According to a recent study from the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority, 90 percent of people in the UAE use digital banking, while the number of ATM users reached 100 percent.
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“This will be further boosted by the growth of e-commerce, as card payments rise and cash-on-delivery gradually declines,” he said.
Cash-on-delivery represented 21 percent of e-commerce transactions in the UAE in 2017, over twice that of more developed geographies such as Europe, where cash-on-delivery represented only nine percent of e-commerce transactions. It’s a stark change from the year previously, when a Yallcompare survey found that 85 percent of UAE residents still preferred cash on delivery.
Shahebaz Khan, Visa general manager for the UAE, said: “Cash has been in circulation for millennia, so while it may take time to disappear completely, we are optimistic that it will eventually be displaced with consumers, businesses and governments increasingly demanding digital methods to pay and be paid.
“Some consumers may prefer to use cash for small purchases, while others might use cash in situations where they are purchasing something from a cash-only merchant (mostly small merchants who don’t accept card payments or have a POS machine).
“In e-commerce, though some consumers still opt for cash-on-delivery, our ‘Stay Secure’ survey found that 92 percent of them would still choose to pay by card if a mobile POS machine was available upon delivery.”
The switch from cash to digital is being driven by the millennial generation, which accounts for almost 30 percent of the UAE population. And with smartphone penetration at 79 percent it is no surprise that digital payments are becoming more popular.
According to the aforementioned Stay Secure survey, from Visa, 93 percent of UAE consumers found card payments (both in-store and online) more convenient over cash.
Further, Visa statistics show that the UAE is now the leading country in the Middle East and Africa region when it comes to Visa contactless transactions.
Khan said: “Consumers are tapping their card or phone for a whole range of transactions, both big ticket, one-off purchases as well as low value, everyday purchases. In fact, according to Visa data, the average transaction on contactless is around AED100.”
Emirates NBD’s tablet banking initiative helps customers open an account or sign up for a personal loan, credit card or an investment product in a completely paperless manner.
Suvo Sarker, senior executive vice president, head of retail banking and wealth management, Emirates NBD, said: “Today 85 percent of our personal loans are opened fully digitally. Over two-thirds of all customer service requests are fulfilled digitally and straight-through.”
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