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United Arab Emirates Country Report

  • Published Date: September 2019

A comprehensive overview of the cards, payments and consumer banking market in the United Arab Emirates.

Available for 72 markets, Lafferty Research Country Reports deliver invaluable market and competitor intelligence on payments cards, e-money, acquiring/processing, retail banking, and consumer credit. A dedicated team of analysts and researchers use both primary and secondary source data, and conduct in-depth interviews with senior industry executives and experts.

What you will learn from this report:

  • How average profitability per card has risen to world-beating levels
  • What role is played by Premium cards
  • How the authorities are advancing the digital economy
  • Who is gaining market share in the ongoing banking sector consolidation
  • How alternative forms of digital payment are progressing

United Arab Emirates Cards and Payments Market Key Facts

  • Cash remains the most commonly used payment method in the UAE, although total card purchase volume increased by 90 percent from 2013 to 2018, when it reached $66 billion. Given the opportunity, the authorities have prioritised the establishment of a digital economy: in 2018, the central bank's 'National Payment Systems Strategy' was announced.
  • Islamic banking accounts for approximately 20 percent of total banking assets in the UAE, with assets growing at a faster pace than the assets of conventional banking.
  • E-commerce continues to grow in strength and importance on the back of a relatively young, tech-savvy population, widespread internet and smartphone penetration and relatively elevated income per capita.
  • On a per-card basis, the UAE is one of the most profitable cards markets in the world (if not the most profitable): the average pretax profit per credit card amounted to $209 in 2018.
  • Major contributory factors towards elevated profitability are the preponderance of Premium credit cards, relatively high MSCs, and high volumes of cross-border usage for credit cards.
  • Mobile payments are gaining ground in this market. Besides Google Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, there are also a number of mobile payment offerings available from domestic players.
  • Recent years have seen significant consolidation in the banking sector, making the newly founded First Abu Dhabi Bank the second-ranked issuer by both number of credit cards in issue as well as by credit card outstandings.
  • Alipay has partnered with the two leading merchant acquirers in the market, Network International and Mashreq Bank, to grow acceptance of Alipay in the UAE. (However, this drive is at the formative stage). Close rival WeChat Pay is also accepted at a relatively small handful of merchants.


View the UAE Country Report Table of Contents

Key facts
Demographics and the economy
Payments environment
Cards market
Mobile payments
Profit pool
The networks
Key retail banks and issuers
Acquiring and processing
Online acquiring
Regulatory and other cards market information

Appendices: Data

Appendix I: Demographics and the economy

  • Demographic and economic indicators
  • Ownership of key consumer devices
  • Internet usage by population

Appendix II: Payments environment

  • Access points
  • Account penetration
  • Consumer payment trends
  • B2C e-commerce payment methods

Appendix III: Cards market

  • Total cards payment metrics
  • Contactless cards metrics
  • Credit card numbers
  • Total credit cards metrics
  • Credit cards profitability indicators
  • Debit cards numbers
  • Debit cards metrics
  • Appendix IV: Mobile payments
  • Mobile proximity payment metrics
  • Mobile P2P payments

Appendix V: Profit pool

  • Profit pool

Appendix VI: The networks

  • Networks' credit card market shares
  • Networks' credit card numbers
  • Networks' credit card billed volume
  • Networks' number of credit card transactions
  • Networks' average credit card transaction value
  • Credit card interchange fees by network
  • Networks' debit card market shares
  • Networks' debit card numbers
  • Networks' debit card billed volume
  • Networks' number of debit card transactions
  • Networks' average debit card transaction value
  • Debit card interchange fees by network

Appendix VII: Key retail banks and issuers

  • Key credit card issuers market shares by credit card numbers
  • Key issuers market shares in credit card outstandings
  • Key debit card issuers market shares by debit card numbers

Appendix VIII: Acquiring and processing

  • Merchant acquirer credit card market share
  • Credit card merchant service charges
  • Merchant acquirer debit card market share
  • Debit card merchant service charges
  • Credit card issuer/issuing processor relationships
  • Credit card acquirer/acquiring processor relationships
  • Credit card issuing processor market shares by card numbers
  • Credit card acquiring processor market shares by number of POS transactions

Appendix IX: Online acquiring

  • Online merchant acquirer market share


Entities referenced in this report

2CheckOut
Abraaj Capital
Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank
Actis
ADCB
ADIB
AECB
Air Arabia
Al Etihad Credit Bureau
Al Hilal Bank
Al Rajhi Bank of Saudi Arabia
Alipay
Alipay
Amazon
American Express
Apple Pay
Avis
Axiom
Bank of Baroda
Beam Wallet
CashU
CEMEA
Central Bank of the UAE
Cleartrip
CyberSource
DED
DenizBank
Department of Economic Development
DGHR
DIB
DIC
Diebold Nixdorf
Diners Club
Dubai CommerCity
Dubai Free Zones Council
Dubai Government Human Resources Department
Dubai Internet City
Dubai Islamic Bank
Dubai Metro
Dubai Police
Emcredit
Emerging Market Payments
Emirates Airlines
Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company
Emirates Islamic Bank
Emirates National Oil Company
Emirates NBD
Emirates NBD Pay
Emirates Petroleum Products Company
EMP
ENOC
EPPCO
Eros Digital Home
Etisalat
FAB
FGB
First Abu Dhabi Bank
First Gulf Bank
GCC
GCCNET
General Atlantic
Google Pay
Gulf Cooperation Council
HSBC
HyperPay
Ingenico Payments
Joyalukkas Jewellery
Jumbo
Jumeirah Emirates Towers
KinTrans
Kuwait Finance House
Liv
London Stock Exchange (LSE)
Majid Al Futtaim
Malaysia
Manchester City FC
Manchester United FC
Mashreq Bank
Mashreq Neo
Mashreq Payport
MashreqPay
Mastercard
MasterPass
Musafir.com
Namshi
National Bank of Abu Dhabi
National Bank of Ras Al Khaimah
National Payment Systems Strategy
NBAD
Network International
Noor Bank
PayfortPAYMENTS RESEARCH
PayTabs
PayWave
Planet Payment
Prosum
Quisk Middle East
RAKBANK
RAKBANK Amal
Road and Transport Authority
Royal Cloud
RTA
RTA Bus
RuPay
Salaam Rewards
SAMA
Samsung Pay
SAP
Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority
Sharaf DG
Sharjah Islamic Bank
Skrill
Souq.com
Sri Lanka
Srilankan airlines
Standard Chartered Bank
Supreme Committee for Consumer Protection
Telr
UAE Switch
Union National Bank
UnionPay
United Arab Bank offer
US Federal Reserve
Visa
Wage Protection System
Warburg Pincus
WeChat Pay
WPS

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Available for 72 markets, Verisk Financial Research Country Reports deliver invaluable market and competitor intelligence on payments cards, e-money, acquiring/processing, retail banking, and consumer credit. A dedicated team of analysts and researchers use both primary and secondary source data, and conduct in-depth interviews with senior industry executives and experts.

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