Digital Wallets
Which digital wallet will you be using today? UAE consumers have options to pay or send money through digital means as cash and plastic take a backseat. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: After the great shift to online shopping of 2020, UAE consumers are now taking to another digital habit – with their ‘wallets’. Over half of UAE’s population now have used digital wallets for the first time, according to a survey by payments solutions firm, typically using these platforms for everything from paying monthly bills to buying groceries.

The report said that digital wallets stand to ‘shake up’ the multibillion-dollar remittance market in the Gulf, with a third of UAE residents stating they are using digital wallets to send funds overseas. Before the COVID-19 outbreak, the UAE was the second-biggest global market for outbound migrant remittances after the US.

  • Around 40% of respondents trust digital wallets as much as banks.
  • About 48% believe that digital wallets could lead to a cashless society in 10 years
  • More than 80% of UAE residents will maintain or raise online shopping spend

“With more people embracing the convenience of digital wallets coupled with the reassurance of their transactions being safe and secure, digitization of the payment system is unstoppable,” said Mo Ali Yusuf, Regional Manager for MENAP at “The findings reveal an undeniable trend towards digital wallets becoming the future of consumer payments,”

Trust factor

The study found that many respondents trust digital wallets as much as banks and believe that it could lead to a cashless society in a decade’s time. “Cash usage continues to decline, with only 20 per cent of respondents saying they use cash-on-delivery for online purchases – this compares to 40 per cent in 2020,” said in a statement.

This trend will further strengthen as 83 per cent of UAE residents are expected to maintain or even increase their current level of e-commerce spending into 2022. Also, 28 per cent of UAE residents use wallets to send funds to friends and family, showing the popularity of peer-to-peer transactions over traditional bank-to-bank transfers. “The report revealed little difference in online shopping habits between men and women, demonstrating digitization has appeal across genders,” said “However, there is a broader appeal for digital wallets amongst younger shoppers.”

The findings highlight that 16 per cent of 18–24-year-olds prefer digital wallets compared to 9 per cent amongst the 25-34 age group.