UAE Bank Unit Launches Fast Digital Payment System

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Al Etihad Payments, a subsidiary of the UAE Central Bank, has introduced Aani, an instant payments platform designed to revolutionize digital payments in the UAE. Aani allows users to transfer funds in under 10 seconds, offering licensed financial institutions and payment service providers the ability to process transactions securely and instantly around the clock.

Initially supporting payments of up to Dh50,000 ($13,612), Aani aims to modernize the UAE’s payment infrastructure, promote financial inclusion, and encourage a shift toward a cashless society. The platform is a key element of the central bank’s Financial Infrastructure Transformation program.

Aani includes features like instant transfers using a recipient’s phone number or email, “request money,” and “split bills” functions. It also supports QR codes for cashless payments at merchants, with plans to introduce additional features such as real-time direct debit and fully digital cheques.

The platform’s launch involves eight licensed financial institutions, including Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Emirates NBD, and Mashreq Bank, with more institutions expected to join by the end of 2024.

Aani aims to facilitate secure payments for various services, from government payments to online shopping, and can be accessed through participating entities’ existing channels or the Aani mobile app. The platform is limited to domestic transfers for now but plans to explore connections with overseas instant payment platforms for cross-border transactions and international remittances.

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