Payment Gateways in the Middle East

As e-Commerce sites continue to grow in the region, many online players are still looking for an affordable gateway to process payments. There are several successful e-Commerce companies in the region like Souq and MarkAVip, and an increasing number of entrepreneurs are launching online businesses. For startups that are bootstrapped, cash flow is always a concern. 'Cash on Delivery' is still the dominant channel. This year at the COE E-commerce conference held in Jordan, the CEO of Souq.com said that about 50% of online orders are cash on delivery (COD) in the region. He said that in order to build a brand that customers trust, you must offer COD. This also minimizes the hassle of moving money across borders, which in today's financially challenged world is proving to be a cumbersome exercise.

Few months ago the region lacked in basic e-Commerce infrastructure, however now there are many payment gateway companies available to fill the gap. In this post let’s explore the various payment options that are available to online entrepreneurs. The post covers online gateway options in UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon and Egypt.

Paypal has one million active users from the Arab world. You can set up a paypal account and open a USD account in a local bank to receive payments. You need to charge your customers in USD.

Set up Fee - Nil Security Deposit - Nil

They charge additional 2.5% for currency conversion (3.5% in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar) Available in UAE, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait

CashU - Service Provider with a focus on internet payments in Middle East and North Africa with head office in Dubai. You can get your funds transferred to any local bank in the region.Transaction Fees – 2.9-3.3% + 2 AED Set up Fees – USD 1000 Security Deposit – USD 10,000 Annual Fee – USD 1K – 3K depending on number of products and sales volume

Available in UAE, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Egypt, Lebanon

Money Bookers (Skrill) - is one of the world's largest online payment providers currently being used by over 135,000 merchants. It provides more than 100 payment options, with 41 currencies covering 200 countries and territories, through just one partner.Set up Fees – Free Security Deposit – N/A Annual Fee – EUR 239.4Available in UAE, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Egypt, Lebanon 
Innovate Payments– Another payment gateway service having an office in UAE. Their payment processing platform is integrated with a number of leading US, European and Middle Eastern banks. They accept payments in common Middle Eastern currencies as well as international currencies like US Dollars and Euros.

Transaction Fees – 3.5% Set up Fees – USD 1000 Security Deposit – USD 10,000 Annual Fee – USD 492

Available in UAE

2CheckOut– It is based in Columbus, Ohio and operates the broadest e-commerce payment platforms in the world with a huge currency and payment method selection.

Transaction Fees – 3.99% + USD 0.45 Set up Fees – Nil Security Deposit – N/A Annual Fee – 10.99*12 = 131.88

Available in UAE, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Egypt, Lebanon

Cashi – It is a Payment Service Provider specializing in internet payments based in Jordan. Below are the fee details

Transaction Fees – 0.5% "min USD 0.01 max. USD 5 " Set up Fees – Nil Security Deposit – N/A Annual Fee – Free

Available in – UAE, Jordan, Oman, Egypt, Saudi Arabia

Settling upon a payment gateway, is not an easy task if you don’t have deep pockets and more than a few ounces of patience. There are a few hindrances in adopting to the online payment gateways in the region:-

- The fees and costs of setting up the gateway are very high: A start up who may want to venture into online business needs to think twice before adopting a local payment gateway owing to its high set up costs. However, one can always look for other international payment gateway companies.

- Cash Flow issues – The time frame between the flows of money from the gateway to the e-commerce company does impact the operations. Lack of funds may hinder a startup from enhancing its services or venture new opportunities.

As time progresses we hope that people will get comfortable with paying online as payment gateways will play an important role in facilitating this need.

The above post was published in Qatar Today's Oct 2012 issue

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11 Responses to “Payment Gateways in the Middle East”

  1. October 11, 2012 at 3:32 pm #

    Hi Kapil,

    Interesting stuff! Going to print this out – for a later read…

    Best Regards from London,

    Felix

  2. December 2, 2012 at 5:06 pm #

    Excellent website, congratulations for what you’re doing here.

  3. Ritesh
    May 8, 2013 at 11:44 am #

    Hi Kapil,

    Just wanted to know from you, at your point of view which payment gateway is best for Saudi Arabia. One of my client want to develop a ecommerce site and have to configure payment gateway. The payment is made by credit card only.

    Thanks,
    Ritesh

  4. Genesis
    May 22, 2013 at 11:52 am #

    Hi,

    How about braintree. Are they accepting merchants from Qatar.

    Thanks

    Gen

  5. Q
    September 13, 2013 at 9:00 pm #

    Although not officially announced, but 2Checkout and Skrill stopped supporting Lebanon since a while. Personal experience – tried it, they apologize to cover Lebanon due to “high demand”.

  6. April 14, 2014 at 12:53 pm #

    Hi

    Do you know the details of netbanking integration in UAE ?

    So customer can pay without using credit or debit card.

    Thanks
    Prajosh

  7. Saran
    October 19, 2014 at 10:43 am #

    I need to know the correct website address for cashi? I cannot navigate to this website.

  8. February 23, 2015 at 3:53 pm #

    PayTabs is a payment gateway service provider based out of Bahrain, with a service footprint in the entire MENA region.

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