Looking for a contactless way to pay for goods and services in the UAE? Consider downloading a digital wallet on your phone! Electronic wallets are a form of contactless mobile payment systems — representing a shift from traditional credit cards to a more mobile form of payment. Think of them as digital versions of your debit or credit cards stored in an app on your mobile device. Wondering which online wallet in the UAE is the best? To help you decide on the perfect option for you, here’s a list of popular e-wallets in the UAE.
Benefits of digital wallets
Mobile wallets make purchases easy, fast and super convenient. Instead of using payment cards, you can hold your phone near a compatible payment terminal to buy items. Most of these products work with Near Field Communication (NFC) technology which makes them suitable for in-store transactions and, in some cases, e-commerce payments. In addition to these benefits, here are some of the other perks for digital wallet users:
- Fewer things to carry: You can pay without having to carry your credit cards since the details will already be stored in your e-wallet
- Enhanced security: Unique transaction identifiers or tokens are exchanged in each payment which prevents stores from retaining your account information
- Bonuses and discounts: You will also be able to redeem points and use promotions while using a digital wallet.
Don’t know where to start? Here are some options for online wallet shopping in the UAE.
Homegrown UAE digital wallets
If you are looking for a homegrown digital wallet in the country, consider eWallet. The “first UAE Central Bank licensed” wallet, eWallet, allows users to share money, pay bills, shop and dine by making payments from their mobile phones.
The digital wallet is backed by Noor Bank and Etisalat and allows you to pay anyone within or outside the country securely and easily. Another benefit of using this eWallet service is the reward programme which enables users to earn Etisalat Smiles points in addition to special offers from several partnered networks.
The app is open to all legal residents in the country with a mobile phone, irrespective of whether it is an Android or iOS device. All you need to use the wallet is a valid Emirates ID, a mobile phone and a working UAE mobile number.
HOW IT WORKS
To use the eWallet in Dubai or any other part of the UAE, download the application, follow the instructions, top up your wallet and it’s done. After successfully registering, you can:
- Send money to any UAE bank
- Send money to any registered or unregistered mobile phone in the country
- Pay bills
- Pay merchants
- Receive money from any UAE bank
- Receive money from any eWallet user
- Download from: App Store | Google Play
Emirates Digital Wallet LLC and klip
Emirates Digital Wallet LLC (EDW) powers and owns Klip, an online payment application that is the result of a partnership with 16 national banks in the UAE. Also known as the “UAE’s digital cash”, the app allows users to store, remit or spend money electronically.
Klip can be accessed via a digital app directly from the EDW or through any stakeholder bank. You will be offered the tech from your bank if it is a member of Emirates Digital Wallet.
However, Klip is also available for those who do not have a bank account. You can sign up for it in select areas in the country. You need to be a UAE resident and own a SIM card to use it.
Currently, the banks that offer Klip include Mashreq and RAKBANK.
- Download from: EDW or participating banks
Other digital wallets in the UAE
Samsung Pay was introduced in the United Arab Emirates a few years ago. A major advantage of this e-wallet is that it is compatible with card readers that rely on magnetic strips — used by most retailers in the UAE. You can use the Samsung Pay app at any store that accepts debit or credit cards, NFC or MST technologies in the UAE, or anywhere else in the world for that matter.
Of course, it is ultimately up to credit card providers or banks to enable official support for online wallets to work. Banks partnered with Samsung Pay are no different. UAE banks that support Samsung Pay include ADCB, Dubai Islamic Bank, Mashreq, NBAD, RAKBANK, etc.
HOW IT WORKS
An e-wallet that “works in-store, in-app and online” Samsung Pay allows users to upload and save details of their payment cards onto their devices and “checkout with a tap.”
During checkout, select the app and authenticate a sale with your PIN, iris scan, or fingerprint. Furthermore, Samsung Knox tokenization adds another layer of security.
- Download from: Google Play
Another popular digital wallet in the UAE is Apple Pay. The app is only compatible with products from Apple Inc. like the iPhone, iPad or Mac. However, considering the immense popularity of Apple’s products in the UAE, the e-wallet’s widespread adoption isn’t surprising.
One of several online wallets in the UAE, Apple Pay, can be used in any retail environment with a contactless payment terminal, such as the wireless credit card readers used by most retailers in the country. Several banks also support Apple Pay. Several banks also support Apple Pay in the country, like the Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Al Hilal Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD, FAB, etc.
HOW IT WORKS
Like most online wallets in the UAE, Apple Pay requires users to input their credit card details into their devices, a process that also requires verification from the bank. Just add your card to the online wallet and receive all its benefits and rewards. After successful installation, use the app to pay for services or goods “with just a touch or a glance” thanks to Face ID and Touch ID. Some places you can use Apple Pay in the UAE include Address Hotels and Resorts, Armani/Dubai, Carrefour and others.
- Download from: App Store
Also known as GPay, the Google Play app is another digital wallet used in the UAE. Developed by Google, the cashless payment software is similar to Apple Pay but with a major difference — Google Pay works on both Android and iOS devices as opposed to Apple Pay which is only compatible with products by Apple Inc.
HOW IT WORKS
The Google Pay app comes with various security options. To use the software, hold your phone over a payment terminal until the transaction is processed. Depending on the type of device used, the platform can be accessed via fingerprint scan or PIN authentication. Banks or cards that work for in-store purchases with Google Play include Emirates Islamic, Emirates NBD, Standard Chartered and others.
- Download from: Google Play
PayBy is a relatively new entry to the list of e-wallet options in the UAE and was launched in April 2020. Introduced by the fintech company of the same name, the mobile payment service was created in collaboration with the First Abu Dhabi Bank and allows consumers to make cashless payments in physical stores via their smartphones.
In addition to making payments, the app also enables users to transfer or receive money, order essential items online, share cash gifts and pay for deliveries when they arrive. The processes themselves are designed to be pretty convenient too. For example, you can transfer money to your friends or family while chatting, thereby sparing yourself from adding beneficiaries or handling cash.
- Download from: Google Play | HUAWEI AppGallery | App Store
In addition to the aforementioned e-wallets, residents may also consider Beam and WePay. WePay is a part of WeChat and can be useful for those who have bank accounts in mainland China.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can you use e-wallets in the UAE?
You can check the official websites of the mentioned UAE digital wallets for a list of brands or banks that accept them for payments. For instance, the list of participating UAE banks with Apple Pay includes Abu Dhabi Commercial Banks, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank and RAKBANK.
How do I download these e-wallets in the UAE to my phone?
You can download the apps from Apple Store, Google Play Store or their official websites. Further conditions may apply for a successful download or use. For example, you will need a Google account before registering your credit or debit cards on Google Play. Additionally, the software on your device may need to be upgraded.
How else can I transfer my money in Dubai?
If you want to transfer funds to or from the emirate, you can rely on trusted money transfer services in Dubai. Examples include GCC Remit, World Remit and more.
That’s all for our guide to e-wallets in the UAE. Looking for other mobile applications that offer rewards? Consider downloading these apps for discounted deals in Dubai. The UAE Smiles App is another excellent resource for acquiring services and goods at reduced prices in the country.
To stay in touch with family in your home country, check out our list of internet calling apps that work in the UAE.
If you think any public service delivered in the country can be better, you can rate them anonymously via the UAE mystery shopper app.
For more updates on mobile applications in the United Arab Emirates, stay tuned to MyBayut.