Aani logo
The launch of Aani follows the announcement of the UAE’s first Domestic Card Scheme. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: Al Etihad Payments, a subsidiary of the Central Bank of the UAE, has announced the launch of Aani, an instant payments platform.

Aani includes a suite of features allowing users to transfer money instantly using only the recipient’s phone number. Other functions include ‘Request Money’ and ‘Split Bills’. It will support payments of up to Dh50,000 in the initial stage.

Aani also supports QR codes, facilitating hassle-free, cashless payments at merchants. Additional functionalities such as real-time direct debit and e-checks will be introduced later.

The launch involves participation from eight licensed financial institutions: Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Al Fardan Exchange, Emirates NBD, Finance House, First Abu Dhabi Bank, Habib Bank AG Zurich, Mashreq Bank and National Bank of Fujairah. More licensed institutions are likely to come on board.

Aani is accessible through the existing channels of the participating LFIs, or through Al Etihad Payments’ Aani mobile app.

Saif Humaid Al Dhaheri, Chairman of Al Etihad Payments, said: “The launch of Aani exemplifies our unwavering commitment to digitise the economy and advance the financial sector, aligning with our visionary leadership’s aspirations and the CBUAE’s objectives. Aani is not just a payment platform; it represents a catalyst for economic growth, innovation, and financial inclusion. We remain dedicated to fostering an ecosystem that encourages innovation, competition, and growth, benefiting the entire financial system.”

Jan Pilbauer, CEO of Al Etihad Payments, said: “We are delighted to introduce Aani, a platform that redefines the digital payment experience and reinforces the UAE’s pioneering position as a global digital payment hub. Collaborating closely with our partners, we are committed to unlocking the full potential of Aani through current and future features that address evolving market needs.”

The launch of Aani follows the announcement of the UAE’s first Domestic Card Scheme (DCS), which further supports the nation’s digitisation agenda, reduces the cost of payments, and enhances the UAE’s competitiveness.

No international remittances for now

At present, Aani payments are limited to domestic transfers, allowing customers to send and receive money only between accounts held at licensed financial institutions or licensed payment service providers in the UAE, in dirhams.