Al Etihad Payments (AEP), a subsidiary of the Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE), has launched Aani, an instant payment platform that aims to transform the landscape of digital payments in the UAE.
Aani, a key initiative under the CBUAE’s Financial Infrastructure Transformation (FIT) program, signals a new era of seamless, secure, and instant digital payments.
In keeping with the UAE’s vision of becoming a global digital payment hub, Aani enables licensed financial institutions (LFIs) and payment service providers to offer customers an exceptional user experience. Aani offers consumers, businesses, corporates, and government entities an unparalleled digital payment experience, enabling transactions to be processed instantly and securely 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Aani includes a suite of convenient features allowing users to transfer money instantly using only the recipient’s phone number. Other functions of Aani include “Request Money” and “Split Bills”, effectively streamlining various payment experiences. Aani also supports QR codes, facilitating hassle-free, cashless payments at merchants. Additional functionalities will be introduced in the near future such as real-time direct debit and e-checks.
“We are delighted to introduce Aani, a platform that redefines the digital payment experience and reinforces the UAE’s pioneering position as a global digital payment hub. Collaborating closely with our partners, we are committed to unlocking the full potential of Aani through current and future features that address evolving market needs.”
The launch involves participation from eight licensed financial institutions: Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Al Fardan Exchange, Emirates NBD, Finance House, First Abu Dhabi Bank, Habib Bank AG Zurich, Mashreq Bank and National Bank of Fujairah. AEP is working to onboard the remaining LFIs by year-end 2024.
Aani is accessible through the existing channels of the participating LFIs, or through AEP’s Aani mobile app. AEP has also been working with Magnati, Mashreq/Neo Pay and Network International to enable Aani QR-based payments with merchants, with a view to onboarding tens of thousands of merchants in the coming months through these and other licensed merchant acquirers.
Mr. Saif Humaid Al Dhaheri, Chairman of AEP, said that “The launch of Aani exemplifies our unwavering commitment to digitize the economy and advance the financial sector, aligning with our visionary leadership’s aspirations and the CBUAE’s objectives. Aani is not just a payment platform; it represents a catalyst for economic growth, innovation, and financial inclusion. We remain dedicated to fostering an ecosystem that encourages innovation, competition, and growth, benefiting the entire financial system.”
The launch of Aani follows the announcement of the UAE’s first Domestic Card Scheme (DCS) which further supports the nation’s digitization agenda, reduces the cost of payments, and enhances the UAE’s competitiveness.