The value of monthly electronic payments in Kuwait by the citizen and residents jumped by 25 percent to reach KD 2 billion compared to their levels during January and February when it was about KD 1.6 billion, CEO of Shared Electronic Banking Services (KNet) Abdullah Al-Ajmi said.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis in May 2020, electronic payments had fallen to their lowest level ever to about KD 950 million, as the lockdown limited all type of spending by the public. However it began to double as of July, he said in an interview to local media.

He said that electronic payments maintained its rates above the level of KD 2 billion during August and this rate is expected to continue in September, as per the current levels since the beginning of this month.

Al-Ajmi highlighted that electronic payments began to rise significantly as of June 21, following the Cabinet’s decision to end the third phase of the plan for the return to normal life, and the resumption of operations in commercial complexes and shops in line with the precautionary measures. The shift from cash payment to electronic payment witnessed a huge leap during the lockdown and curfew periods. The return of dealers to cash was not observed again after the return of normal life in relation to payment operations. This indicates that the crisis accelerated the trend towards electronic payment and actually affected consumers’ behaviour concerning the electronic payment.

He also pointed out that the electronic payment transactions through apps and websites have jumped by 109 percent with monthly operations increasing from five million before the crisis to ten million operations as of July.

On the other hand, ATM withdrawals decreased by six percent in July compared to the rates in January and February this year. Transactions via point-of-sale (POS) increased by seven percent during the same period.