The United Arab Emirates’ Cards and Payments Industry: Emerging Opportunities, Trends, Size, Drivers, Strategies, Products and Competitive Landscape

Date: 2015-09

“The UAE card payments channel grew both in terms of volume and value during the review period (2009−2013). In terms of the number of cards in circulation, the channel increased from 10.3 million in 2009 to 18.2 million in 2013, at a review-period compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.31%. Over the forecast period (2014−2018), the card payments channel is anticipated to register a CAGR of 8.57%, to reach 28.4 million cards in 2018.
In terms of transaction value, the card payments channel increased from AED226.5 billion (US$61.7 billion) in 2009 to AED487.6 billion (US$132.8 billion) in 2013, at a review-period CAGR of 21.13%. The card payments channel is anticipated to increase further from AED529.2 billion (US$144.1 billion) in 2014 to AED673.9 billion (US$183.5 billion) in 2018, at a forecast-period CAGR of 6.23%.
The UAE government’s initiative to promote cashless transactions, the growing popularity of payment cards based on traditional Islamic principles, the introduction of contactless technology, and the retail, e-commerce and tourism industries growth all contributed to the expansion of the UAE card payments channel in volume and value terms during the review period.
The UAE’s well-developed telecommunications infrastructure allowed it to record one of the highest mobile penetration rates in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in 2013. Banks such as Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB), Emirates NBD, and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB) partnered with merchants and online retailers to provide secure payment facilities, enabling customers to pay via mobile phone or online. Mobile payments (m-payments) grew from AED86.2 million (US$23.5 million) in 2009 to AED1.8 billion (US$477.2 million) in 2013 at a CAGR of 112.35% and are anticipated to reach AED11.1 billion (US$3.0 billion) in 2018, at a forecast-period CAGR of 38.05%.
E-commerce is increasing as a result of improvements in telecommunication infrastructure, payment and security systems, and an increased consumer willingness to shop online. E-commerce registered a review-period CAGR of 32.71%, rising from AED5.6 billion (US$1.5 billion) in 2009 to AED17.5 billion (US$4.8 billion) in 2013.
In line with an increase in number of outbound travelers, outbound travel expenditure among the retail and corporate segments increased from AED59.8 billion (US$16.3 billion) in 2009 to AED65.0 billion (US$17.7 billion) in 2013, and is anticipated to increase further over the forecast period to reach AED99.1 billion (US$27.0 billion) in 2018, fuelling the growth of travel cards. ”

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