22/10/2017 08:26 AST

Dubai could yield a benefit of $2.188 billion (Dh8 billion) annually and generate thousands of jobs by increased use of digital payments, according to a newly-released report.

Conducted by Roubini ThoughtLab and commissioned by Visa, the "Cashless Cities: Realising the benefits of digital payments" report ranked Dubai among digitally maturing cities of the world.

"Dubai is developing the use of smart receipts - digital receipts that can be directly stored in a mobile device - that will replace paper and e-mail receipts to enhance transparency in retailing, boost consumer confidence, and improve personal financial management," the report said in a note about the emirate.

The emirate could see 18,900 jobs being created as catalytic impact during 2017-32 and net impact of 3.1 per cent to its gross domestic product. The increased adoption of digital payments will benefit wage growth by 0.05 per cent and productivity growth by 0.08 per cent in the emirate.

Hadi Raad, Visa Head of Digital Solutions for Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, said Dubai has made rapid progress in the past few years in its vision towards transforming into a fully smart city. The government understands the real economic benefits to be gained from increased digital payments - supported by the recent Moody's Analytics study that found that increased card usage contributed 0.23 per cent to UAE's GDP growth from 2011 - 2015, and has since implemented several smart solutions within its public infrastructure.

Be it the Dubai Blockchain Strategy, which aims to leverage blockchain technology for secure government transactions, or the DubaiNow app that consolidates all utility and government services payments in one app, the public sector has embraced innovation as a pathway for sustainable growth, he added.

"We are also seeing global and local brands launching digital wallets to satisfy the consumers' appetite in the UAE for mobile payment solutions. Recent examples include Emirates NBD and Mashreq Bank launching their own digital wallets - Emirates NBD Pay and MashreqPay, respectively, and global brands like Samsung launching Samsung Pay earlier this year in the UAE, and Apple, which recently announced plans to launch ApplePay here," he added.

The private sector has also reflected this ethos with current estimates of Dubai's eCommerce sector set to grow up to $10 billion by next year. Amazon's recent acquisition of Souq is indicative of the confidence leading brands have in the UAE's eCommerce market. Moreover, significant investments are being made into smart financial and commercial services to accommodate the 30 million visitors during Expo 2020.

Raad stated that the common link between all these milestones is the function of digital payments: smart money serves as the foundation of a truly smart city, making the role of e-payments more significant than ever in enabling the government's vision, supporting economic growth and job creation and transforming Dubai from cash-dominant into a cashless society.

Be it public or private sector, Dubai is fast moving towards adopting digital solution in every sphere of life. Dubai aims to makes the public transactions paperless, hence, has announced to issue its last paperless transaction by the government in 2021.

The UAE Central Bank earlier this year issued new regulations to facilitate robust adoption of digital payments across the UAE in a secure manner.

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Khaleej Times

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