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Regulatory environment in UAE created surge in financial technology investments in 2023: Visa

Regulatory environment in UAE created surge in financial technology investments in 2023: Visa
29 Apr 2024 17:56


Visa, a global leader in digital payments, affirmed that the Dubai FinTech Summit is a pivotal platform for fostering innovation and collaboration in the UAE, enabling more financial technology (fintech) companies to create a comprehensive and advanced financial system that is easily accessible.

In statements to the Emirates News Agency (WAM), Hasan Kazmi, Head of Digital Partnerships for Visa in the Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Africa region, said, “Despite the global investment decline in financial technology, the UAE has witnessed a surge in investments in this sector.”

He then referenced a report by “Innovate Finance,” which indicated that global investments in the sector decreased by 42 per cent, while the UAE stood out as a leading hub for financial technology in 2023, as it witnessed a significant increase of 92 per cent in total investment in this sector reaching US$1.3 billion through 54 deals, supported by business-friendly financial technology regulations and the widespread adoption of digital banking services.

Regarding Visa’s announcement of a three-year partnership as a supporting sponsor of the Dubai FinTech Summit, Kazmi stressed that this underscores the company’s commitment to supporting advancing financial technology in the region, as well as the UAE’s keenness to empower the next generation of digital companies and entrepreneurs to achieve growth and prosperity.

He also spoke about several initiatives and programmes led by Visa to support fintech start-ups, including the “Visa Everywhere” initiative, which serves as a global platform for start-ups to showcase their innovations and secure potential funding; the “Fintech Fast Track” programme aimed at accelerating the onboarding process and providing necessary resources for rapid growth and market entry; and the “Visa Ready to Launch - VRTL” programme, which aims to simplify the process of issuing payment products.

He added that developers looking to integrate Visa technologies can receive direct support from the company’s developer centres.

He then highlighted Visa’s various collaborations with fintech companies in the region, including “AlaanPay,” which provides a comprehensive platform for expense management supported by artificial intelligence (AI) for small and medium-sized enterprises, and the “Tarabut Gateway,” a regional open banking platform aimed at enhancing customers’ experiences, simplifying cross-border transactions and encouraging financial innovation through leveraging open banking, which represents Visa's first project in the local open banking sector.

Regarding the growth of digital payments using cards in the Emirati market, Kazmi explained that card payments were the most common online payment method in the UAE last year, accounting for nearly half of all transactions at 48 per cent, while digital wallets came in second, representing slightly less than a quarter of transactions at 23 per cent of the total.

He also confirmed that mobile payments are increasingly becoming the preferred option for in-store payments, with the use of mobile payment services at point-of-sale terminals in the UAE witnessing a significant increase.

He then noted that the mobile phone usage rate for payment transactions at the point of sale increased from 28 per cent in 2020 to 41 per cent in 2023, indicating a growing trend towards mobile payment solutions among Emirati consumers and reflecting a shift towards more convenient and secure payment methods.

Regarding the volume of digital payments using cards compared to cash payments, Kazmi said, “Digital payments occupy a leading position in the UAE, with cards accounting for most payment wallets. However, nearly 20 per cent of transactions are still done in cash.”

He confirmed the presence of a robust financial system in the UAE that is more than capable of handling local and international payments.

He noted Visa’s role in facilitating regional, international, and cross-border transactions seamlessly and processing up to 76,000 transactions per second globally and within moments. Visa can process payment data, route them between parties, and allow transactions with risk management across 200 countries and regions, he added.

Regarding the outlook for the electronic payments market in the Middle East and the UAE, Kazmi stated, “The electronic payments market in the region, including in the UAE, is witnessing growth across various sectors, such as card-based payments, e-commerce, and mobile payments, and digital wallets are a crucial element in this growth journey, emerging as the fastest-growing online payment method in the Middle East and Africa region, as well as globally.”

“Digital wallets accounted for 23 per cent of e-commerce spending in 2023 the Middle East and Africa region, with a 35 per cent year-on-year increase in transaction value. Looking ahead, further growth in the electronic payments market is expected, driven by various factors such as technological innovation, e-commerce growth, and shifting consumer preferences towards non-cash transactions,” he added.

Source: WAM
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