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ANALYSIS

Contactless tech highlights new trends in Dubai

Dubai, May 14, 2013

Residents of Dubai show a significant appetite for contactless technologies not only with their banking cards, but also directly from their mobile phones using Near-Field-Communication (NFC) technology, a report said.

This enthusiasm extends beyond the replacement of cash and encompasses a host of other applications such as public transport access, loyalty schemes and e-tickets for major music and sports events, added the street survey conducted by Gemalto, a world leader in digital security.

Moreover, the survey suggests the younger generation is most likely to kick-start this new era in speed and convenience – transforming the UAE’s deep-rooted attachment to notes and coins.

A change is on the cards

The most significant finding is that 80 per cent of all the respondents said they would either ‘like’ or ‘love’ the opportunity to use contactless banking card technology on a regular basis.

Even more popular was the possibility of multi-application cards, which support both payment and contactless transit ticketing in one single card, doing away with the need to carry numerous different cards for everyday activities such as shopping and commuting. Being able to have a multi-function card was particularly popular amongst the younger generation aged 18-24 years old, currently the most frequent users of public transport.

The survey results suggest that this younger age group – widely recognized for willingness to adopt new technologies and many of which do not yet have payment cards – would easily leapfrog to contactless banking cards. This is an interesting finding for UAE’s banks and financial institutions which can look into the contactless feature as an extremely effective way to draw the younger generation into the world of mainstream banking.

The large majority of respondents (87 per cent) also clearly recognize contactless payment as a way to streamline everyday activities by shortening waiting queues at the tills when shopping or commuting.

The age of mobile NFC

Another striking finding from the survey is that when it comes to using contactless technology on mobile phones, interests get even stronger with some 85 per cent of those surveyed saying they would ‘like’ or ‘love’ to use their handset as a contactless payment method for goods and services.

Payment applications in shops and at vending machines ranked the highest, yet other popular mobile contactless applications cited included e-Loyalty programs to automatically collect vouchers and discount at shops and safeguard them on a mobile wallet. NFC e-ticketing also emerged as a favorite, reinforcing the support for RTA in Dubai, which is in the process of deploying just such an application with leading mobile operators in the region.

The ability to download e-Tickets for theaters, concerts and sporting events, together with mobile NFC based identity and access badge in the working place, rounded up the top 5 most desirable mobile contactless applications.

An encouraging 72 per cent of the respondents see no obstacle at all in the use of mobile NFC. One of the other notable findings show very few respondents, only 5 per cent, cited concerns over security as an obstacle to using contactless payment.

People are getting more aware of the technology, only 16 per cent of respondents had never heard of it before. The numerous deployments of NFC and contactless cards around the world have largely contributed to educating the market, making people more accustomed to those new payment means, and more trusting of the technology, replacing initial skepticism by a simple desire to start taking advantage of the benefits.

Eric Claudel, senior vice president of Telecommunication at Gemalto Middle East, said: “The feedback suggests that the momentum behind contactless payment technologies in the Middle East is reaching a tipping point, and it is no longer an “if”, but rather “when”, it will become a part of everyday life.”

“Historically, the region has retained a strong attachment to cash: over 75 per cent of transactions are completed in this way. With ABI research forecasting that 85 per cent of payment terminals will be contactless-ready by 2016, soon the gentle tap of a phone or card will increasingly provide a truly compelling alternative for consumers over their long held attachment to notes and coins,” he added. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Dubai | NFC | mobile phone | contactless technology | Gemalto |

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