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This United Arab Emirates cards and payments market research report provides a detailed analysis of the cards payments and consumer banking market in the UAE, with detailed key performance indicators and expert commentary backed by thorough data.
The current surge in government-sponsored digitalisation points toward a huge opportunity for growth in electronic payments. E-commerce platforms have soared in the United Arab Emirates over the past two years, driving growth in digital payments and the use of credit and debit cards.
As throughout the Middle East region, the cards & payments landscape here is rapidly evolving, with payment service providers populating and evolving the space through M&A centred around payments processing and acquiring.
Credit card issuers have traditionally focused on the premium segment, leaving a vast cohort uncatered for in the low-to-mid income bracket, especially foreign workers. As e-commerce growth continues, the opportunity will only grow bigger for innovative card programmes that utilise the ubiquitous smartphone and virtual card solutions for neglected segments.
How the growing popularity of cards is reshaping the market.
The impact of the state's cashless agenda.
What e-commerce's leap means for payments.
Why prepaid cards have risen sharply.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Demographics and the economy
Key retail banks and issuers
Acquiring and processing
Regulatory and other cards market information
United Arab Emirates Country Report Data Tables
(All 2015-24F unless otherwise stated)
1: Demographic and economic indicators.
2: Ownership of key consumer devices.
3: Internet usage by population.
4: Access points: 2015-22E.
5: Account penetration.
6: Consumer payment trends: 2015-22E.
7: B2C e-commerce payment methods: 2015-22E.
8: Total card payment metrics.
9: Contactless card metrics.
10: Credit card numbers.
11: Total credit card metrics.
12: Credit card profitability indicators.
13: Debit card numbers.
14: Debit card metrics.
15: Prepaid/e-money card metrics.
16: Mobile proximity payment metrics.
17: Profit pool: credit card numbers, billed volumes, outstandings, interest incomes, net interest revenues, merchant revenues, card fee revenues, other non-interest incomes, total revenues, net credit losses, operating expenses, total expenses, pre-tax profits, merchant service charges, rollover rates, APR, net credit losses to outstandings, operating costs to revenues, ROA (pre-tax profits to outstandings).
(All below 2015-22F unless otherwise stated)
18: Networks' credit card market shares.
19: Networks' credit card data numbers.
20: Networks' credit card billed volume.
21: Networks' number of credit card transactions.
22: Networks' average credit card transaction value.
23: Credit card interchange fees by network.
24: Networks' debit card market shares.
25: Networks' debit card data numbers.
26: Networks' debit card billed volume.
27: Networks' number of debit card transactions.
28: Networks' average debit card transaction value.
29: Debit card interchange fees by network.
30: Key credit card issuers market shares by credit card numbers: 2017-22F.
31: Key issuers market shares in credit card outstandings: 2017-22F.
32: Key debit card issuers market shares by debit card numbers: 2017-22F.
33: Merchant acquirer credit card market share: 2021E.
34: Credit card merchant service charges: 2015-24F.
35: Merchant acquirer debit card market share: 2021E.
36: Debit card merchant service charges: 2015-24F.
37: Credit card issuer/issuing processor relationships: -
38: Credit card acquirer/acquiring processor relationships: -
39: Credit card issuing processor market shares by card numbers: 2021E.
40: Credit card acquiring processor market shares by the number of POS transactions: 2021E.
41: Online merchant acquirer market share: 2021E.
Demographics and Economy
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is an Arabian Gulf country made up of seven individual territories (emirates), with Dubai and Abu Dhabi the richest and most populous. The population
increased from 10.7 million in 2019 to 11.1 million at the end of 2020.
Cash remains among the most popular payment options in the Emirates; however, its dominant position is slowly being eroded by electronic forms of payment.
Total payment card (credit, debit and prepaid) billed volume (purchase volume and cash withdrawals) reached $154 billion in 2020, a 4.1% year-on-year decrease. Total payment card
transactions came to 744 million, up by 0.8%.
While mobile payments are available in the United Arab Emirates, billed volume as a proportion of total electronic payments is negligible. However, stakeholders in the payments space have been working to bring mobile payment solutions to the market.
Boosted by an increase in card numbers and billed volumes, total revenue grew by a quarter between 2015 and 2020 to reach $2.4 billion.
Although there are four card networks operating in the country, the market is dominated by Visa and Mastercard, which together represent 99% market share both in terms of the number of credit cards in issue and billed volume as of 2020.
Key Retail Banks and Issuers
There are 21 UAE banks active here, as well as 37 licensed branches of foreign banks (covering both conventional and Islamic banking). Total assets of the Emirati banking system came to approximately $704 billion at the end of 2020.
Acquiring and Processing
Network International (NI), First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) and Mashreq Bank dominate the UAE acquiring market, with a combined market share of 92%. Most of the issuers in the Emirates carry out card processing in-house, while international banks undertake theirs through their regional processing centres.
Lockdown measures in the early half of 2020 accelerated a surge in e-commerce sales volume, with a reported 49% of consumers shopping online more and the majority using cards or digital wallets.
Regulatory and Markets Information
Consumers in the United Arab Emirates are increasingly opting for digital payments in a trend now accelerated by the pandemic. Accordingly, in 2020, the central bank created a comprehensive regulatory policy framework to support the development of digital payment services.
Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank
Abu Dhabi Investment Council
Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange
Al Hilal Bank
Al Rajhi Bank
Amazon Payments Services
Central Bank of UAE
Dubai Islamic Bank
Emerging Market Payments
Emirates Islamic Bank
Emirates Payment Services
First Abu Dhabi Bank
First Gulf Bank
Gulf Cooperation Council
Kuwait Finance House
London Stock Exchange
Majid Al Futtaim Finance LLC
National Bank of Abu Dhabi
National Bank of Ras Al Khaimah
Sharjah Islamic Bank
Targeted Economic Support Scheme
UAE Ministry of Finance
Union National Bank
Wage Protection System
Reports deliver invaluable market and competitor intelligence on card payments, e-money, acquiring/processing, retail banking, and consumer credit. Analysts and researchers use both primary and secondary source data and conduct in-depth interviews with senior industry executives and local experts.
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