Transition of UAE towards a cashless Economy

The current scenario

The United Arab Emirates was already in the process of digital transformation when the pandemic struck. COVID has propelled the growth and aided the shift to online or digital payments. Consumer behaviour is forever changed, which is now unlikely to be reversed. As per a survey report, almost two-thirds of the UAE population expect to go completely cashless by 2030 and 7 out of 10 businesses in the UAE plan to go cashless by 2024 to meet their customers’ expectations. As is the trend worldwide, the transition seems inevitable, but the only question is how fast and big the adaptation will be.

Customer desire convenience and banks need efficient payment, reconciliations, hassle-free cross-border transactions and more, which has driven the global economy to innovate in payment systems. As per World Payment Report 2021 by Capgemini, the current payments are embedded and invisible. Apart from experiencing enhanced banks’ reconciliation and control processes, there is an immense need to enable function to provide an immersive, seamless, and frictionless customer experience.

Dubai’s Government is working out plans to shift all payment transactions to secure and easy-to-use cashless platforms across all sectors. They are also preparing a roadmap for the planned transition towards a cashless society, which includes a plan to explore emerging technologies and embedded new and advanced services. The process of building a strong digital foundation leads to new growth and thriving.

Over 83% of the UAE population owns debit cards and uses mobile applications. There are more than 10 e-wallets in the country that people use. The digital expansion did not stop there; instead, the Government, private sector, and stakeholders are exploring other possible ways to engage in transforming the cashless transaction initiatives.

Another report reveals that the global digital payments market will grow from $96.19 billion in 2022 to $111.11 billion in 2023 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.5%. There will be an immense load on the digital platform that can disrupt the system’s performance. The sustainability of the digital platform is highly dependent on how well it responds to customer requests, frequent changes following government guidelines and other factors. They must work to bridge any gaps by addressing the concerns and feedback so that any issues that may arise due to continuous use of the digital platform can be prevented.

The country has a favourable infrastructure in the regulatory framework that facilitates the shift to digital payments. Corporate and government agencies are supporting the transition to a cashless economy. UAE is 20th in the global ranking of countries transitioning quickly towards a cashless economy. The country must innovate to stay ahead in their digital transformation journey. Going cashless has its pros and cons. If we follow consumer behaviour minutely, it is evident that the consumers opt for the cashless transaction because of the reasons mentioned below.

  • Secure platform and safe transaction means
  • Less handling of cash
  • Quick, easy and Convenient Settlement
  • Focus on instant credit  
  • Quick response of systems and services

The points that organizations must consider

Security checks for digital platforms are crucial for ensuring that the customer’s confidential data is not compromised. The digital platform also must undergo periodic functionality and performance checks to ensure that the performance and functionalities of these digital platforms are top-notch without any errors or dysfunctionalities. Transitioning to a cashless economy can be successful if we are up to date with the change and adopt it quickly.

Banks and financial institutions are storehouses of multiple data types. Thousands of transactions take place in a day. Banks demand systems that work without errors and support the banks in providing 100% customer satisfaction. They cannot afford to compromise the privacy of customer data. For security concerns, banks in the UAE are still apprehensive about accepting virtual assets or crypto assets as legal tender in the UAE. The only legal tender in the country is the dirham.

96 per cent of businesses in the UAE are unable to accept and process cross-border payments as they demand more faster and secure cross-border payment solutions. Also, businesses that adopt digital payments gain an edge through access to live, real-time data, which requires secure access to real-time data. It helps organizations identify emerging patterns and trends, equip merchants to use data-driven insights and drive strategic planning and decision-making while maintaining the quality of the payment system.

As banks turn digital, they must integrate with multiple touchpoints like card payments, internet banking, mobile banking, APIs, and more that can attract potential hackers. Banks create multiple APIs that must be integrated into the main systems. The API integration must be tested and validated with the systems at the integration points to ensure that the digital transactions happen without issues like technical or security.

The digital transformation of the UAE towards a cashless economy has endless possibilities, along with many challenges. Any technological expansion and the financial institution adopting them will require thorough quality validation. Quality Assurance is the key to obtaining enterprise applications that are high on features & functionalities, performance, and security.

Will this transition be a complicated process?

The country has more than it takes for fast adoption towards digital transformation. However, trying to match the pace of digital transformation will require expert quality support. Often to catch up with the speed, organizations tend to compromise the quality. Lack of time, budget, resources, and infrastructure becomes a major concern and should not be an obstacle for organizations towards their rapid digital transformation journey.

The highlights of the digital transformation are,

  • Time: The companies have many digital transformation goals to achieve in a short time. Is the organization prepared to achieve the objectives within this stipulated time? The organizations have a minimum application rollout time, and the target is to achieve optimum quality in less time.
  • Budget: The digital transformation projects require hiring people with technical expertise and setting up adequate infrastructure. This means if organizations have budget restrictions or if they have the risk of going over budget, the projects may fail to take off. Can organizations put their digital transformation goals on the back burner?
  • Resources: Digital transformation projects require skilled resources with a sound technical background. If organizations do not wish to outsource the project and set up a technical team in-house, they might want to hire the right people for the project. It will require time and money to arrange everything. Do the organizations have the required time and money to hire the right resources, or they can outsource it to a skilled organization?
  • Infrastructure: Not all organizations have adequate infrastructure. Lack of knowledge, time, and budget might restrict the organizations to build adequate infrastructure. Will the organizations still want to invest in the infrastructure or can get the same amount of work done at half of the cost and in less time?

How can organizations ensure the success of their digital transformation project?

Organizations can formulate an adequate strategy for digital transformation projects. In-house or outsourced, either way, is perfect if the right strategy and design are implemented for your digital transformation projects.

Yethi is the fastest-growing pure-play quality assurance partner for banks and financial institutions. We have executed over 200+ digital transformation projects specific to payment systems and processes, including Book Transfer, LCY Gross Settlement, High-Value Payment, Cross Border (SWIFT), Regional Cross Border, Direct Debit, Low-Value Instant Payments (24×7 hours), Message Formats: SWIFT, ISO 20022 or Proprietary, External Networks: Local Country Cleaning, ATM / POS Transactions, Wallets, Card Payments and more. We have tested payment systems and CBS through 15 channels and tracked their impact on CBS platforms.

We have executed testing and test automation based on our onsite and remote models. Remote testing models turned out to be a one-stop solution during the pandemic because of travel restrictions. We utilised our expertise, experience, skill, and technology to ensure the execution of the quality project without any delays or issues. Our experienced QA engineers and analysts have completed and delivered projects within strict deadlines.

Our robotic codeless test automation platform is an intuitive plug-and-play solution. Tenjin suite of test automation handles the end-to-end test management cycle of all major payment platforms. It offers process-driven, risk-based testing of core payment platforms. Our library of over 1 million used case scenarios is in-built and ready to implement with the test cases to reduce the time required for test cycles by up to 85%.

Furthermore, our tool is equipped with a smart selection of test cases that suggest the ideal use cases, allowing you to be twice more efficient in managing test time and further reducing the testing time by up to 95%. We have lived up to our customer’s expectations in terms of reducing the manual effort, cost, and time that is required for the test to speed up the time to market.

Our payment testing expertise includes functional, interface, performance, and security testing. We have executed payment API testing from different channels to middleware and switches, meeting the frequent government rollouts. Our end-to-end process testing includes customer onboarding, customer authentication (pin, biometrics, and token), payment initiation, multi-level authorisation, payment processing, and enquiry and statement processing.

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