Posted on March 22, 2020

Digital payments in the country will get a boost as residents have increased use of online transactions to limit the spread of coronavirus. The spurt in digital transactions will further accelerate the pace of Qatar’s transformation into a cashless economy.

Because of high Internet penetration and increasing awareness in Qatar, the use of digital payments— whether on mobile phones, cards, or online— has remained comparatively high, but residents have stepped up the use of cards and online transactions to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. “I was already using my debit card for most of my shopping. But, after the outbreak of Coronavirus, I am using my debit card for all my payments, even if the amount is small. Actually, I have not touched physical bank notes since the outbreak of Coronavirus,” Tamal Das, an engineer working for a construction company told The Peninsula.

Many banks and other financial institutions have urged their customers to opt for cashless payment. Bank officials say that advancement in technology has made it very simple to make digital payments.

Banks in Qatar have rolled out contact less cards that have removed the need of pressing the Personal Identification Number (PIN) at the retail outlets. Contact less cards allow customers to pay by simply tapping the card on the Point of Sale (PoS) machines or ATMs.

“It only takes a second or two to pay through contact less cards. There is no need to insert the card in the machine and, for low-value-purchases, no PIN entry is necessary. In Qatar, for contactless purchases below QR100, no PIN entry is required. Above this amount, users will have to enter the PIN,” a senior bank official told The Peninsula.

The required amount for PIN entry varies from country to country. The ease of using cards is prompting residents to go for cashless transactions. “Going cashless is not only safe but it also has health benefits. With physical currency, the chance of spreading of germs is more. We all know that reducing the amount of use of paper currency lowers the transmission of germs. In current situation, we can play our part in limiting the spread of Coronavirus by increasing the use of different modes of digital payments,” Subhash Ghosh, a professional working for an IT company told The Peninsula.

The Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA) urged residents to use bank cards. “Make sure to use your bank card to complete all recharge and bill payments by using telecom service providers’ Self-Service Machines, mobile apps, or website,” said CRA in a tweet yesterday. Ooredoo has also issued similar advisory for its customers. “Dear Customers, for your health and safety, we highly advise that you use your credit/debit cards to settle bills via our Self Service Machines, instead of paying by cash. You can also use our digital channels, such as the Ooredoo App and the Ooredoo website, or call 111 for other transactions,” said Ooredoo in messages sent to its customers.

source: The Peninsula