UAE’s digital payments market set to outpace cash use by 2020

Strong demand seen for ‘bank-led mobile wallet’ technology to tap into $230bn in annual consumer transactions

UAE consumers, businesses, merchants, banks, forex exchanges, and even government service providers will be handling far less cash by 2020, according to the digital payments service company, Trriple.

Annually, the UAE counts $230 billion in consumer payments to 170 government entities and more than 350,000 merchants. And yet cash accounts for more than 75% of all transactions in the Emirates, a number the company says is set to plunge as demand increases for a wide range of payment services, from mobile wallets and mobile point-of-sale to electronic payments and global money transfers.

“We are poised to usher in the ‘cashless society’ here in the UAE,” said Ahmed Fasih Akhtar, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Trriple, on the sidelines of the 35th Annual Gitex Technology Week in Dubai.

“By 2020, the UAE will be realising an ‘anytime, anyplace’ approach to payments, a fascinating new dynamic that will allow for greater economic inclusion of the unbanked and under-banked across the country.  We see strong nationwide demand for a multipurpose, cross-bank mobile wallet,” Akhtar added.

“We easily turn mobile devices into a convenient and secure way to send, spend, and receive money – even when customers don’t have bank accounts,” said Rutger Reman, President of Industry and Society Unit of Ericsson Region Middle East.

According to Cap Gemini’s World Payments Report 2014, mobile payments from 2011-2015 are expected to grow more than 60% to 47 billion transactions.

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