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UAE Central Bank working on implementing instant payments

The Central Bank of the UAE is now working on steps to put in place a financial market infrastructure that will enable instant payments in the country.

Following a meeting with bank CEOs on Tuesday, the organization said the move would “support the transformation of the payment landscape” in the UAE.

Officials also talked about the country’s structure for consumer protection, including how complaints are handled and the proposed creation of the Sanadak Ombudsman Unit.

According to the announcement, the unit would be a “unique consumer complaint resolution mechanism in the Middle East region that will provide easy access and quick turnaround for resolution of consumer complaints.”

In keeping with the UAE’s national plan, the Central Bank also emphasized the development of programs aimed at increasing the number of Emiratis employed in the banking industry this year.

“We at the Central Bank are keen on holding these periodic meetings with the bank chief executives to discuss the updates and initiatives that would enhance the banking sector and support the transformation of the UAE’s financial infrastructure, to be among the best central banks and financial systems globally,” Khaled Balama, governor of the Central Bank, said.

“We also appreciate role of banks in the development of the sector as they welcomed the initiatives discussed during the meeting.”

The UAE’s payments landscape is evolving quickly due to the industry’s shift to digitalization in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Locally, purchase now, pay later platforms, digital wallets, and contactless card models are among the payment sector trends that are gaining traction.

Due to the rise in online purchases during the pandemic, according to a recent survey by payments solutions company Checkout.com, more than half of all residents now utilize digital wallets. The younger generation has grown more fond of these.

Meanwhile, more than half of consumers in the UAE plan to go cashless by 2024, compared with the global average of 41 percent, a Visa study earlier this year showed.

According to research from US technology company Entrust, the majority of Middle Eastern consumers are likewise moving toward digital banking, with 61% of UAE consumers preferring to transact online.

According to the Central Bank, the financial system in the UAE has “remained resilient throughout the pandemic, with a broad-based and robust recovery evident across key banking system indicators during 2022 ” BKM/ Expat Media


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