Nearly half of UAE residents in debt, says report

Almost half of all residents in the UAE are in debt, with almost a third unable to save many, according to a report by Amazon-owned payment gateway company Payfort.

The firm’s fourth State of Payments in the Arab World report revealed that 46.7 per cent – or 4.3 million people – have fallen into debt, with 12.8 per cent actively looking for a loan.


Some 27.8 per cent of people are not able to save any money, while 38 per cent say they do save some money, but only 10 per cent of their income each month.

The study also showed that individual debt levels in the UAE are the third highest in the Arab world, behind Egypt and Saudi Arabia, where 57 per cent and 47 per cent of residents respectively have incurred debt.

Other data in the report focuses on FinTech, e-commerce and security, with key findings showing that $30.4bn of goods and services were purchased online in 2016 across the seven countries included in the report – Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar. This marks a 22 per cent rise over 2015’s figure of $24.9bn. The UAE saw most transactions, with $12.4bn, followed by Saudi Arabia’s $8.3bn.

In terms of security, more than 50 per cent of cash-on-delivery customers said they would only switch to online payments if they were convinced that the payment method was secure. Cash-on-delivery was the most popular payment option in Egypt (70 per cent) and Lebanon (60 per cent).

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