The use of prepaid cards in the UAE is on the rise, with around 1.2 million cards issued at the end of 2012, according to data compiled by Network International.
The growth is mainly seen among the unbanked population, business and leisure travellers, gifters, and parents tracking the spending of their children.
Network International CEO, Bhairav Trivedi, was quoted by Gulf News as saying that there is certainly a big market potential for prepaid cards in the UAE, especially across categories such as transport, gift, general purpose, youth, payroll and remittance.
Prepaid cards also allows consumers to make in-store purchases anywhere across the globe without opening a bank account, going through credit checks or facing late payment and interest charges.
According to Emirates NBD cards business head and senior vice-president, R Sivaram, prepaid cards transactions are expected to account for 2.5% of cashless payments in the UAE.
"The prepaid card market is growing faster. We have a lot of customers whose salaries are paid through prepaid cards, allowing customers to withdraw their salaries from ATMs or use their cards at the shops," Sivaram added.