UAE central bank launches instant payments platform Aani

The Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) has launched Aani, a new instant payments platform produced by CBUAE subsidiary Al Etihad Payments

The Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE) has launched a new instant payments platform in partnership with its subsidiary Al Etihad Payments, Aani. 

One of the Middle East’s largest banking institutions, CBUAE says the launch of Aani will transform the landscape of digital payments in the country. 

Aani: Instant payments in the UAE

The platform is available as a mobile app and will be taken to market by CBUAE’s partner financial institutions – who can now offer consumers payments processing instantly and securely, and at any given time.

Aani offers more than just instant payments, though, including features that will allow consumers to split bills and transfer funds just through the use of phone numbers. 

What’s more, Aani will enable businesses to accept payments made using QR codes.

More features are expected to be introduced to Aani as it roles out across the UAE, namely real-time direct debit and e-cheque processing. 

CBUAE’s immediate goal is to onboard tens of thousands of merchants to use Aani in the coming months. 

It already has eight licensed financial institutions involved with integrating Aani at launch, including Al Fardan Exchange, Emirates NBD, First Abu Dhabi Bank, National Bank of Fujairah, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Finance House, Mashreq Bank, and Habib Bank AG Zurich.

CBUAE subsidiary Al Etihad Payments aims to onboard the rest of the UAE’s licensed financial institutions with Aani by the end of 2024 at the latest.

The launch of Aani comes after Al Etihad Payments signed a partnership agreement with  India’s NPCI International to help develop an inaugural domestic card scheme for UAE citizens, which, alongside the launch of Aani, forms part of CBUAE’s Financial Infrastructure Transformation (FIT) programme. 

The FIT programme was launched in February 2023, with the aim of rapidly accelerating digital transformation across the UAE’s financial sector. 

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