After deals of property and coffee purchases, the next big way for crypto payments could be hotel stays in the UAE. In any sector, the lag in payments experienced in other transactions, could be settled by crypto currencies, except cash- of course. Unlike transactions done using cards, crypto payments happen almost in real time. Instant payments help when businesses are keeping an eye on their cashflow situations at a time.
The founding partner and CEO of AJMS Global Network, Abhishek Jajoo, said that the speed of cash flow turnaround deeply impacts the local F&B sector. Hence, there will be easier acceptance in case any payment method comes up to speed up cash-in-hand.
Card payments to delivery platforms take weeks to be processed and also incur higher costs. This will make F&B owners consider other options. And, crypto payment is one of those options. Abhishek Jajoo said that blockchain technology can come to help because the speed of fund flow is instant and it provides much higher security. He mentioned a case of an F&B outlet which is powered by block chain and crypto currency. Bistroo is a direct-to-consumer marketplace of F&B that directly connects consumers to the restaurants. Instead of waiting for weeks, the payments are received instantly. If F&B sector of the UAE is quite likely to embrace this example.
Easy to deal with refunds
A café operator, Bake N More, offers crypto payments via Mixin Network, that allows customers to purchase their coffee or pastries using Bitcoin, Tether, Dogecoin, Ethereum, Shiba Inu and Litecoin. The founder, Mohammad Al Hammadi said that they are using an all-in-one-cloud-based Point of Scale which allows customers to choose from crypto coin options or credit/debit card. He also said that customers who choose to pay in crypto tokens are converted into dirhams with real time prices. They will get a tax invoice along with 5% VAT, which is similar to any cash invoice.
This cafe makes use of the Mixpay system in the Mixin Network which directly converts the tokens in real-time. Al Hammadi said that this system erases the wallet to wallet payment issue, which has no record. This becomes essential in case of refund of the customer money. As per their case, if any customer needs a refund, he will be paid back in dirhams according to the invoice value.
A recent survey by Oracle says that only 6% of UAE’s F&B patrons are willing to pay through crypto at the restaurants or delivery orders. And 36% of the respondents restaurants opt for contactless payments like Apple Pay or Google Pay. Jajoo said that this 36 per cent segment, that favour contactless payment, has a greater chance of adopting Crypto as an alternative mode of contactless payments. However, the tendency to adopt crypto as a mode of payment is very much connected to the willingness of people to own crypto for investment or trading purposes.
However, Jajoo also added that awareness of the drawbacks should be there for all the parties that are involved in the transaction. Restaurants and consumers should be aware that once a crypto currency payment has been made, it is permanent, which can be a possible risk for small businesses. These transactions can be refunded only by the party which is receiving the funds.
Businesses that accept crypto should be prepared for the extra effort needed to facilitate customers , requesting refunds, by keeping a track of the amount of money paid by each customer.
Traction with the hotel
The hospitality sector of the UAE has become the latest that allows guests to pay using crypto. The properties that cater to a younger guest profile or a millennial will definitely need to provide such an option.
The co-founder and CEO of Stella Stays said that being first to the market with crypto payment sets a clear competitive edge. They have witnessed strong traction in the number of crypto transactions at Stella Stays ever since the introduction of the service in February. The global companies are also saying the same. At the beginning of the year, the CEO of Airbnb, Brian Chesky, turned to his 405000 Twitter followers, asking for their advices on how to improve the booking service. The results showed an increased demand for crypto payments, indicating that travellers are significantly more likely to utilize and own crypto currencies than the general public.
While price volatility bouts means landlords and traditional hotels will take a while to accept crypto currency, the crypto is not going away, as Zikra stated. Businesses that adapt quickly to the new trends and technology will always be rewarded by consumers and the market.
CEO and Co-founder of My Menu, Abhi Bose, stated that ever since the introduction of crypto as a mode of payment, they have received numerous requests from various restaurants and hotels to enable this feature. They have more than 10 brands that have already activated it. According to him, they will have more than hundred restaurants offering crypto as a mode of payment very soon, based on the interest they have received.