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Mobile wallet initiative gets go-ahead

Mobile wallet initiative gets go-ahead

Project is the financial component of UAE’s smart government initiative.

By Haseeb Haider - Principal Correspondent, Abu Dhabi

Published: Mon 15 Jun 2015, 11:01 PM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 3:17 PM

The mobile wallet initiative was approved for implementation at a recent UAE Banks Federation’s CEOs Advisory Council. The project will be funded by 18 of the largest UAE banks. — Supplied photo

Abu Dhabi — The UAE Banks Federation (UBF) has given the green light to the mobile wallet initiative which will revolutionise digital payments in the country.

The UAE Banks Federation mWallet is an initiative which is expected to be an important catalyst for the future of the digital economy.

The initiation phase was completed successfully. The initiative, funded by the UAE’s 18 largest banks, was approved for implementation at the UAE Banks Federation’s CEOs Advisory Council in May.

The UBF board of directors gave the goahead for the project after receiving the final ratification from the UAE Central Bank, the Federation said.

The project represents the financial component of the UAE’s Smart Government initiative, and has been managed under the supervision of the UAE Banks Federation.

Speaking on the initiative’s importance and how it can change the way payments are made in the country, Sudheer Kumar Shetty, chief operating officer of UAE Exchange, called it a move in line with emerging market trends. “Though adoption will be slow, even if 15 per cent to 20 per cent of UAE residents switch over in the short term, it would be a good start, given the high number of smartphone users here.”

Shetty said the mWallet will facilitate digital payments, i.e. payments of utility bills and sending remittances. It will help reduce the workload on brick and mortar branches.

Shetty said his company had introduced the concept in 2003 when the regulatory framework was not in place. He said the UAE Exchange offers a digital payment platform via www.money2anywhere.com for the markets of US, Europe and Australia.

The UAE is fast becoming a cashless society, thanks to a push towards smart governance and the advent of more secure payment technologies.

With 95 per cent Internet penetration and 78 per cent smartphone penetration, the UAE is poised to take a leadership role in digital payment adoption in the Middle East.

The UAE Central Bank is taking the lead in designing a new regulatory framework that will help drive the digital payments framework in the UAE.

Shetty said that the environment is right in order to launch such digital initiatives.

Banks and financial institutions have already launched digital payment platforms in the country for tech-savvy customers.

A Citi excutive said: “At Citi, we want to be at the forefront of digital innovation globally. Citigroup became the first global bank to introduce its own branded wallet in the US.”

He added: “As online spending continues to grow, consumers want a faster way to make purchases online. Citi Wallet delivers this by reducing online checkout to just a few clicks — whether they are buying a sweater, flowers or a new tablet.”

In September 2014, Citi launched Citi Mobile Challenge, a global initiative to inspire technology developers to reimagine mobile banking and payments.


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