Apple Pay coming to UAE iPhones in 2017 in regional first

apple pay
Six banks are supporting Apple Pay in the UAE

Cashless payments are set to make further inroads into the UAE following the launch of Apple Pay today. The announcement was made following the debut of the company’s new flagship phone, the iPhone X.

The UAE is the first country in the Middle East and one of four new markets where the payment system is being rolled out this year. The others are Denmark, Finland and Sweden.

An exact roll out date was not immediately available.

The first six banks to support the payment system in the UAE are Mashreq, EmiratesNBD, HSBC, RAKBank, Standard Chartered and Emirates Islamic. Worldwide, more than 3,000 banks participate in the programme.

“We know our customers in the UAE will love the added convenience and security Apple Pay brings, and we can’t wait for them to start making easier and more private payments soon,” Jennifer Bailey, VP of Apple Pay, said in a media statement.

Apple controls about 15.5 per cent of the UAE’s smartphone market, according to recent data from the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA). Samsung has 34.5 per cent of all registered handsets, and the Korean manufacturer has already rolled out its own payment platform, Samsung Pay.

How Apple Pay works

Since purchases carry a device-specific number and unique transaction code, card numbers are neither stored on Apple servers or shared with merchants. Transactions therefore remain private, Apple says.

Apple Pay works for purchases made in stores, in apps on the internet, where it does away with the need for registrations or filling out forms.

Worldwide, more than 20 million contactless-ready locations accept the payment system, which is used by tens of millions of customers, Apple said. Transaction volumes grew 450 per cent over the year ended April 2017.

Apple Pay app developers, meanwhile, report a two-fold increase in checkout rates, the Cupertino-based manufacturer said in the media statement.