Electronic payments facilitate 78% of UAE transaction value

Surge helping drive country’s progress toward a cashless-economy


Somshankar Bandyopadhyay

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Published: Sun 16 Jun 2024, 8:42 PM

Last updated: Sun 16 Jun 2024, 10:47 PM

The UAE saw a year-on-year growth of 53 per cent in 2023 with 58 million real-time payment transactions, which is projected to grow to 162 million by 2028, a recent report showed.

According to the 2024 Prime Time for Real-Time report, published by ACI Worldwide in partnership with GlobalData, the total value of transactions made possible by real-time payments in the UAE is projected to rise from $43 billion in 2023 to $132 billion by 2028.

“Real-time payments eliminate payment friction, inject greater liquidity into the system, and promote economic growth and financial inclusion. Yet, their full potential can only be realised when banks transcend legacy silo systems. With real-time payment schemes now operational in every GCC nation, local banks are at a pivotal juncture where they must harness technological evolution as the catalyst for innovation. The path to innovation lies in modernising and future-proofing their infrastructure, enabling them to fully leverage the potential of real-time payments,” said Santhosh Rao, senior vice-president, sales at ACI Worldwide MEASA.

The surge in real-time and electronic payments signals the UAE’s determined shift towards a cashless economy. In 2023, electronic transactions dominated, comprising over 37 per cent of all transactions in the UAE and a staggering 78 per cent of the transaction value. Notably, real-time payments accounted for 4 per cent of the UAE’s electronic transactions last year, a figure set to grow to 7 per cent by 2028. The ACI report paints a compelling vision of a cashless economy — by 2028, cash-based transactions will dwindle to a mere 20 per cent of all transaction value in the UAE.

Drawing on the insights gained from the report’s analysis of factors driving the success of real-time payments in the countries that currently lead global adoption, Rao said: “Active collaboration is the cornerstone of a thriving real-time payment ecosystem, fostering an environment where banks must navigate a delicate balance of competition and cooperation with emerging market players. The world’s most successful real-time payment schemes, exemplified by India’s achievements, showcase a myriad of real-time payment methods via QR codes, mobile apps, or online accounts, pushing the boundaries of innovative use cases. With the Middle East leading the world in real-time payments growth, financial institutions should seize the opportunity to carefully study these successes and extract valuable insights to inspire the launch of their own pioneering real-time payment solutions.”


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