The UAE Central Bank launched a new programme to accelerate digital transformation of the financial services sector, it said on Sunday.
The Financial Infrastructure Transformation Programme (FIT programme) aims to support financial services sector, promote digital transactions, and enable the UAE’s competitiveness to become the financial and digital payment hub and a centre of excellence for innovation and digital transformation.
The programme comprises nine key initiatives. The first stage includes a series of digital payment infrastructures and services such as the launch of a Card Domestic Scheme, an Instant Payments Platform, and the issuance of Central Bank Digital Currency for cross-border and domestic uses. These digital payment initiatives will drive financial inclusion, promote payment innovation, security and efficiency, and achieve a cashless society.
The next stage of the programme is to develop and implement a number of digital infrastructures, including the establishment of Financial Cloud, eKYC and Open Finance Platforms. These digital infrastructures will improve regulatory compliance, reduce cost of operation, enhance innovation and customer experience, and most importantly, strengthen their security and operational resilience.
With a full integration set for 2026, the FIT programme creates an important platform in support of the country’s “We the UAE 2031” vision and National Digital Economy Strategy.
Khaled Mohamed Balama, Governor of the CBUAE, said: “The FIT programme embodies the directions and aspirations of our wise leadership towards digitising the economy and developing the financial sector. We are proud to be building an infrastructure that will support a thriving UAE financial ecosystem and its future growth.
“We will work with our partners to implement the programme, achieve its goals, accelerate the adoption of digital services in the financial sector and attract the best talent.”
The nine initiatives of the FIT programme:
1. Card Domestic Scheme: The UAE’s first unified, secured, and efficient card payment platform to facilitate the growth of e-commerce and digital transactions in the country.
2. eKYC: A secure and user-friendly platform to facilitate non-face-to-face customer on-boarding and on-going customer due diligence.
3. Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC): CBDC for both cross-border payments and domestic usage in order to address the problems and inefficiency of cross-border payments and help drive innovation for domestic payments respectively.
4. Open Finance: Driving innovation and competitiveness as well as collaboration in the financial services sector through inter-connectivity and inter-operability among all players and institutions.
5. Supervisory Technology (SupTech): Advanced SupTech supporting the regulatory and supervisory processes.
6. Innovation Hub: A collaborative platform for engagement, research and development for fintechs.
7. Instant Payments Platform: A secure, efficient, and robust payment platform that will support financial inclusion and enable a cashless society through digital payments.
8. Financial Cloud: A secure, resilient, scalable, and reliable sovereign financial infrastructure.
9. Excellence and Customer Experience: Supporting exceptional customer experiences and fostering a culture of excellence across the financial sector.