Dubai sets up new group to oversee transition to cashless society

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Cashless Dubai Working Group aims to shift all payment transactions to secure cashless platforms across sectors

The Government of Dubai has formed a new working group to work on an action to transform the emirate into a cashless society.

The Cashless Dubai Working Group aims to shift all payment transactions in Dubai to secure and easy-to-use cashless platforms across sectors.

The initiative brings together Smart Dubai, Dubai’s Department of Finance (DOF), the Supreme Legislation Committee, Dubai Economy, Dubai Police, Dubai Economic Security Centre, Dubai Chamber, and Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing to drive a "secure and seamless transition", a statement said without giving a deadline for the transition.

The working group will launch a series of ambitious initiatives targeting all segments of the community to create the infrastructure and favourable conditions for eliminating the use of cash.

At its inaugural meeting, it launched the Dubai Cashless Framework Report, developed by Smart Dubai and the Dubai Department of Finance (DoF).

Abdulrahman Saleh Al Saleh, director general of Dubai's DoF, said: "Setting and activating a cashless payment framework will advance various aspects of economic activity in the Dubai, stimulate thoughtful spending, raise revenue and enhance cost effectiveness, whether at the government or private sector level, in addition to enabling individuals to achieve financial savings in many aspects of life.

"This initiative, the first of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa region, reinforces Dubai’s leadership in the regional financial sector," he said.

Sami Al Qamzi, director general of Dubai Economy, added: “The Government of Dubai is keen to accelerate the growth of the cashless economy as directed by the leadership and improve financial inclusion to enhance digital payments in the emirate, as it is one of the key pillars in Dubai’s smart transformation.”

The Cashless Framework Report outlines the governance ecosystem, policy levers, regulatory and industry initiatives, and technology and cultural drivers that are critical to driving the transition towards a cashless society.

It also says that going cashless brings about an array of advantages, ranging from economic benefits to greater health and safety standards for citizens and residents. From a health perspective, the minimal physical contact involved in smart transactions is a particular consideration in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, it noted.

Earlier this month, Al Qamzi said cashless payments are growing faster than expected in the UAE in light of the ongoing coronavirus crisis which has encouraged more shoppers online.

“The increasing shift to digital payments is not only a strong testament to the efficiency of the infrastructure and regulatory framework in the UAE, but also an indicator of the growing confidence among consumers and businesses in the country," he said.


A recent report by Dubai Economy and Visa said that with many consumers and merchants experiencing the convenience of e-commerce for the first time during the lockdown, the shift to shopping online is expected to hold long-term as consumer confidence in digital payments surge across the region.

It added that the shift to paying online also means e-commerce will account for a bigger share of total UAE card payment transaction values in 2020, compared to pre-pandemic predictions, estimated to account for 28.2 percent of the total.

Based on the latest transaction data from Visa, the report also compares the UAE to mature and emerging benchmark markets including the US, UK, Australia and Singapore, as well as Brazil, South Africa and Malaysia.



The launch of the working group in the UAE comes as China has launched one of the biggest real-world trials for its digital currency as it pushes closer towards creating a cashless future.

The government in Shanzhen carried out a lottery to give away a total of 10 million yuan (around $1.5m) worth of digital currency – almost two million people applied and 50,000 were said to have won.


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