Nearly 75% of Payments in the UAE will Be Cashless by 2025 as Country Prepares for Post COVID Business Environment


Dubai Economy recently brought together the main stakeholders in the country’s cashless economy ecosystem at the Future Economy Lab event (workshop). The event was conducted as part of the UAE’s ongoing efforts to address COVID-19 related challenges. The Middle Eastern country is focused on establishing a business environment that can thrive in a post COVID world

The Coronavirus crisis has been a major accelerator of digital connectivity and the adoption of e-commerce solutions in the UAE and globally. More people in the UAE and the MENA region are now conducting contactless or cashless payments. Consumers may find it more convenient to perform digital transactions which can help prevent the further spread of COVID-19 (because you’re not using paper currency that can get contaminated).

According to a release, the main focus of the UAE’s Future Economy Lab session was on key factors that are accelerating the growth of the cashless economy. During the session, the program participants also discussed what’s being done to enable greater financial inclusion.

Attendees at the Future Economy session were asked to think about “How might Dubai seize the opportunity to become the top 10 cashless economies in the next 3 years?”

Euromonitor International has found that 60% of consumer payment transactions in the UAE were cashless payments during 2019. The Middle Eastern nation was ranked 20th globally when it comes to accepting non-cash or digital payments. Cashless payments in the country are expected to reach 73% by 2025, meaning that about three out of four transactions will be performed via payment cards, contactless payments, or some other way that doesn’t involve cash.

A study by Visa found that around $2.2 billion (more than AED 8 billion) worth of direct annual net benefits can be realized by UAE based consumers, businesses and governments from “going cashless.”

Mohammed Shael Al Saadi, CEO Corporate Strategic Affairs in Dubai Economy, stated:

“Digital payments have assumed greater significance during this pandemic. Industries and societies adopting cashless payments faster has [made it necessary] for governments to work with all stakeholders to implement an inclusive and effective digital payments system that will drive new economic value. Our [event has focused on] … co-creating new initiatives to meet the UAE’s vision of being [ranked] among the top 10 cashless payment economies.”

The event was managed by Frost & Sullivan. It was able to attract 60 participants including professionals that work at banks, Fintech firms, payment network/scheme providers, payment acquirers, other financial institutions, government agencies, and in academia.

The session was focused on identifying the main challenges and opportunities within the financial ecosystem in Dubai. The event went over how industry stakeholders can take advantage of this shift towards a cashless economy. For example, companies can start expanding their digital payment solutions and work cooperatively with local businesses to support the new economy.

Osama Al Rahma, CEO Al Fardan Exchange and Director – Al Fardan Group, remarked:

“Dubai Economy is playing a strategic role as one of the fundamental drivers towards the cashless economy. As a member of the remittance businesses community, I see and observe dreams and visions coming true. I see this initiative as integral to embracing changing business models in line with the shifts toward digital transformation in the payment industry.”

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