Day Headlines in Shopping news: 2012-08-30

  • Online payments: Virtual spring (The Economist Online Shopping 2012-08-30 15:01:38)
    Print sectionUK Only Article: standard articleIssue: Four more years?Fly Title: Online paymentsLocation: BEIRUTA FEW years ago Wahid Essale’s friends in Saudi Arabia started to use online shopping sites. But when it came to buying, they would ask him for his credit card. “I’d pay for the goods and they gave me back the cash, plus a small commission,” he explains. By 2007 Mr Essale had turned the favour into a business: Cashna, an electronic wallet which allows users to store funds online and spend them on e-commerce sites.Cashna is only one of a slew of new payment services in the Middle East. CashU, the region’s most popular e-wallet, handles payments for the likes of Skype and Al Jazeera Sports. OneCard, another e-wallet, can be topped up in many ways, including with scratch cards sold by street vendors. Gate2Play has gathered regional payment services and Western ones—PayPal, MasterCard and Visa—under one virtual roof; merchants only have to connect to Gate2Play to access them all.The bloom of such services is the result of a mismatch of demand ...