According to a new survey carried out by YouGov, six out of ten people in the UAE are in favor of the country’s economy becoming cashless.
The market research firm said high-income households are more likely to use digital payments, with 76% of them in favor of the medium.
The findings suggest that behavioral changes of consumers that are caused by the coronavirus outbreak are likely to continue even after the pandemic. Speed, convenience and limited human contact have been cited as the main reasons why cashless transactions are increasing.
More than half (52%) of survey respondents said they had used less cash since the pandemic outbreak, while 17% said they used it more frequently.
This supports the results of a joint study by Dubai Police, Dubai Economy and Visa in June, which found that UAE customers were likely to continue to use contactless payments even after pandemic subsides while shopping at physical stores and online.
According to consultancy Bain & Company, COVID-19 is encouraging faster adoption of digital payments globally and this structural shift is likely to accelerate when the economy starts recovering.
The YouGov survey, which surveyed 1,000 UAE residents in July, found that men were more in favor of a cashless economy, with 67% endorsing it compared to 55% of women.
While shopping at physical outlets, nearly eight out of ten UAE residents find it vital that payments can be made via credit or debit cards. Only five out of ten people would prefer to make cash payments, while nearly six out of ten respondents used digital platforms like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and e-wallets.
The YouGov survey found that contactless payments are more favorable among high-income earners, with 86% wanting to pay with cards and 69% preferring to pay with digital wallets.
However, the findings revealed that UAE people still prefer to use cash in physical stores to pay for cheap items, while debit and credit cards are used to make expensive purchases. For example, when it comes to personal services like hailing a taxi, getting a haircut, or hiring a window cleaner, seven out of 10 people prefer to pay in cash, the results of the study from YouGov found.
The survey also found that there was no impact on the availability of cash in the UAE during the pandemic. Residents have access to cash from free ATMs, with 85% saying they have found access to cash fairly easy.