Contactless technology is slowly making inroads in the United Arab Emirates, with banks having issued thousands of contactless debit and credit cards. Yet, citizens often aren’t even aware they’re using these types of cards.
For example, HSBC in the UAE recently issued 40,000 contactless debit cards equipped that can be used in approximately 100 outlets that accept Visa. Visa has also partnered with two of the UAE’s largest banks to introduce the technology in the country. The pilot programs are still in the testing phase, but so far the response from retailers and consumers has been positive.
MasterCard has also launched UAE contactless payment programs and has issued some 78 million cards and devices in 36 markets globally according to a MasterCard spokesperson.
David Parker, director of Polymath Consulting, says the new payment technology has a very low awareness and retailer acceptance in the UAE. “It is a chicken and egg situation, where if cards are in the market, retailers will install contactless terminals. Banks will respond by saying, if there are contactless terminals, then they will issue cards. Which comes first?” Parker asks.
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