UAE Moving Away From Cash-Based Society

A MasterCard study has found the UAE has one of the fastest changing payments systems.



The UAE’s economy is amongst those most rapidly moving away from being a cash-based society, a new report has found.

The study also showed that the UAE government has taken a strong leadership in promoting electronic payments to support the country’s social and economic goals.

The MasterCard report explored the payment patterns of 33 countries from five regions, representing more than 85 per cent of global GDP.

With a ‘trajectory indicator’ of 65, the UAE has one of the fastest changing payments systems of the countries studied and with a ‘readiness score’ of 69, it has eliminated many of the macro-economic barriers in creating a cashless society.

The study suggested one of the main reasons for the change was a shift from cash to debit cards between 2006 and 2011.

However the report also found that only 26 per cent of consumer payments in the country are made with non-cash methods, indicating the UAE is still in the early days of its progress to becoming cashless.

Eyad Al Kourdi, UAE country manager, MasterCard, said: “The United Arab Emirates is indeed progressing at a brisk pace on its cashless journey, which has received a tremendous boost with the implementation of key Government initiatives like the Wage Protection System (WPS) that has vastly increased access to electronic payment methods over a short period of time.

“These changes suggest that the country’s cashless journey is well underway and gaining momentum.”

The study determined a country’s readiness to move to a cashless society by weighing factors such as: the accessibility and affordability of financial services; the scale and market share of retailers; the level of technology that is available; and participation of consumers in the formal economy.

The leading countries rated by the amount of cashless consumer transactions were Belgium with 93 per cent, France with 92 per cent, Canada with 90 per cent and the UK with 89 per cent.

Indonesia, Russia and Egypt had some of the lowest scores.