4 ways you’ll be buying stuff in Dubai in 2021: Visa

UAE 2021 payments
Paying for stuff while scanning fingers on the fly should be reality by 2021 with MorphoWave

Geeks and fanboys love shows such as Gitex Technology Week because they’re a portent of things to come, a sort of look into the future. And at a time when we’re transitioning from the digital world to the connected universe, when change is happening at the speed of light, when our very DNA is being tapped, every aspect of our lives is being transformed.

One way our lives will change is in the way we make payments. And the folk at payment technology company Visa say we’re in for a whole new set of protocols on this front. Simply whipping out your wallet isn’t going to be enough, in fact chances are you won’t have a wallet in five years’ time.

By 2021, by the time the UAE is 50 years old, biometrics will be at the heart of the payment cycle, according to the good folk at Visa. “The future of digital payments lies heavily in the field of biometrics and Visa is there to ensure that the network that facilitates these technologies is seamless, fast and secure,” says John McGuire, Vice President of Innovation and Strategic Partnerships, Visa, CEMEA region. “Visa seeks to catalyze the development and further the UAE’s vision of a becoming a cashless society.”

The company is working with banks and government bodies such as the TECOM Group on pilot programmes, but doesn’t expect to see a mass roll-out of successful initiatives before 2021.

Visa showed off four new prototypes at Gitex, all of which enables customers to process payment and service transactions without having to carry a physical device. Take a look at what they’re up to:


What it is Benefits/ value Technology Future Value Innovation Used
MorphoWave Coffee Shop Frictionless, fast, secure payment MorphoWave

(Contactless way to capture fingerprints in less than a second)

Allows customers to transact through fingerprints, and carry credit card or device in a secure, seamless way Biometrics
Biometrics ATM Frictionless, fast, secure authentication MorphoWave Allows customers to authenticate themselves and use an ATM without a credit/debit card or PIN code. Biometrics
Iris Scan Frictionless, fast, secure way to transact Tascent Iris Scan Tower Allows customers to transact without having to credit card or device; in secure, seamless way Biometrics
Banking Chatbot Natural, conversational way to interact with your bank and its products. AI (artificial intelligence), natural language processing, chatbot Allows customers to be served by their bank in real time without having to wait in a queue (virtual or physical) AI, natural language processing