, monthly subscription and annually.
Interested in learning more? Get in touch with our team at www.dibsy.one to discover product features.