Mobile payment to receive boost in UAE as Apple Pay plans entry soon

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Early last month, Apple Inc. while releasing its quarterly results, also announced that Apple Pay, its mobile payment software, would be expanded further internationally before the end of 2017.

One of the countries where Apple Pay is being introduced is the UAE, the other countries being Denmark, Finland and Sweden.

According to local media, Apple Pay has tied up with Emirates NBD, Mashreq, HSBC, RakBank, Standard Chartered and Emirates Islamic, and will be available for these banks’ debit and credit card customers under MasterCard and Visa.

All shoppers have to do is to is tap their iPhone or Apple Watch on a payment machine.

Leading NFC player

Apple Pay uses NFC or near field communication, whereby which two devices can communicate when brought within proximity - four centimeters of each other, to be precise.

Apple Pay is by far the leader, with nearly 90 per cent of all transactions worldwide, in NFC payment service on mobile devices.

Speaking to media, Apple Inc. spokesperson said that the “momentum is strongest in international markets, where the infrastructure for mobile payments has developed faster than in the US.”


Emirates Digital Wallet

Apple Pay will have company in the UAE digital payment service scenario by the time it enters the market here.

Samsung Pay, of course, is already available in the UAE and have tied up with many of the leading UAE banks already and works with a range of Samsung devices, including its latest model, the Galaxy S8. It can be used in almost every store, because it supports MST (Magnetic Secure Transmission) and NFC. That means, wherever one uses bank cards, Samsung Pay can also be used.

The other digital wallets in the UAE are EmiratesNBD Pay and Beam Wallet.

Meanwhile, the UAE Banks Federation (UBF) has recently announced that it will be introducing its Emirates Digital Wallet.

The project has been developed and implemented under the aegis of UBF by a special committee representing the 16 partner banks that hold equity stakes in the entity.

Initiated in 2014, and previously called the Mobile Wallet project, Emirates Digital Wallet is set to introduce a society-wide cash transformation to digital, and mark a major milestone in the country’s push towards a cashless future.

“Our objective, since the initiation of this project and subsequently moving from blueprint to implementation, is for banks to establish a dedicated entity and take direct responsibility for expediting the process of digital transformation in the UAE,” said Abdulaziz Al Ghurair, Chairman of the UAE Banks Federation.

“We are proud that this initiative, a true milestone for UBF and an essential building block of the UAE’s Smart Government initiative, is completing its pre-launch stage in coordination with the Central Bank of the UAE, we are eagerly looking ahead to the industry-wide implementation of this massive project in the months to come. We are very confident that the company will add a major boost to the country’s push towards a digital economy.”

In launching a secure mobile phone app to replace traditional cash payments, Emirates Digital Wallet is offering consumers and businesses in the UAE an effective and convenient way to receive, store and transfer money, while setting the path for the country’s transition to a digital future.

“A key objective of Emirates Digital Wallet is to further work towards significantly increasing financial inclusion, and bring large segments of the unbanked population into the folds of banking services and mainstream development processes, as well as offering its services to tourists and visitors to the UAE,” Al Ghurair concluded.

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