The Race To Annihilate COD: MENA E-Commerce Overview

As e-commerce grows in the MENA, so does the urgency to retire the inefficient cash on delivery (COD) payment method.

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By Kareem Chehayeb

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As e-commerce grows in the MENA, so does the urgency to retire the inefficient cash on delivery (COD) payment method. We highlight the leaders of the region's e-commerce industry, and how they've been trying to make it to the top.

Screenshot via PayPal


PayPal and its popular digital wallet is making headway across the Middle East, and the folks at PayPal MENA have been keeping an eye out on growing e-commerce markets, particulary in the UAE, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. With PayPal being popular internationally, and PayPal MENA palling up with Qatar National Bank and Aramex, we can safely assume that consumers in the GCC will be setting up their digital wallets very soon. Watch for the continued rise of m-commerce in the Middle East- PayPal MENA is on the ball there as well. PayPal put out their own one-touch payment system in August 2013.

Screenshot via PayFort


PayFort is optimistic that their payment solution will sweep the Middle East, given the fact they take into consideration the lack of credit card ownership in various markets, notably high-populace Egypt. Options like PAYatHOME and PAYatSTORE hope to allow merchants to expand its consumer-base by selling online without a credit card. PayFort hopes to make this happen using alternatives, notably vouchers that are sent via e-mail or SMS. The online payment platform's focus on the region means that their payment solutions will benefit different markets of the region, whether we're talking about Cairo or Dubai. Credit card ownership regionally isn't high as yet, so we predict that PayFort's services will also be successful outside the GCC.

Screenshot via Telr


Telr's vision goes beyond MENA. Co-founder Elias Ghanem, who has work experience with PayPal MENA, PayPal South East Asia and India, and Visa Inc, has established a Telr hub in Singapore, in addition to one in Dubai. The end goal? An efficient payment gateway that is not only multi-lingual but also multi-currency, all while sustaining good cash flow. Ghanem's ideal alternative to COD transcends borders, hence including South East Asia and certain emerging markets in Africa are in Telr's scope. Telr has a lot on their plate, but Ghanem and co. are confident that they'll make a positive impact. The company recently announced Series A funding from iMENA and Hatcher, investing from the Middle East and Singapore.

Screenshot via PayTabs


Funded by Saudi Aramco's Wa'ed program, PayTabs has also entered the race for the region's ultimate online payments solution. While founder Abdulaziz Aljouf boasts about their eCommerce API, a plugin that can easily be integrated on any website, there's more to PayTabs than that. A second feature: PayPage caters to merchants who set up shop on their social media pages; Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Flickr included.

Screenshot via White Payments

White Payments

Co-founder Yazin Al-Irhayim was driven to develop White Payments through the flaws of other online payment solutions in the region, particularly the inefficiency and delays. Rather than wait for weeks to be fully integrated into a certain online payment system, it only takes five minutes with White. Perhaps it's best to go back to the basics, and focus on building an even sturdier foundation. That said, we'll have to wait and see, given that White Payments is still in its BETA stage, but you might bump into them on Twitter and other social media platforms grilling their competitors.

Kareem Chehayeb

Former Columnist & Online Liaison, Entrepreneur Middle East

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