The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is to launch the country’s first national domestic card scheme (DCS) in order to promote the use of digital payments and enhance financial inclusion.
The Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) and its subsidiary payments infrastructure provider Al-Etihad Payments are to develop and implement the DCS in partnership with NPCI International Payments Ltd (NIPL) – the subsidiary founded by the National Payments Corporation of India to promote its Unified Payments Interface mobile payments service and RuPay domestic payment card scheme to global markets.
Al-Etihad Payments and NIPL have now signed a strategic partnership agreement and plan to launch the DCS “in early 2024”.
“As part of its Financial Infrastructure Transformation (FIT) programme introduced in 2023, CBUAE’s launch of Al Etihad Payments aims to implement an innovative, interoperable and enabling payments infrastructure allowing licensed financial institutions and payment service providers to further enhance customer experience through advanced payment solutions,” NIPL says.
“Scheduled to launch in early 2024, the DCS will aim to facilitate the growth of e-commerce and digital transactions in the UAE, bolster financial inclusion, support the nation’s digitisation agenda, increase alternative payment options, reduce the cost of payments, and enhance the UAE’s competitiveness and position as a global digital payments leader.”
“The establishment of a DCS for the UAE is a momentous step towards achieving the nation’s ambitious digital payments strategy, facilitating the transformation of the UAE’s financial sector, fostering greater financial inclusion and strengthening the country’s economic resilience,” CBUAE assistant governor Saif Al Dhaheri adds.
“We also look forward to establishing an innovation fund that will look to support the payment systems of India and the UAE, drive R&D and foster the capabilities of UAE citizens to ensure their effective management of the DCS.”
The NPCI launched its NIPL subsidiary in September 2020.