Payments Snapshot in UAE: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Sector Impact

Payments Snapshot in UAE: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Sector Impact


The Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) outbreak, dubbed COVID-19, is first and foremost a human tragedy affecting millions of people globally. The contagious Coronavirus, which broke out at the close of 2019, has led to a medical emergency across the world, with the World Health Organization officially declaring it a pandemic on March 11, 2020. The virus has spread to 189 countries/regions with over 3.6 million confirmed cases, with its spread outpacing other major infectious outbreaks from the past.

The ongoing pandemic has affected the UAE’s economy, resulting in a fall in tourism and in the domestic consumption of goods and services. The country’s GDP has been revised downward for 2020 due to the economic disruption caused by Coronavirus. There has been a sharp rise in the cancelation of flights, hotel bookings, and major upcoming events across areas including music, entertainment, art, and sport.

On March 15 the UAE announced an economic package worth AED100bn ($27.23bn) to support the dwindling economy and lend support to severely affected sectors. It also offered a AED50bn ($13.61bn) aid to help SMEs cope with the economic impact of Coronavirus.

This report focuses on the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak on both the economyand the cards and payments industry in the UAE. Based on our proprietary datasets, the snapshotprovides a detailed comparison between pre-COVID-19 forecasts andrevised forecasts of total payment card, debit card, and credit and charge card transactions by value and volume. It also offers information on measures taken by the government to combat Coronavirus.


  • Tourism is one of the sectors most affected by this pandemic. The UAE’s tourism sector contributed to around $45bn of the country’s GDP in 2019. The UAE sees a strong influx of Chinese visitors each year one in every 16 visitors are from China, and they tend to spend heavily on high-end shopping and on package tours and resorts.
  • The UAE has allowed essential service providers to remain open. But many bricks-and-mortar retailers are launching online services as consumers try to avoid crowded areas. On April 24, shopping mall operator Majid Al Futtaim announced the launch of an online marketplace, allowing consumers to buy a range of items such as perfumes, watches, and beauty products.
  • Consumers will shift from cash-based payments to digital payment tools, particularly non-contact tools, when transacting in stores. The use of contactless cards and NFC-based mobile wallets such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay will rise as a result. New mobile wallet solutions are also being rolled out.
Reasons to Buy
  • Make strategic decisions using top-level revised forecast data on the UAE payment industry.
  • Understand the key market trends, challenges, and opportunities in the UAE cards and payments industry.
  • Receive a comprehensive insight into payments market in the UAE.

COVID-19 Update
Impact Assessment
Total Payment Cards Market vs. Pre-COVID-19 Forecasts
Debit Cards Payment Market vs. Pre-COVID-19 Forecasts
Credit and Charge Cards Payment Market vs. Pre-COVID-19 Forecasts
Supplementary Data
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