Payments industry revenue in the UAE is expected to grow to $18.7 billion by 2031, driven by the young and tech-savvy population in the Arab world’s second-largest economy, according to a new report by the Boston Consulting Group.
Revenues are expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 7.7 per cent between 2021 and 2031, BCG said in its Global Payments 2022: The New Growth Game report on Tuesday.
Revenues from credit cards, debit cards and current accounts, in particular, will drive the industry’s growth over the 10-year period.
“The UAE continues to see robust growth in payments and FinTech activity,” Mohammad Khan, managing director and partner at BCG, said.
“A combination of drivers — such as the country’s young, tech-savvy and fast-growing population, the nation's bid to become a crypto and FinTech hub, and the planned launch of a domestic payments scheme are resulting in greater competition and paving the way for future growth.”
Digitisation of the payments industry and the development of a FinTech ecosystem are among the priorities for the UAE, which is charting the road map for the future economy and the next 50 years of its development.
This year alone, several digital banks, as well as specialised payments players, have launched in the UAE as the government incentivises the development of the payments industry.
The FinTech industry has also received increasing attention from venture capital firms. Funding for start-ups in the Middle East and North Africa rose 20 per cent annually to more than $2.3bn in the first three quarters of 2022, according to a Magnitt study.
FinTech remained the leading industry during the period, with 94 deals valued at $747m, which is an annual increase of almost three quarters, it added.
“Cross-industry participation in digital payments will [also] provide an added impetus to the region's already burgeoning sector,” Mr Khan said.
BCG said four trends are shaping the outlook of the global payments industry and will also drive growth in the UAE over the next five years.
As the era of non-profitable growth comes to an end, payments players will have to demonstrate “solid profitability to attract customers and investors”.
“The sustained cash-to-non-cash conversion, the ongoing growth of e-commerce, and the increasing integration of payments into retail and corporate customer journeys will drive payments revenues globally,” the consultancy said.
Central bank digital currencies will continue to gain momentum as regulators keep on tailoring CBDCs to complement cash with digital central bank money, it said.