Dubai could see $2.2bn uptick in the economy by adopting 10% more cashless facilities, say experts. The UAE is moving ever closer to becoming a cashless society, attendees at the Success 2020 Arabian Business forum were told.
Multiple government initiatives in the UAE have led to a sharp increase in digital transactions. “There’s a lot of momentum at the moment and I think that’s what’s important,” Shahebaz Khan, GM for UAE at Visa told the forum. The UAE has a young, dynamic population and we are very quick at adopting new things. There is a huge penetration of mobile phone devices. The government is extremely supportive. Earlier this year we had a week where the government organisations decided that they were not going to accept cash at the counters, and that led to people going online to carry out transactions.”
Khan said the UAE has an advantage its move towards cashless as consumers are quick to adopt new tech and merchants are equally adept at making the infrastructure available. “I think the last bit that we need to focus on now is how we get those smaller retailers and businesses on to the cashless economy,” Khan said.
He said the UAE will see the benefits long-term with its move towards cashless. Citing a study conducted by Roubini ThoughtLab and commissioned by Visa, Khan said Dubai’s economy will see significant economic benefits. “In Dubai, they estimated that increasing cashless in society by 10 percent would result in a $2.2bn uptick in the economy. And that comes through a number of sources – saving time in the handling of cash, both from a consumer and business perspective; better tax collection – a more efficient tax systems, and just for businesses to better manage their inflows and outflows better.”
Nick Vinckier, managing director, Duval Union Consulting (DUC), MENA, said there was an added security benefit of not businesses and consumers handling less cash.