The company has received initial approval for a store value facilities and retail payment service provider license from the Central Bank of the UAE, it said in a statement to the Dubai Financial Market, where its shares are traded.
A digital wallet stores users’ credit and/or debit card information and links it to a payment gateway to allow purchases at a point of sale.
Customers can use the Al Ansari digital wallet to receive their salaries, remit money domestically and abroad, settle bills, and access digitally enabled services by using a personal QR code, a dedicated app or their phone number, according to the statement.
“With a consumer base exceeding 4 million customers, we are confident that this initiative will significantly benefit a large segment of consumers across the UAE,” Rashed Al Ansari, group chief executive of Al Ansari Financial Services, said.
“Our aim is to simplify the financial experiences of our users, providing them with the freedom to manage and access their funds while prioritising responsible financial practices.”
Globally, the Covid-19 pandemic spurred the faster adoption of digital payments, particularly contactless payments, due to heightened awareness about the spread of the virus through banknotes and coins.
Almost two thirds of people in the UAE, or 64 per cent, expect the country to become fully cashless by 2030, a 2020 poll by Standard Chartered revealed.
The Emirates also ranked as the eighth-most cashless society in the world in 2021, a report by UK-based price comparison website Money.co.uk said.
The global digital revolution transformed the financial services sector, spurring fiscal inclusion and leading to more people than ever before having access to a bank account for the first time, the World Bank’s Global Findex 2021 report said.
About 22 per cent of the GCC’s population is unbanked, compared with 60 per cent in North Africa, according to a report by consultancy Strategy&.
In the Middle East and North Africa region, 79 per cent of young adults are unbanked and 72 per cent of the poorest citizens can benefit from financial inclusion, the Arab Monetary Fund said.
Al Ansari Digital Pay’s platform is designed to provide a “seamless” peer-to-peer transfer solution and a “comprehensive payment experience” for all UAE-based customers, the company said.
The digital wallet will empower users with the tools required to make prudent financial decisions, giving them purchasing power and access to funds and transaction history for both personal and business needs, the company added.
It will also offer micro-financing options through strategic partnerships with licensed financial institutions, “contributing to financial empowerment and inclusion”, Al Ansari said.
"This advancement brings the Al Ansari Financial Services Group one step closer to creating an optimised and diversified digital one-stop-shop marketplace," it added.