Abu Dhabi-based PayBy has released its first study
of the UAE consumer payments landscape, conducted in association
with Kantar. The study included a diverse sampling of UAE consumers
to evaluate their attitudes to spending, saving and modes of
payment in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
The PayBy study revealed that the numbers of the unbanked
â€“ those with no access to a bank account â€“ have
shrunk in the UAE. An overwhelming majority of the respondents
(94%) use banking products or services in some form. This is
slightly reduced to 87% among lower income groups and those earning
below AED 5,000 per month.
According to the PayBy study, the majority of consumers have
pivoted to cashless payments as a more hygienic, safe and secure
option in the pandemic environment.
Across cohorts, the major spends of monthly income were on
groceries (20%), house rent (15%), utilities (11%) and eating out
(9%). The PayBy study found that cashless methods were by far the
preferred option to pay for these major expenses: 72% of
respondents used cashless methods to pay for groceries, 74% for
utilities and 72% for eating out. Housing, however, was a notable
exception, with more than half of respondents (55%) paying their
rent in cash.
Awareness and familiarity with mobile wallets was high across
different groups of respondents. In fact, more than half (55%) have
used mobile wallets several times. Consumers cited the ease of
access, convenience and quick transfer as key reasons for using
While the UAE moves towards becoming a
cashless society and increased financial inclusion, two key
reasons are responsible for the stubborn pockets of cash usage that
still remain. Half the respondents in the PayBy study said they
always carry cash on them. Paying in cash also allowed respondents
to negotiate better discounts.
The PayBy study also highlights how the COVID-19 pandemic has
irreversibly altered the payment landscape in the Middle East. Cash
payments have migrated to payments by cards and mobile wallets. To
survive in the new normal, businesses of all scales will have no
option but to swiftly digitalise, in response to consumer
PayBy Finds UAE Unbanked Numbers Decreasing as 94% of Consumers Use
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