Acceptance of mobile wallets in the UAE is growing as consumers become spoilt for choice when it comes to payment options.
With a simple tap of their smartphone or smartwatch, residents can today pay at supermarkets, hotels, department stores, petrol stations, taxis, cinemas and may more outlets as banks, acquirers and payment providers forge ahead with digital payment landscape in the country.
Mobile payments in the UAE are witnessing tremendous growth and are poised to demonstrate transactions growth in double digits. Encouraging adoption rates across income strata and segments showcase the value and convenience consumers are deriving from this secure and easy payment method.
As a convenient payment mechanism, a mobile wallet is essentially an app on your smartphone where you can store your credit and debit card to make purchases.
The magic of mobile payments is not about slapping the functionality of a plastic card onto a phone. It is about delivering choice, convenience and control in a seamless customer experience.
Emirates Islamic has been a pioneer among Islamic peers in contactless payment solutions
Emirates Islamic, a leading Islamic financial institution in the UAE, sees technology as a key area of innovation and is making huge investments in the field to differentiate itself.
“With more of our customers banking digitally, we continue to expand the range of services on our online banking, mobile app and other digital channels. We are the first and only Islamic bank in UAE to have launched all three major digital mobile wallets, namely Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay, providing secure and convenient payment solutions to our customers,” says Wasim Saifi, Deputy CEO - Consumer Wealth Management, Emirates Islamic.
The availability of digital platforms such as smartphones, tablets and mobile applications means customers’ expectations of how they interact with the bank is changing. Sharia-compliant banks such as Emirates Islamic are stepping up efforts to capture the wallet share of digitally savvy customers.
“Emirates Islamic has been a pioneer among Islamic peers in contactless payment solutions,” says Saifi.
The bank’s digital-first approach has been steadily gaining traction, with approximately 60 per cent of customers now banking through online and mobile banking channels, adds Saifi.
It was the first Islamic bank in the UAE to launch a mobile banking app, which now has a 4.5/5 App store rating with more than 17,000 reviews. Recent innovative features by Emirates Islamic in digital banking include cardless withdrawal at ATMs, smart pass authentication for additional security and remote branch queue ticket, bringing additional convenience to customers.
“Mobile wallets usage is growing in UAE because consumers’ are very receptive to new modes of payment,” says Shalini Verma, CEO of Pivot Technologies, digital transformation company based in the UAE.
“In particular, millennials who are digital natives and are joining the workforce, have no qualms about using mobile wallets. Cash will eventually become passé for the new generation.”
Younger customers are expected to play a crucial role in the growth of Islamic finance and help expand its customer base in the future.
The global Islamic economy is growing apace, driven by an expanding, young Muslim population, which is expected to hit 2.2 billion by 2030 - a growth rate that is twice as fast as the global average, according to the State of the Global Islamic Economy Report 2017-18.
All this comes as the ecosystem for mobile wallets is well entrenched in the UAE, which boasts one of the highest penetration rates of smartphones in the world, according to the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.
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. Digital commerce and cashless payments were identified as top government priorities in UAE Vision 2021.
“A deep penetration of smartphones is the baseline for mobile wallet adoption, and this has been a reality for years in UAE,” says Verma.