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Potential for mobile payments in Jordan promising — experts

By Mohammad Ghazal - Apr 22,2015 - Last updated at Apr 22,2015

AMMAN — Enabling mobile payments in Jordan has great potential for success as some 75 per cent of the population are unbanked, according to IT experts.

In the Kingdom, where there are some 11 active million mobile subscriptions with a penetration rate exceeding 145 per cent, only 25 per cent of people have banks accounts. 

Of the total transactions by bank account holders, only 5 per cent are electronic transactions, experts said at a session during the Electronic and Mobile Payments in the Arab World Conference, which concluded late Tuesday.

“Almost everyone has a mobile phone but not everyone has a bank account. Therefore, enabling mobile payments will help reach a large segment of society,” Sami Ben Lassoued, EMEA regional sales manager for m-commerce at Ericsson, said during the session.

Ben Lassoued added that there is huge potential for e-payments in the Kingdom, especially mobile payments, with the rise of smartphone popularity.

Stressing that Jordan represents an example to be followed in terms of cooperation between banks, telecoms and regulators in facilitating mobile payments, he said boosting such cooperation at the regional level is needed to increase adoption of mobile payments. 

Citing recent studies by Ericsson, Ben Lassoued said 80 per cent of mobile users globally prefer to use their mobiles as a digital wallet.

Cenap Dogru, Middle East and North Africa head of sales at PayPal Turkey, said measures need to be taken to ensure that the use of mobile payments is convenient for users.

“The issue of safety and security for users is a big concern. Therefore, addressing this concern is vital to boost mobile payments in the region,” Dogru said during the session.

Participants in the session stressed the importance of e-commerce to boost business growth, with Sirish Kumar, CEO and co-founder of Telr, calling for supporting SMEs to go online.

“In Jordan and the rest of the Middle East, there is a very high penetration when it comes to smartphones and social media, which is a great opportunity,” Kumar said.

Average social media penetration in the Middle East is 40 per cent, which is “way higher” than the global average of some 27 per cent, he added.

“More and more people are shopping online, and providing them with the necessary tools to do so and pay online is fundamental for the growth of the sector,” he added.

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