Ramana Kumar – SVP & Head of Payments, Personal Banking Image Credit: Supplied

How does payit support the UAE’s cashless ambitions in the run-up to 2020 and beyond?

First Abu Dhabi Bank’s (FAB) payit digital wallet was created to promote cash conversion and to drive electronic payments. Payit’s features support the UAE’s cashless ambitions, as follows:

  1. It is the first fully-featured digital wallet in the UAE, providing customers on the go with digital cash usage.
  2. Onboarding is very easy — all you need is an Emirates ID.
  3. It provides lifecycle services to customers including wallet to wallet (p2p) transfers, bill payments, splitting and sharing payments, sending money home, cash pickup, sending money directly to a bank account; all without queuing and with easy to track spends.
  4. It can be used at more than 1,500 outlets across the UAE.

Proactive government policies have been crucial in building a digital culture in the UAE and eliminating many of the barriers to becoming a cashless society. What makes the UAE the ideal market for cashless transactions?

The UAE’s government has transformed the digital payments landscape through initiatives such as the Wage Protection System (WPS) and UAE  Pass. Furthermore, implementation of VAT and the need to maintain records has further supported digital payments  growth.

Current figures show that 75 per cent of payments in the UAE are still made using cash. How do you expect mobile wallets such as payit to drive the shift towards digital?

Merchants, especially SMEs and mid-market businesses, tend to accept cash, due to costs associated with digital payments. Furthermore, there is a psychological  aspect of having “cash in  hand” instead of waiting for the settlement process.

Payit addresses these basic needs. It enables real-time money settlement in the account and low cost of acceptance, in addition to providing exciting offers that drive new customers into stores. On the technology front, application programme interface (API) integration plays a key role in supporting business needs. Our partnership with Abu Dhabi National Insurance Company (ADNIC), for example, has been a breakthrough in initiating insurance payments through the payit wallet.

Financial inclusion is key in the UAE. How can mobile wallets help in this regard?

Payit addresses financial inclusion, as any UAE resident with a valid Emirates ID can download and register to use this service. In addition, payit is seamlessly integrated into the market leading “RATIBI” proposition by FAB, enabling access to payit and sending money at the best FX rates. We have also partnered with MoneyGram which enables anyone to send cash which can be picked up globally at the click of a button.

What makes FAB’s payit the UAE’s first and only feature-packed digital wallet?

A study of the market reveals that there is no wallet that can cater to all customer needs like payit. It’s a comprehensive wallet for customers and partners alike, in addition to being a free service.

Customers can load money using a debit card, cash deposit, request a friend for wallet-to-wallet transfer or a local bank transfer. They can also send money to over 200 countries through MoneyGram. For partners and merchants, payit offers easy payments solutions through QR code and sound-based technology. Payit is also innovative through its use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning tools.

Danielle Murrie, SVP & Head of Retail Product Personal Banking Image Credit: Supplied

How do you see card payments changing?

Although contactless cards have been in the UAE for some time, they have only recently picked up in popularity. FAB is well positioned to drive the change in cards payments behaviour as it offers contactless cards and is enabling them for all wallets including Samsung Pay, Apple Pay and Google Pay in the next few months. FAB has embraced the growth of e-commerce, offering cutting-edge solutions including FAB’s shop smart platform, seamless checkout and instant loyalty redemption at a growing number of merchants.

Utkarsh Patel, SVP & Head of Digital Banking Image Credit: Supplied

How do you see the digital banking proposition evolving in the UAE?

With one of the highest levels of global smartphone penetration in the world, service industries in the UAE are quickly embracing digital solutions and delivering outstanding customer experiences. In digital, banks need to be simple, safe, personalised and immediate. Anything less will not do. At FAB, we have carefully analysed our customers’ needs and engaged with our global fintech partners to deliver a mobile experience that is instant and personalised.