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Card payments market in UAE to be worth $139bn in 2024

A constant consumer shift towards e-payments and an increase in consumer spending are behind the growth in card payments in the UAE Unsplash.com/Blake Wisz
A constant consumer shift towards e-payments and an increase in consumer spending are behind the growth in card payments in the UAE
  • Rise of 13% expected on 2023
  • CAGR of 11% predicted to 2028
  • Mobile POS terminals help drive increase

Card payment transactions in the UAE are expected to grow 13 percent to AED511 billion ($139 billion) this year, thanks to a constant consumer shift towards e-payments and an increase in consumer spending.

The London-based analytics company GlobalData has forecast that the UAE card payments market will increase at a compound annual growth rate of 10.6 percent between 2024 and 2028, reaching AED764 billion in 2028.

The value of card payments grew nearly 18 percent in 2022, followed by a 15 percent rise in 2023 to AED451 billion. 



Although cash remains the preferred mode of payment, the rise in card payments is being driven by constant efforts from the government and financial institutions to drive e-payments through so-called “financial inclusion initiatives”, said Ravi Sharma, lead banking and payments analyst at GlobalData.

Financial inclusion measures by the government and the Central Bank of the UAE include introducing the wage protection system – which ensures that employers pay accurate and timely salaries to their employees – and the financial infrastructure transformation programme, designed to speed up the digital transformation of the wider use of mobile payments.

There is increased use of mobile POS terminals, especially among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as they are much cheaper than the alternatives.

The UAE had 557,000 SMEs as of mid-2022, according to the UAE SME Council. The number is expected to reach one million by 2030. 

The UAE government is making other moves, such as the Cashless Dubai initiative, to reduce the dependence on cash and promote e-payments, which boosts card payments, Sharma said.

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