Dubai-based mobile payments provider Beam goes global after major retail acquisition

The United Arab Emirates has seen a boom in the number of local mobile payments services on offer for consumers over the past two years, with platforms rushing to capitalize on the growing popularity of digital payments and attract the country’s 1.3 million unbanked adult residents.

Mobile operator Etisalat, along with local bank, Emirates NBD, both launched mobile wallet offerings in 2016. Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and more recently, Google Pay are all now available in the country.

A consortium of 16 banks in the UAE are also joining forces to create the Emirates Digital Wallet — known as Klip — which aims to further enable the cashless economy and support the UAE central bank aim of reducing and ultimately eliminating the circulation of cash to minimize financial risk and fraud.

Beam attempts to differentiate its offering by providing users a hyper-local experience, and offering loyalty rewards, cashback programs and incentives within its ecosystem.

“Mobile payments solutions are trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist today. You need to offer the consumer and the merchant something that they can’t get,” Amiji said.

“The value proposition of convenience is too narrow to shift consumer behavior at scale, so you need to have value in the system in order to incentivize change and drive adoption at scale,” he added.

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