UAE launches contactless mobile payment app for residents

Empay also offers an advance credit facility to users based on their credit history

Users can download Empay for free and use the Mastercard digital card that comes with the app. Courtesy Mastercard

Emirates Payment Services, an initiative of Dubai Economy, introduced a new mobile payment application called Empay for UAE residents as it looks to facilitate cashless transactions.

It is the region's “first national contactless mobile payment app” and the world’s “first contactless instant credit” provider, the company said on Sunday.

Empay will not require any paperwork and allocation of funds will be based on users’ credit history.

“This new solution will contribute towards [the] acceleration of the nation’s ongoing transformation into the most advanced and connected digital marketplace in the world," Ali Ibrahim, deputy director general of Dubai Economy, and chairman and managing director of Empay, said.

Empay is currently available for only UAE residents but it will soon be rolled out in other markets across the region, Mr Ibrahim said.

People can download the app from the Google Play Store or the iOS App Store and register. They can add their existing credit or debit card details or also get a Mastercard digital card that comes with the app. Users can sign up using their mobile number and email address.

"We are delighted to launch Empay and join the movement to accelerate the delivery of digital services in the region,” said Muna Al Qassab, chief executive of Empay.

The app aims to become the ultimate payment solution for all residents of the UAE, she added.

“The objective of the application is to offer a single platform for residents to make their day-to-day payments without the need of having multiple apps on their mobile phones for different payment requirements,” said Ms Qassab.

Using Empay, customers can pay for government and private sector services, including licence renewals at the Dubai Economic Department, all types of bill payments, food ordering, school fee payments, international remittances and peer-to peer micro payments.

Digital payments are booming as users increasingly shun cash in favour of online and contactless payments during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Globally, digital payments are set to grow to $8.26 trillion in 2024, from $4.4tn this year, according to Statista.

The UAE is leading the adoption of digital payments in the region.

A McKinsey survey of UAE consumers also found they are 10 per cent more likely to use a credit card or a digital wallet, with 20 per cent stating they are less likely to use cash when making a payment.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - November 29, 2020: Ali Ibrahim Mohammad Ismail, Chairman. Empay LLC, an initiative of Dubai Economy, invites you to a Press conference to announce the launch of Empay Ð the worldÕs first contactless lifestyle mobile payment ecosystem with instant credit. Sunday, November 29th, 2020 in Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Two-thirds of UAE residents expect the country to become fully cashless by 2030, a poll conducted by Standard Chartered earlier this year showed.  A McKinsey survey of UAE consumers also found they are 10 per cent more likely to use a credit card or a digital wallet, with 20 per cent stating they are less likely to use cash when making a payment.

“The launch of Empay comes within the framework of the Dubai Economic Department’s strategy by supporting the transition to a digital economy for all business sectors … especially in developing financial transactions through contactless payments that enhances productivity, reduces costs and saves time,” said Mr Ibrahim.