Going cashless? It is very much possible
Visitors at Matica Technologies pavilion during the Cards and Payments Middle East at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre on Tuesday.
Dubai - Dubai There are a growing number of consumers, who today go around without carrying cash in their wallets and purses.
Is it possible to go about your daily business being completely cashless in the UAE? Experts at the Cards & Payments Middle East 2016 exhibition certainly seem to think so.
Speaking in an interview at the exhibition, Hamid Qureshi, regional sales manager for the Middle East at Thales E-Security, noted that there are a growing number of consumers, who today go around without carrying cash in their wallets and purses.
"There are a few areas where such consumers might have trouble here in the UAE, but in a lot of areas we have seen that it is possible for people to get by without having to carry bank notes. What we are seeing emerge is a number of providers who will help small time vendors adopt forms of payment that free people from carrying cash."
Qureshi highlighted the fact that smaller vendors such as taxis and small neighborhood grocery shops often have difficulties investing in the technology that will provide cashless forms of secure payment, but that a time will come when it will be common to see even small vendors offering that option. He also explained that cashless payment today wasn't just limited to paying for purchases by credit or debit card.
Going cashless can range from consumers paying through mobile payment applications on their smartphones, to paying through the latest wearable devices such as smart watches.
"Soon, all you might need is a smart wearable device," he said. "In essence, it doesn't really matter what the prevalent accessible technology is that you are using to pay, as long as providers are ensuring that the transaction is being done in a safe and secure manner. By 2020, with the smart initiatives introduced by the government in the UAE, we are definitely looking at being a cashless society."
Ahmed Fasih Akhtar, co-founder and chief executive officer of mobile payments company, Trriple, also noted that the UAE will soon become a cashless society, but it may also become more mobile driven when it comes to payments.
As many as 75 per cent of all UAE transactions may be done in cash; however, this antiquated form of payment is as expensive as it is seemingly convenient, with global economists in agreement that the 'cost of cash' ranges between 1.25 and 2.0 per cent of the GDP of a nation. There are tremendous efficiency costs to cash, whereas a cashless society means fewer direct costs to print and distribute money, but also far fewer opportunity and social costs related to criminal activity and black or grey market economics. Mobile payments bring increased efficiency, security, and social inclusion, elements not fully realised today with credit cards.
"The way UAE consumers spend money is set to change forever, with mobile payments quickly becoming the norm rather than the exception. There is clearly a global push to move beyond using only plastic cards for payments, enriching the consumer experience through mobile apps," said Akhtar.
The Trriple payment platform offers highly-secure and convenient payment solutions that include NFC and QR Code, between consumers holding their mobile wallets and merchants deploying their mobile Point of Sale terminals for accepting payments. Mobile wallet users can fund, or 'top-up', their accounts in several ways: cash-in at merchant locations; credit or debit cards; ATM machine; and through salary transfers using the Wages Protections System mandated by the Central Bank of UAE and Ministry of Labour. Trriple, as a bank-led mobile wallet provider, has also partnered with major UAE banks to facilitate digital payments on its platform.
In a similar move, Beam Wallet and MasterCard have teamed up to bring consumers a fast, innovative, and rewarding way to shop at over 3,000 stores in the UAE. The innovative mobile payment solution offers users the chance to earn a range of rewards, including food and beverage, travel, shopping, telecommunications and entertainment discounts at physical retail outlets in the UAE. Beam Wallet users, thanks to this collaboration with MasterPass by MasterCard, can now enjoy shopping online at over 250,000 global locations.
MasterPass by MasterCard is a digital platform that enables consumers to pay quickly and securely using any payment card or enabled device. It can be used wherever the 'Buy with MasterPass' checkout button is found. Among the 3,000 merchants accepting the innovative payment solution is Emirates National Oil Company (Enoc). Users filling up at Enoc gas stations across the UAE can now stay in the car with their windows closed as they make payments with a few taps on their mobile phones.
Milan Gauder, executive head of global products and solutions for the Middle East and Africa at MasterCard, says that a cashless future is not far away. "The UAE is a very well terminalised market so you will always find a merchant that will be able to help you in that regards. What we need to really get to that cashless future though is a payment experience that is even more convenient, safer, and seamless than it is today. Once that happens you will see a lot more consumers begin to switch to making cashless payments."
What we need to get to a cashless future is a payment experience that is even more convenient, safer, and seamless than it is today, says Milan Gauder, executive head of global products and solutions for the Middle East and Africa at MasterCard.
What we are seeing emerge is a number of providers who will help small time vendors adopt forms of payment that free people from carrying cash, says Hamid Qureshi, regional sales manager for the Middle East at Thales E-Security.