The use of credit cards remains strong in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), according to recent data from FIS, which found that 41% of total e-commerce transaction value in the UAE came from credit cards last year. In contrast, cash accounted for just 7% of e-commerce transactions during the same time period.
Mobile wallets are also a popular choice among consumers in the UAE, accounting for 24% of total e-commerce transactions last year, per FIS. With many digital wallets at their disposal, including Apple Pay, Alipay, Google Wallet, Samsung Wallet, and WeChat Pay—in addition to domestic offerings—paying via a digital wallet is more accessible than ever.
Will UAE Be Cashless by 2030?
Separate data from Standard Chartered Bank in Dubai found that two-thirds of consumers in the UAE foresee the country evolving into a fully cashless society by 2030. Digitization of the banking system is also making headway as more consumers seek a more personalized experience and look for convenience in accessing a wide selection of financial services from home.
According to Standard Chartered Bank, 73% of UAE respondents were more receptive to online shopping because of the pandemic. Pre-pandemic, consumers preferred to shop in person, but that shopping behavior has naturally shifted.
Sonny Zulu, Head of Retail Banking at Standard Chartered UAE said:
“The UAE is on a fast track in adopting digital banking and cashless payments and the pandemic has accelerated the digital drive.”
Veering Away from Cash
The Middle East has been a staunch supporter of cash for some time now, as it has always held a robust cultural hold on its economy. However, with the proliferation of banks and fintechs, things are evolving rapidly away from this stronghold. With changing payment patterns, disruptive forces, and industry pressures, the Middle East continues to see a rise in digital payments.